Remember the good ol' days when receiving an electronic mail message felt like magic? Okay, maybe some of you don't because you've only lived in a world where the "internets" have always been. But, believe it or not, there was a time when getting an email was super rare, and when you did, it felt like receiving a present.
Today, emails are very common. According to some reports, each of us now receives an average of more than 100 emails daily.
It doesn't matter how hypnotizingly cute the Furby is; if you got 100 of them each day, the surprise and delight would wear off quickly. And that's where we are right now–hundreds of thousands of emails a year fly through our inboxes, and we barely take notice.
But there are a precious few we will notice over and over again. Sure, ones from friends and family or your project manager asking when you plan on having your work done. But also emails from our favorite brands featuring a new product for sale that they "know you'll love" or a half-off drink for Tuesday because you "deserve it, dammit."
So. Why doesn't anyone like my emails?
Reason #10 - You send too many or not enough
Quick, which is a worse way to start an email?
"Hey, it's me again (for the fourth time today)!" or "Hello, I know it's been six months since you heard from me..."
The answer is neither–both are awful. Why are they awful? Well, in the first example, you show that you're aware that you've sent far too many emails–but you're sending another anyway. At some point, the only reason someone is going to open your email is to find the unsubscribe button.
The second example is bad because you've been gone so long that the person receiving your email has no idea who you are and why they signed up for your emails in the first place.
What's the sweet spot? Like most things, it depends. For each brand, the sweet spot for email cadence is different. Ultimately, what matters is that every email you send should provide some type of value to the person receiving it. The best way to gauge this is to check your email statistics regularly. Look for sudden drops in openings, clicks, or increases in unsubscribed. Listen to your own meter (or your team's) as well. If it feels like too much to you, it's likely too much for your audience. If you have to reintroduce yourself and your brand each time you send an email, then you aren't sending enough of them.
Reason #9 - Emails are sent at terrible times
Just as there is a sweet spot for cadence, there is another part of timing that you need to consider; when the emails are actually sent. Fortunately, with email marketing tools, you can schedule your emails to go out on any day or at any time. Not only that, but they'll also make suggestions on when it's best for your brand.
Also, be sure to consider the product or service itself. If you're a breakfast company, does it really make sense to send an email to someone around lunchtime? Probably not.
Reason #8 - Your emails look like spam
Spam is the scourge of the modern world. We all know the feeling of getting that email in our inbox that's not really an email. It's a message designed to trick us into clicking on a link, buying a product, or giving away our personal information. And unfortunately, a lot of email marketing can fall into this category. Because of this, many email providers like Google or Outlook will automatically put spammy-looking emails into a junk or spam folder, making email marketers work even harder to get their message out.
To avoid this pitfall, check out an article we did earlier this year, "The complete guide to avoiding being marked as spam."
Reason #7 - You're not following the "rules"
The wild west of email sending has ended, and there are now a number of rules we each have to follow. Stay updated on the latest regulations (they vary by country) and understand that even if you don't like rules, other people (and email overlords) do. This blog article will help.
Reason #6 - Your subjects lines aren't working
The subject line is the first thing, and sometimes the only thing, your recipient will see in their inbox. So it needs to be good. Like, really good. A few tips: keep it short (around 50 characters is ideal), make sure it's clear what the email is about, and avoid using spammy words like "free." Fortunately, making great headlines doesn't have to be a guessing game. Instead, A/B testing will help you get where you need to go.
Try to use each email you send as a testing ground to get better and better over time. Send the same subject line to a percentage of your list (anywhere from 50% to 80%) and send a different (the more different, the better) subject line to the rest of your list. Over time, see if a more "fun" subject line works better than a more serious one. See how emojis do. What about questions VS direct statements? Only try one test per email so as not to cloud the results.
Reason #5 - You don't personalize your emails
Email marketing providers offer easy-to-use code that lets marketers customize emails with first and last names, professions, or just about anything else you might know about your audience. Studies show that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than those without.
If you know your audience, don't be afraid to prove it.
Reason #4 - You never give clear calls-to-action
What do you want your audience to do when they read your email? That should be clear from the get-go. Unfortunately, a lot of marketers are afraid to ask for too much, so their emails never have a specific purpose. As a result, recipients often don't know what to do next and simply move on.
To avoid this, ensure each email has a clear and specific call to action. Whether it's to buy a product, sign up for a service, or attend an event, your reader should always know the next step. Also, it's essential not to have too many actions. Marketers often suffer from trying to get their audience to do too many things with just one email. If you find yourself putting in multiple calls to action in one email, instead consider sending multiple emails (at different times, of course).
Reason #3 - Your message is confusing
When crafting your email, be sure to have one primary message that's easy for your audience to understand. A confused mind will not buy, so don't try to sell too many things at once or try to get too many messages across.
The same goes for the design of your email. Too much going on will just overwhelm people, so keep it clean and simple. Use short sentences, bullet points, and clear visuals.
Reason #2 - Your value isn't clear
When recipients open an email, they should know right away what's in it for them. Whether it's a great deal, new and exclusive content, or just something that will make their life easier, your audience needs to understand why they should care about your email.
If you're not sure how to do this, take some time to review your past emails. Are they clear about what you're offering? Do they make it easy for the reader to understand why they should care?
Ask yourself, "Would I care about this email?"
If the answer is no, either change it or don't send it.
Reason #1 - You don't understand what makes people open emails
And finally, the number one reason no one likes your emails is that you don't really understand what makes people open emails. Now, don't go getting all offended. Hear us out.
First and foremost, it's not your fault. Say it with us, "It's not my fault."
Instead, accept that none of us REALLY know 100% exactly what works and what doesn't in email marketing. Instead, we use data, statistics, and past results to make as great of a guess as we can–then, we see what works and what doesn't and do it all over again.
If you want to know what causes people to open emails, you must have a great email marketing provider and partner that can help you by looking at the data and translating it into email marketing goodness.
You can also try A/B split campaigns to make sure your email will be optimized at the maximum.
We are the type of partner that can help your email marketing campaigns go from unread to "more please." Check out our blog for more best practices and see the plans we offer (there's even a free one you can sign up for today).