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5 Reasons Why No One Opens Your Marketing Emails

In an ideal world, you’d send X emails and get X opens, not Y, right? I mean, hey, a 94% deliverability rate is great and something you obviously worked hard for, but when that only gets you a 13% open rate, well, that isn’t so great.

I have never ever heard of anyone getting a 100% open rate, or even anything close to that. I don’t even open every email I get from my mom. But most businesses aren’t even in the 40% range. Why is that? Lots of reasons. But the five biggest fails that lead to emails delivered and deleted (i.e. not opened) are these:

Reason 1: Failing with the From name and Reply-to
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? Let’s start with your From name. After all, that’s the first thing people are going to see at your inbox. (Unless they’re using Google Inbox, which puts the subject line first, but that’s another story.) Is your From name user friendly? Is it a real person’s name? Do they know that person? Or is it something like your company name? Is your reply-to email a donotreply@ or sales@? Your From name might seem like a little thing, but it’s the first thing they see. So get it right.

Reason 2: Sucky subject line
Next on this list is your subject line. Or should I say the poor neglected subject line? Although this is the second thing a recipient sees when deciding to open your email (or not), it’s usually the last thing a marketer considers before hitting Send. Not only is your subject line a crucial component in getting email opens. It’s also an easily tested one. You really have no excuse not to have good, effective subject lines. None. At. All.

Reason 3: Poor preheader text
Third on your list is your preheader text. OK, I take back what I said about subject lines being the last thing marketers think about. I suspect preheader text is actually at the bottom of the list…so far at the bottom that it gets no consideration at all. If your preheader text still reads something like “To view this email as a webpage,” you are so behind the mobile email times that it’s not funny. Preheader text is always important but even more so on mobile devices…and remember that now more than half of emails are viewed first on a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet.

Reason 4: Wretched rendering
Which brings us to number four in the list of things you’re doing wrong: failing to check rendering. Not only are plenty of people seeing your emails on mobile devices, they’re using plenty of devices to do so. It used to be you only had to worry about your email rendered in different clients. Now you have a whole lot of screen sizes to worry about too. Are you testing to make sure your emails look like they should no matter what the user is using? (Of course, you could switch to responsive design and know your emails were lookin’ good no matter what…)

Reason 5: Failure to engage
And then there’s fail number five, the biggest fail of all: failing to give anyone a reason to open your email. This isn’t something that happens overnight, mind you. This is something that happens over time as you continue to send “buy me, buy me” messages, you bombard an inbox with too many emails, or you don’t send anything at all for a long period of time. There are as many ways to fail at engaging as there are subscribers on your list. But there are also plenty of ways to engage. Being subscriber-centric, making promises at the point of signup and then following through on them, offering a preference center to let subscribers control the relationship, and simply giving people awesome content—all of these are easy ways to engage and keep engaging, so your emails are anticipated and opened.

Scott Hardigree
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