6 Reasons Why You Have a Low Email Open Rate

6 Reasons Why You Have a Low Email Open Rate

People are overwhelmed with email. According to a recent study, the average business user wades through 114 emails per day. That’s why open rates are falling, while “scan inbox and delete” is becoming common practice.

As a marketer or a business owner, your goal is to achieve a high open rate from your email marketing campaign strategy. Without people opening your emails there’s no way for them to take action based on your content.

If your email open rates are low or suddenly falling, here are six reasons why this could be happening:

1. Poor subject lines

Subject lines are the gatekeepers to your email campaign and the first thing that readers see in their inbox. A boring subject line is deadly – it tells the reader that your email is not worth opening.

Get into the habit of running A/B tests on different subject lines to see what works and what doesn’t.

2. Boring content

People sign up for emails because they expect interesting content that adds value to their lives. They’re looking for tips, advice, or something useful. If you’re constantly blasting ads, coupons or sales messages, people will not open your emails the next time around.

Focus on offering content that helps people solve their problems. Thus, when you do use your email channel to sell, subscribers will be more receptive to your message.

3. Irrelevant content

Sometimes it’s not that your content is boring, it’s just not relevant to your subscribers. This happens a lot when you have different types of audiences subscribed to your email list.

Sending the same email campaign to “as many addresses as possible” is a losing strategy. Instead, send targeted emails to smaller segments of your list in order to reach only those who are interested in specific types of content. This will not only improve your open rate, it will also reduce the number of opt-outs.

4. Blocked images

These days most email clients block images by default. Without images being loaded, you cannot track whether the email was opened or not. The only way the email can be counted as opened is if the recipient enables images, or clicks on a link.

Use ALT-text for any HTML email newsletters you send. This code allows you to add a text description of an image where the space with an image would appear. Also, always ask your subscribers to “please add our address to your address book or safe sender list” so that your email images can be loaded automatically.

Always include a text version as an alternative in case they can’t receive HTML messages. Be sure to include JPEG image files instead of PNGs, because PNGs are not compatible with all email applications.

5. Over-sending

It could also be that you are sending emails too often. When people first subscribe, set their expectations by letting them know how often they’ll hear from you – then keep your promise.

It’s also a good idea to give them a preference page where they can update their interests and the frequency of receiving emails, e.g., weekly, monthly, or quarterly.

6. Poor email list

Low open rates could also be a result of a poor quality email list. If you purchased an email list from a vendor, then obviously the users are not familiar with your brand, products, or services and will probably not open your emails. Or, it could be that your email list is too old. Older email addresses generally tend to have lower open rates. Older email addresses might not even be in use anymore, which would negatively affect your open rates. For example, the contact could be an employee who no longer works at the company, or the contact could work for a company that was acquired, resulting in a new email address.

Make sure that you build your email list from scratch, from your own sources. Be sure to provide fresh, interesting content to attract new enthusiastic subscribers. If an email account never opens your email, don’t be afraid to remove it.

Your Turn:

These email tips and best practices should help you to improve your email open rates and achieve a more successful campaign. How is your email campaign working for you?

Download Understanding Marketing Automation
5 replies
  1. William Carton says:

    You say: “If you purchased an email list from a vendor…” as if that’s a legitimate way to acquire confirmed opt-in addresses. It is not. Permission cannot be transferred, and most email list vendors do not have confirmed permission to sell, transfer, or otherwise repurpose such a list. How could they? Who would sign up with informed consent to a list that could be sold a thousand times to a thousand dodgy ventures?

    Buying a list is a perfect way to be accused of spamming, and could cost the sender their hosting and even domain registration, and get added to hundreds of block lists.

    You should be advising all clients to NEVER buy lists because they can’t be verified, and the sellers won’t be able to provide the confirmed opt-in data to defend you from a spam report to your providers.

    f you purchased an email list from a vendor
    If you purchased an email list from a vendor,
    If you purchased an email list from a vendor

    • LindseyWeintraub says:

      Hi @williamcarton:disqus, thank you for your response. We do not condone purchasing email lists at all, in fact, we do strongly advise against this practice. However, we also understand that some in the industry are still doing this. Because this is still a tactic that is employed, we felt that it was necessary to address the negative consequences that are likely to arise. Thank you for supporting the idea that marketers should not purchase lists!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Pingback: 6 Reasons Why You Have a Low Email Open Rate […]

  2. […] Ongoing list hygiene is essential given that annual email address turnover is 30%. Use these 6 tips to avoid having a low email open rate.Touch base at least semi-annually to confirm the individual still wants to hear from you, and let […]

  3. […] into taking action and get them into the loop. Common components in a lead nurturing system are e-mail marketing, newsletters, promotions, blog posts, etc. – making sure to always include a call to action for […]

Comments are closed.