8 reasons why people aren’t opening your emails

By Beka Ventham | Behaviour

Jun 12

Emails are a core part of a lot of people’s marketing strategy. It continues to be the best method to get information to their consumers and a core part of not only establishing a relationship with consumers but nurturing it over a long period of time.

When people don’t open your emails it means they aren’t engaging with you. Engagement is central to your marketing having a hope in hell of making a lasting impression.

If people aren’t even opening your emails, what chance do we have of making sure that they achieve the value we are trying to add to their lives?

So why aren’t peeps opening your emails? Let’s dive right in to our 8 reasons...

Subject lines

These are like the first impression when you walk into a room. You don’t want to be thrown together and dishevelled, you want to be suave and interesting. You want people to want to invite you to join them and have a chat. You want to slide ever so casually into their line of sight.

As always, knowing who is receiving your emails is the starting point to writing a striking subject line. It comes back to customer research, you need to know who you’re trying to get on the line before you cast your line out.

Humans are emotionally driven. This is a fact. So you want to write subject lines that trigger an emotional response. You want them to be curious enough to open your email.

To write a strong subject line you have to be able to answer two questions;

  1. Why open?

  2. Why now?

Subject lines are created in answer to these questions. So if you’ve written an empowering email that you know will hit everyone in the feels but your subject line doesn’t answer these two questions then you’re risking your email not being opened… Which would suck because we know that email is worth reading.

Keep away from official sounding subject lines, if it sounds like work, people will skip it. Keep it light and friendly, involve your readers in a conversation.

The best place to mine for subject lines is your audience. The crowning method of nailing subject lines? Test, test and test again.

My company is great

That’s cool. We love that you back your company and want to shout about how awesome it is from the rooftops but your email copy should be about adding value to your customers.

Don’t make it all about your company. Introducing your company in a welcome series or highlighting some core practices or beliefs threaded through copy is subtle and relevant. Anything more can be overpowering and boring.

Instead of whittling on about your company, which I am sure is really kickass. Get in touch with your customer’s experience and create content that you know they will find relatable.

Not adding value

Life is busy but people find time to consume content that is valuable. Be the person who offers up that kind of content because otherwise they won’t think it’s worth it and they will just skip past your email.

Ideally you want copy that is intentional and interesting. Highlight the benefits for the customer, not about the company - put your energy into telling the customer how the benefit makes their life better.

If you’re not add value then you are just adding sludge to people’s inboxes. People don’t give sludge a second glance, they shovel it out with the rest of the daily drivel.

Work work work

Ever seen that little pig wiggling his bum to Rihanna’s work work work song? This little pig could make the worst day the most wonderful.

The average person will spend 90,000 hours at work in their lifetime. That’s a lot of emails, a lot of cups of coffee, a lot of crappy copy being dodged. If your email so much as gives a whiff of work, people will avoid it. They already have hundreds of work emails to wade through, they’re seeking out a bit of relief. Your copy needs to be that aid delivered with a neat little bow.

You want to get them interacting with what you’re putting out there. A smile, a suppressed laugh, a silent nod of agreement...these are all cues that your email topped their priority list and made an impression.

I’m not an ATM

Funnily enough people aren’t so keen on handing out the cash they spend all those hours earning and when it feels like you’re a salesperson without a face, they’re going to dislike you even more.

Email is a brilliant place to sell but you have to earn the right to do so. You can’t run in with a big offer and expect them to jump at the chance.

Slow and steady wins the raise. Nurture the relationship. Give them intentional content. Invest in the customer experience. Give them downloads, trials and discounts. AND then when they are ready, and only then pitch them.

If your subject line reads “buy before it’s too late”...it’s a pass. Offer content for their consumption that establishes trust instead? You’ve got a foot in the door.

I don’t know who they are

Stalkers are not cool, in real life and online. Don’t just get up in someone’s business and start spouting information. They don’t know who you are. They don’t know why they should trust you.

People will not open your emails if they don’t know who you are, as a rule. There has to be a clever sign up followed by a well constructed welcome series that introduces you and positions you as the one to trust.

You want to establish a relationship where they see your name and they remember you from so and so. They open your email, because you have a wicked subject line and they get some valuable content and not another sales pitch.

You need to stand out of course but you also need to get to know your customers and not just push yourself in their face. Relationships are a two way street.

Why are they flooding my inbox?

There is nothing worse than having an influx of emails peddling the same stuff from the same business. Less is more a lot of the time.

Be upfront. If you’re going to be sending an email a day for 7 days, then note that when they sign up. Ask if it’s okay with them. Don’t assume they want you sliding into their emails everyday for a week.

Setting expectations is really important. It could be the difference between someone opting out or sticking around. Most people unsubscribe because the sender didn’t match their expectations, don’t fall into this trap!

What do they want from me?

If you have content that is hitting people and they’re enjoying it but there isn’t a clear path to follow, this could end up feeling like a waste of time for your customers.

Calls to action that align with the content and guide the customer to the next step, whatever that may be, are much more effective in keeping people interested. This could be a download or access to a free coaching video. Maybe it’s a useful template or a mini course. Know your customers and give them incentives to keep coming back.

It’s crucial that you take time to ask your customers what they want, figure out what they are looking for, what they like to consumer and listen to what they say. You can read more about valuable content here.

In summary, you will get more peeps opening your emails if;

  • Your subject line is intentional, unique and emotionally triggering
  • You focus on your customer not your company
  • You add value - make their day a little better
  • You make it feel like it’s not work
  • You don’t just pitch. You’re not a baseball player
  • You introduce yourself like you would face to face
  • You set expectations
  • You give them stuff and guide them gently

Use these 8 reasons to create some awesome emails that your list will love opening and enjoy consuming - book a free marketing therapy session and let us help get you there!

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