The stories that lament the death of email marketing are high on hype and low on reality. The truth is that in terms of customer acquisition and retention, email marketing continues to hit 80 percent, easily outperforming other tactics. It's not going anywhere.

Email marketing is hard, but that doesn't mean it's dead; you just have to dedicate enough resources to it -- as many resources as you dedicate to sales. As Marcus Sheridan, the Sales Lion mega-influencer and author of "They Ask You Answer" notes, "The idea that sales is still the mother ship and marketing is just some little pod that's part of that mother ship is ridiculous."

But before you can dedicate proper resources to email marketing, you owe it to your bottom line to audit your strategies and alleviate the most common pain points that make email marketing so tough:

1. Your Emails Never Reach Their Destinations

Forget about open rates for a second, and push aside those click-through data points. What if emails are getting lost on their way to their target inboxes?

Email validation, an often overlooked part of a successful strategy, ensures your emails make it to their destinations, which improves the accuracy of statistics for any campaign. Consider partnering with a company like Email Checker, known for its highly accurate service, to validate all your emails and improve your sender score.

Andrew Blazewicz, Email Checker co-founder, shares the behind-the-scenes view of what makes email validation so important. "Every mail server has a sender score," he explains. "It's a score between zero and 100. With a higher sender score, the majority of your emails are going to go into people's inboxes. A lower sender score means your emails are going into spam or junk mail folders." Lower still, he warns, and you risk being entirely blacklisted by major servers like Google and Yahoo.

2. You Don't Know Which Tactics Work Best

Your email marketing numbers are all over the place. One email works well. The next falls flat. The third barely gets off the ground. What gives?

The problem might be that your team isn't judiciously evaluating emails to see what elements work best. A/B testing is the solution. Companies like Ladder.io have software that works with email marketing platforms like MailChimp and allows you to experiment with A/B split testing to pinpoint the "little things" that make all the difference. Is it the title? The call to action? An embedded image? A/B tests can show which parts of your email marketing are hitting their targets and which are falling short.

In their own internal email marketing campaigns, Ladder.io has seen A/B testing as much as double click-through rates.

3. Your Content Isn't Converting

One of the toughest questions of all is "Why is amazing content not moving the needle?" The answer could be that the content is not addressing your audience's most pressing concerns. You might need to supply your prospects with some knowledge before you hit them with your sales pitch.

Sheridan calls this approach "assignment selling." In his book, he notes that you have "earned the right to ask more of the prospect" when you assign them presales reading. He says, "We should be looking for ways to help our prospects become more educated before we talk with them the first time, and then we continue to educate them throughout the sales process."

It's not time to bury your email marketing; it's time to redouble your efforts on it. Make a few thoughtful, pragmatic tweaks and employ the right tools, and you can tap into email's league-leading ROI.

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