Customers Aren’t Reading Your Emails: Here’s Why


You already know that email marketing is the best way to nurture leads into sales. Even in an age of social media and countless other online experiences, clients still prefer to interact with companies in their email inbox. So, if that’s true – why aren’t people reading your emails?

The chances are that you put a lot of time, energy, and money into building successful emails. Yet, for some reason, they still might not be generating the results that you expect.

This means you have two options. You can either give up on email and watch your sales dwindle, or you can find out what’s going wrong and fix the problem.

We’re going to introduce you to some of the main reasons customers might not be reading your emails here so that you can turn things around.

1.    Your email lists aren’t organized

Never underestimate the value of a good email marketing list. The average person checks their email around 15 times a day, so if you can convince your customer to add you to their inbox – you’re in a great place. Unfortunately, there’s more to building a successful list of subscribers than you think.

Not everyone in your subscriber list wants the same thing from your company. Some want new blogs; others want podcast information and sale details. Send the wrong message to anyone, and you risk losing their respect (and custom).

So, how do you solve the problem?

Get creative with your list building strategy. For instance, gated content is one of the best ways to develop a more engaged subscriber list. You lock an eBook or another tool behind an email signup form, and users give you their details in exchange for value. Using gated content and upgrades means that you can target people in specific parts of the purchasing journey, and people interested in certain aspects of your company.

Once you know what each subscriber wants from your brand, you can better segment your lists to send more relevant content.

Don’t forget to regularly clear out inactive people from your subscriber list too. A lot of business owners assume that they should never remove anyone voluntarily from their email list. However, if your customers aren’t reading your content – they’re wasting your money. Most email marketing tools charge based on the number of subscribers you have. If you’re sending emails to customers who send your messages to the junk folder, you’re burning cash.

2.    You’re Not Personalizing your Messages

Once you’re properly segmenting your audience, don’t just send every group the same selection of messages. Make everyone who interacts with your business feel special by sending messages unique to their needs. According to research from Campaign Monitor, companies that segment their email campaigns receive an increase in revenue of around 760%.

After segmenting your audience based on why they decide to sign up for your email newsletter, decide whether you need to break your groups down any further. For instance, do you need to differentiate between customers of a certain age or people in specific locations. The more granular your lists, the more targeted your messages become.

If you know that someone entered their email into your website because they were thinking about buying a product but changed their mind at the last minute, you could send those people a targeted reminder, like Asics does here:

If every message you send seems like it was custom-written for the customer in question, they’re more likely to open your email.

3.    You’re Setting Yourself Up for Failure

Even with a solid email list, and a good strategy for personalization, you could be setting yourself up to fail if you don’t have a few email marketing basics ironed out. Go back to the drawing board in your email marketing software and look at your latest email campaign.

Ask yourself:

  • Are you using the right email address? Are you still using a generic email address from a company like Google? It might be time to spruce things up with something more professional. Today’s customers expect professional email addresses. is much more appealing than
  • Are you getting the timing right? Not everyone opens their emails at the same time. Do you know when your audience is more likely to open your messages? Finding out for certain requires a little trial and error. However, you can start by testing some industry standards. For instance, Coschedule says the best day to send email is a Tuesday:

  • Is the frequency okay? Another point to consider when looking at email timing- is whether you should be sending messages more or less often than you currently are. Sending too many messages will overwhelm your customer and send them running in the other direction. Send too few emails, however, and your audience will forget about you.

4.    Your Messages Don’t Have Value

Email marketing isn’t just a way to tell your audience about your latest discounts or new products. While transactional emails definitely have a part to play in your email strategy, make sure that you’re offering plenty of value beyond that too.

Any message you send should offer clear value to your customers. Welcome emails let your audience know what to expect, while purchasing messages thank your clients for investing in your company. Every email might have a different purpose – but it should always give something to your customers.

Before sending any email, ask yourself:

  • Why am I sending this? What is your customer going to get from this message? Will they be able to learn more about your company and what you do? Will they have exclusive access to a new discount on your website? Will they learn about your latest blog post?

  • Who should I be sending this too? Have your customers informed you of what kind of content they want to receive by filling out a preferences form on your website? Are you just sending emails based on what you need to know about your audience segments? Either way, every email won’t necessarily go to every customer.
  • How should I share this value? What kind of tools are you going to use to get the point across? Are you going to embed a video into your message so you can share a lot of information fast? Will you include links to more information, so your message isn’t too long for mobile browsers? Will you be including pictures and quotes?

5.    Your Content Strikes the Wrong Chord

Have you ever received an email from a company and wondered who on earth wrote it? When your customer agrees to sign up to your email newsletter, they’re expecting a certain level of quality from everything you send. With that in mind, it’s essential to ensure that your content properly represents your brand, and the feelings you want to convey.

Start with the subject line. Using the recipient’s name is a good way to instantly make the message feel more personal. Avoid any spammy words like “Buy” that might immediately turn customers off. If it makes sense to your business, try using emojis in the subject line. One study found that 56% companies using emojis saw higher open rates.

After you’ve convinced your audience to click into your email, make sure the internal content is on-brand too. Think about:

  • Your tone: Does the voice sound like you? Are you using the same kind of informal or formal language that usually shows in your blog posts and articles? What makes your message sound special?
  • Your image: Avoid any obvious mistakes that could harm you brand image. Run a spell check and make sure there are no mistakes before sending a message. Use the same branding and colors that your customers expect from you online.
  • Your message: Are you getting straight to the point with the benefit of this email for your audience? Is there a clear message for what you want your customer to do next?

6.    You’re Landing in the Spam Folder

Finally, one of the most common reasons that customers stop reading your emails is that they’re not ending up in their inbox. Spam filtering is a lot more rigorous today than it used to be, and you need to be careful that you’re not getting flagged. Too many trips to the spam folder harms your deliverability.

To boost your chances of staying in the inbox, make sure that you follow the rules of the CAN-SPAM act, and get permission to email your customers first. You can ask for their permission in exchange for lead magnets and freebies, or just encourage them to sign up when they make an account on your site. Other ways to avoid the spam folder include:

  • Boosting engagement: Webmail providers say that they often examine how many emails are opened and deleted by customers when filtering for spam. Send your messages at the right time, perfect your subject lines, and segment your list to enhance engagement.
  • Change your “from” information: If your from information is inaccurate or it looks unprofessional, change it up. This will boost your chances of bypassing spam filters. Remember to add your physical address too – as this is a legal requirement.

  • Avoiding trigger words: Some spam filters jump into action when they see certain words in the subject line. These words include things like “order now” or “click here”, or even just the word “spam”.

It’s Time to Get Your Customers to Read your Emails

Never underestimate the value of a good email marketing strategy. The average person checks their email around 15 times a day, so if you can convince your customer to add you to their inbox – you’re in a great place. Unfortunately, you still need to convince people to read your messages.

Use the methods above to boost your chances of genuine engagement, and remember to regularly update, prune, and improve your email lists. Whenever you notice your engagement levels starting to drop, it’s time to go back to the drawing board and ask yourself why people aren’t reading again.



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