Is Email Marketing Effective? Why Your Prospects Don't Open Your Emails


Thousands of companies just like yours swear by email marketing as the most effective means of attracting prospects to their business. This is no consolation, however, if you have been disappointed by your own forays into email marketing. Email marketing carries a potentially huge ROI, but only if your target audience opens and then responds to your campaigns! This article addresses the reasons why your prospects aren’t opening your emails and explains why email marketing is still one of the most reliable and cost-effective of marketing methods.

Reason 1: You’ve failed to grab your prospect’s attention

People tend to get a lot of email. My own personal Gmail account receives in excess of 900 marketing emails each month. A small proportion of this is spam, but most are from companies I have previously registered an interest with or purchased services from. Obviously the vast majority are not opened – I simply don’t have the time to go through them all. Only the emails that grab my attention are going to get opened. If my experience is anything like typical, therefore, the first priority of an email marketing campaign is to engage the prospect sufficiently so that your email doesn’t get immediately relegated to the junk folder.

To do this you need to optimise your subject line and ‘sent from’ name:

The first words that customers will see when they receive an email will be found in the subject line. To boost the chances of success, the words used here must be compelling, punchy and grip the recipient right away. Get straight to the point in as few words as possible. Don’t be tempted to spell out your whole proposition in the subject line, the idea is to tease the prospect into opening to find out more. Avoid using emojis or exclamation marks in the subject line as this reeks of spam. Finally, make sure your sent from address is clearly marked with your company name so the prospect knows who it is from. Don’t send business emails from a personal account or use a trading name – unless this is how the prospect knows you. Following these few guidelines will set your email up with a fighting chance of being opened. That’s the first step of the journey.

Reason 2: Your content is generic and irrelevant

What reason does a prospect have to open your email unless your content is relevant to them?

Ultimately, your prospects are looking for value each time they receive an email. They are giving up their valuable time so it is crucial that you provide them with valuable information or your message will end up categorised as junk. There has to be something positive for them to take from opening your messages. Recipients of emails want to be enthused by what you are offering them so your tone must be completely different from the one you apply on your social media channels.

The in-box is a very personal environment so you need to do the necessary research, make the relevant contact and learn as much about them as possible. This will enable you to personalise your emails and therefore make your prospect feel that your business has something of relevance to offer them. This is where segmenting becomes important. Once you understand who your prospects are and the problems they face at work, then you can create bespoke content that directly addresses these concerns. Also, remember that personalisation isn’t restricted to the content itself. If you know it, use the prospect’s first name in the email. People are far more likely to pay attention to an email from a business that knows them personally.

Reason 3: You’re being too pushy

Email marketing is a powerful form of communication allowing you to reach a large number of people instantly. However, it is not a privilege that should be abused through its ease of communication. While most people do not mind receiving occasional emails from businesses they are interested in, there can be too much of a good thing. Unless a prospect has specifically signed up for ‘daily deals’ or ‘news updates’ then it is unwise to contact them more than once or twice a week at the very most. By overdoing your emails you risk coming across as too pushy and having the prospect unsubscribe from your list.

Consistency of message and branding is also important. If you want to build a genuine relationship with your prospect then you need to allow them to get to know you – in terms of messaging, prices and brand identity. If you constantly barrage your prospects with new information and messages, they will become confused and quickly lose interest.

The same applies if all you ever do is try and sell things to your prospects. It is difficult to have a personal relationship with someone if all you ever do is ask for money. It’s the same with business email marketing. By all means give your prospects access to special promotions, but also make a point of sending them articles, infographics, hints and video content that they will genuinely find useful, with no strings attached.

Reason 4: You’ve ignored your analytics

One of the most awesome things about email marketing is how precisely you can track your results. If you use an email marketing platform such as Mailchimp or Hubspot you can find out exactly who has opened your emails, how many times they’ve read it, which links they have clicked and when. Find out which Email marketing platform is best here: Which Email Marketing Service Is Best. This information is a powerful tool in improving your results from email marketing. Investigating your analytics will give you great insight into why your prospects may not be opening your emails. It may simply be that they are asleep when your email arrives (if sent to prospects in a different time zone), or your message coincides with a particularly hectic time at work. Looking at subscriber behaviour allows you to tweak and modify your content and to learn to send your emails at the optimum time.

So, is email marketing effective?

Email marketing can be phenomenally effective, but it does take care, forward planning and creativity to implement it correctly. Where people fall down with email marketing is by slipping into the easy mistakes we have covered in this article. The key items to remember are to keep your emails personal, relevant and appropriate. If you can send a highly tailored message to a prospect that addresses a need they genuinely have, and you can schedule it so it arrives at a convenient time, then there is a very strong possibility they will open and engage with your message.

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