Why is no one opening my emails!?

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We’ve all been there… You send a campaign with the grand expectation of smashing your average open rate, only to find that just a small percentage of subscribers have opened the email. It’s very disappointing to say the least, but lessons can be learnt. Something was obviously not right, but not necessarily obvious. Was the timing, the content or perhaps the subject line to blame? Sometimes yes, but here are 5 reasons why no one is opening your emails.

Your track record

Abuse your list at your peril. The biggest factor that influences the open rate is not the email you have sent and it’s subject line, but the previous emails you have delivered to the subscriber. If a subscriber receives 3 emails in a row that had nothing of interest to them, what reasoning would they have to open the next? Trust has been broken between the brand and the subscriber. To check if this is the case run the ‘Lifecycle Report‘ in Maxemail to see how quickly your new subscribers open rate starts declining.


Subscribers have signed up to your email communications because they believe you will offer them something of value in return, whether that be offers and discounts, or being the first to know about the latest news and products. Customers may simply unsubscribe from your emails once they begin to loose interest, however, many may choose to remain subscribed but ignore your communications. The most important factor to remember is that as soon as you stop delivering that value, you will start to lose interest of subscribers altogether.

Junked or Filtered

There is the possibility that not all of your emails are being delivered to the inbox. An email into the junk mail folder might get 1-2% open rate at best. It won’t be obvious if you have delivery issues as results are unlikely to drop off a cliff and are likely to fester for some time and build up. To get a gut feel use a seeding service which includes a range of their own addresses in the send and reports back how many land in the inbox or spam folder.

Busy inbox – work harder

More emails are sent than ever before, which makes it harder to gain a share of the inbox. To overcome this look at your tactics around from name, subject lines and timing to make sure you are having enough impact, but again it also comes back to the overall quality of your emails and the value you are offering.

You are not sending enough

Open rate is a misleading statistic. Of course you want it to be as high as possible, but actually, it is the total amount of opens that is most important. With busy inboxes the chances of getting an open first time is a challenge, so you do need multiple bites of the cherry to maximise your total opens. Resending your email campaign is often a valuable action, providing you take advantage of segmentation tools to ensure you don’t bombard people who have already opened the email. Re-sends are useful in other situations as well, for example, if an offer is due to expire the urgency in last minute reminders help drive action which can lead to more response than the original email.

For more information, get in touch with one of our email marketing experts to learn how Emailcenter can improve the performance of your email campaigns.

About James Lucas

Former Senior Marketing Executive at Emailcenter UK Ltd, a leading provider of email marketing software and solutions.