9 Reasons Your Emails Aren’t Being Read

You’ve built an amazing email campaign, written awesome content with a killer call-to-action and a compelling subject line. You’ve done everything the experts tell you to do. Or so you think. Then the results come up short and you’re wondering why. Could be a million reasons but research and our experience reveals a common set of critical missteps that affect open rates and click-through rates. We’re sharing the top nine offenders here.

1. Your subject line focuses on the wrong goal  – The goal of any email you send should simply be about getting a response. It shouldn’t be about closing a deal, finalizing a partnership, or hiring a candidate. Until you can get a response on your email, until you can truly connect with your recipient, you’re nowhere closer to your goal. Write your subject line with that goal in mind.

2. You’re sending all your email at the wrong time or on the wrong day – Most business emails are sent during business hours. But recent data from the 2014 Email Open Rates Report shows something slightly surprising. Most emails were sent on Monday, with over 1,000,000 sent that day. The least amount of emails were sent on Saturday and Sunday, of course, with less than 200,000 sent on each of those days. Now we’re not saying that you should send all emails on the weekend, but there should be some strategic balance. If you really want to capture the attention of someone important who isn’t getting back to you, try a Sunday night email. Otherwise, stick to normal business hours.

3. Using a generic sender address  – The name you include in the “From” field of your email – and have a huge impact on your overall open rates. A number of studies have shown that sending emails from an actual person increases both the open and click-through rates.

4. “Personalizing” without actually personalizing  – When we say personalization, we don’t mean replacing “Hi there” with “Hi Amanda.” Recipients are smart enough to know that with the click of a magic digital button, our emails can be personalized with first name, company name, and so on. Personalizing in today’s business environment involves taking the time to learn about the individual you’re contacting.

5. Sending selfish “just checking in” email – We’ve all hit a stage in our business where we just really need a response. There’s an open job you’re trying to fill and the perfect candidate has yet to respond to you. There’s a golden partnership opportunity to help your brand but the partner just isn’t getting back to you. Unless you have a very specific, time-sensitive call-to-action, avoid sending ‘check-in’ emails.

6. Forgetting about mobile users – Many people still write emails with only a desktop-view in mind. If you receive a six-paragraph email, how excited are you to read it? Now imagine getting that email on mobile. According to Gartner, 74% of smartphone owners use their device to check emails and 81% of tablet owners check email on those devices. With that in mind, we recommend keeping your emails to 3 to 6 sentences, not 3 to 6 paragraphs.

7. Ending the email without an easy next step  – Whether it’s downloading a piece of content, scheduling a time to connect, or sharing information for a job opening, every goal needs to be stated strategically with its respect next step. For example: if you want to find time to connect. The most common practice is to suggest a specific time and date, but what if your contact isn’t available? Make it easy by saying something like: “Would you be willing to chat for 10 minutes next week?”

8. Using a signature that distracts from your goal  – Many professionals get too caught up in their email signatures. They begin including quotes, large images, multiple URLs, and so on. But the point of your signature is to provide beneficial contact information. It’s that simple. Just like too much activity on a landing page can distract a user from the main call-to-action for that page, a heavy signature can distract a reader from the main goal of getting your email read. Keep signatures short and simple. Use plain, black and white text, and provide contact info and a link to view your online profile (Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).

9. Sending another email when you don’t get a quick response  – After a day of seeing no response to an email, you probably jump to the refresh game again the next day. Rather than constantly looking for a response, see if your email has been opened. Has the link in your email been clicked? Lack of response doesn’t automatically mean lack of engagement.

That’s our ‘top 9’ list—what mistakes have you come across and what tips can you share?

(SOURCES: http://blog.aweber.com/articles-tips/common-email-marketing-mistakes-why-your-emails-arent-getting-results.htm and “9 Reasons People are Ignoring Your Emails” – from HubSpot library)