Reasons Why Brands Fail at Email & SMS? 

 April 11, 2023

By  HiFlyer Experts

So far, we’ve established that Amazon, digitally-native D2C brands, and the top 1% are focused on acquiring your customers and prioritizing retention via email and SMS as a way of keeping them from leaving. And I’ve shown you the importance of customer loyalty and how email and SMS is the only way to achieve it successfully and profitably.  

Yet this client story (out of many) illustrates a major flaw in how brands perceive email. The words alone revealed a major gap in the e-commerce market: most brands fail at running a successful email & SMS strategy. 

When I first started dialoguing with my client, JudaicaPlace.com, the owner was adamant that the email was essentially dead. 

Everywhere he turned, someone complained that they get too many emails or everyone’s on Facebook or Instagram these days, or Google is where people start shopping. So, he was focusing most of his marketing efforts on Google search, PPC, Google Shopping, and Amazon. Needless to say, the business was doing fine, but he sensed there was a gap on the retention side. Email, in his view, wasn’t the solution, though. 

He had a sizable email list and was marketing to them regularly, but revenue never exceeded 1 to 2% of total e-commerce revenue. The marketing assumption was that email is a way of talking to people and, eventually, maybe they’ll buy something down the road. 

After we chatted and discussed our unique approach to email and SMS, he decided to see if maybe there was life left in his email list. Within 60 to 90 days, his campaigns were segmented and personalized, non-existent automation was turned on, and email was generating 25% of JudaicaPlace.com’s total e-commerce revenue. By the end of the year, email revenue was up 352% year over year, and email became his fastest-growing channel.  

The realization was quite apparent – email wasn’t dead; the relationship between the brand and its customer was what was dead. Remember this line: it’s not about the SIZE of your email list; it’s about the relationship you have TO the list. Once we jump-started that email relationship, the revenue potential was unlocked. 

I’ve heard variations of this story from numerous clients as I started working with them. In fact, some of the top brands in the world haven’t even scratched the surface of their email potential; they hire me to help them unlock it! 

So, if e-commerce brands can potentially unlock 300% revenue growth using email and SMS, why do they fail at achieving that potential? Why do brands assume that “email is dead’’ or “no one checks email” and give up on all that potential revenue? 

After speaking with hundreds of brands, brainstorming with the top ESPs worldwide, and speaking at conferences with vendors and marketers, I’ve identified the top six reasons why brands fail at email and SMS. 

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