Why No One is Reading Your Emails


It’s happened to us all. You send out your email that you’ve edited, double-checked for spell errors and done email tests a dozen times.

You wait for the clicks to come streaming in––but not that many do. What are you doing wrong?

Subject Lines

Let’s go to the beginning of the email journey. Your subject line is the first thing that your customers see, but it just doesn’t seem to be working.

There are several simple changes that you can make to your subject lines to make them more interesting, but obviously, each method isn’t going to work for every type of industry.

Get To The Point

First off, shorten your subject lines. Typically, any subject line longer than 50 characters is going to be chopped off by the email client, so keep it short and sweet.

TripAdvisor Deals really needs to shorten their subject lines

Buzzfeed Animals’ newsletter has got it right

Another important factor is being careful where you send your email from. An email from “Elevated Third” is much more likely to be opened than an email from “info.” Most email clients give you the options to make this change when you are preparing your email, so don’t forget!

C’mon, team. You gotta do better than that.

Tell, Don’t Sell

Copy is another integral part getting your customers to open your email. As MailChimp says, “Don’t sell what’s inside; tell what’s inside.” It’s 2015. As human beings on this earth, we are used to being sold to everyday, whether it’s emails flooding our inboxes, sponsored content on the websites we read or even the occasional billboard on the street. We are getting better at seeing when someone is selling to us––and that’s not what your email should be for. Your email should be providing the information that your customer didn’t even know they needed, whether it’s your awesome newsletter or well-written advice.

When I click, I know exactly what I’m getting.

What is even happening right now

Test, Test, Test

This is where the magic of A/B testing comes in. For you marketers out there who don’t know, A/B testing is a gift to mankind (okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration). But it is one of the greatest tools that you can use in the digital marketing realm––again and again and again. There will always be something to test, whether it be gifs vs. static photos, subject lines with numbers vs. no numbers, short descriptions vs. paragraph introductions, etc. You can even do things like test which time yields the best email open rate, like this eMarketer study.

Mobile Optimization

Mobile is the buzzword of 2015. “Will mobile usage overtake desktop usage?” is something you’ve seen in a recent blog post (FYI, 66% of emails are opened on mobile, so you can draw your own conclusion). But there’s an even more important question in that vein; are your emails optimized for mobile?


It’s not hard to guess which one I’d be more likely to click on––the one where I can actually read the text.

So you’ve gotten a customer or client to open an email; now you just have to keep them there. An easy method to send them on their way is by not using a mobile-friendly email template.

As soon as someone opens an email on mobile, and it is impossible to read or the design looks terrible scrunched in a small space, they will go back to their inbox and promptly forget about the email you spent so much time creating.

Just think––each time someone opens an email not optimized for mobile when they are on the phone? It’s giving them fewer reasons to open it next time. In a digital marketing world that is rife with inventions and developments that make it harder to get your emails to a consumer or client, you don’t need to be providing them with more reasons to not even bother opening it. Without mobile optimization, your email marketing is doomed to fail.


We all know email is a massive part of any marketing campaign, but there are small––but integral––things that get overlooked in email production, from hastily thrown together subject lines to completely ignored mobile optimization. If you don’t write a brilliant subject line, those few words describing your email will be the only words your followers read. If you don’t optimize your emails for all screen sizes, no one will bother to open the email again. With both of these strategies under your belt, your emails will succeed in being opened––and read.