8 reasons why customers never open your emails

By August 6, 2015Email Marketing

There’s nothing better for eCommerce email marketers than watching an email campaign consistently drive orders. And there’s nothing more aggravating than wondering why customers never open your emails.unopened emails mailbox imageThere are so many moving pieces to an email campaign, send time, email design, list segmentation, etc. It can get anyone with low open rates thinking, where did I possibly go wrong?

If your open rates are floundering and your click rates are non-existent, your email campaigns aren’t generating revenue.

And without revenue from email marketing, where is it coming from?Email Marketing ROI Cartoon FunnyTake it from that guy.

Because email generates a boatload of dough.

When it comes to super effective, order generating email campaigns, we’ve already given you some super valuable stuff.

Like the best days and times to send emails to customers and how to avoid the spam folder.

If you’ve leveraged some of the ideas and tips from those articles and you’re still struggling to drive opens, we can help.

But first, take a look at your open rates. This will really determine if customers never open your emails.

The eCommerce industry open rate norm is 16.92%.

For behavioral emails, like abandoned carts and inactive customer follow ups, the open rates sky rocket to about 60%!

Why customers never open your emails

But before you can get a stupendous, 60% open rate, let’s fix the issues at hand and grow your open rates.

If your shop is in the single digits or low double digits, we’ve put together a handy list of eight reasons why customers aren’t opening your emails.

No-Reply Email Addresses
Send Timing
Buying Email Lists
Sender Score
Unsubscribes & Opting Out
Subject Line
Personalization/Email Design
Mobile Optimized


No-reply email addresses

No-reply email addresses are a trigger for spam filters. So one of the reasons your customers may not be reading your mail is because they’re not even seeing it in their primary inbox.

No Reply Email Example

Even if the spam filter doesn’t keep your emails from the inbox, customers are less inclined to read no-reply emails.

You don’t want your customers to respond, so why would they want to read, open or even click?

If you insist on using a no-reply email address, follow Quora’s lead and make sure to include a ‘from-name.’


Sending at the wrong time

Not all send times are created equal. Some days and times receive much higher purchase rates than others.

what time of day to send emails to customers graph and study

One reason people might not be opening your emails is because they aren’t looking at their inbox. Believe it or not, some people do separate themselves from their email once in a while.

Timing is also important when considering the frequency of your email sends.

You don’t want to overwhelm your customers by sending too often, but you should be sending at a consistent rate to maintain ongoing communication and avoid customers from becoming inactive or stale.


Buying email lists

If you purchase your email lists, no customer gave you their email willingly and therefore are not motivated to read your emails.

Customers are also much more likely to flag your emails as spam, as opposed to just unsubscribing.

buying emails lists spam

Also, if your list isn’t clean and segmented, it can contribute to low open rates.

If you send emails to customers that have been inactive for over a year, this can decrease your deliverability and open rates, too.

It sounds like common sense.

But many companies still insist on blasting all of their customers over and over and over again.

If you want your emails to be read, only send them to your engaged and active customers.


Having a low sender score

If you have a low sender score, your emails will get trapped by the spam filter.

In other words, they won’t make it to inbox.

see your sender score

You will get a bad reputation with ISP domains and get marked across the board as a spammer.

That reputation will determine if you make it your recipients inbox unscathed and, even better, get opened and read.

To learn more about your sender score, go here.


Unsubscribes and opting out

Sometimes customers opt out of receiving all newsletters or marketing emails when they make their first purchase.

Or they unsubscribe from emails when they start receiving too many, too often.

There is not much you can do except find out why they unsubscribed so you can try to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

One way to avoid immediate unsubscribes is by removing the ability for shoppers to unsubscribe when checking out from your store.

This box is automatically checked and usually says, “I don’t want to receive marketing emails.”

If new customers can immediately unsubscribe, they may never hear from your awesome company.

Another way to avoid unsubscribes is by spending some serious time creating useful and high quality emails.

If you give your customers a reason to open your email – with incentives or coupons – they have a reason to keep opening and clicking your emails.


Subject lines

These are probably the most important part of any email.

Subject lines are where first impressions are made.

If you have a subject line that ends up in the spam folder, they will never see it.

If you have a subject line that doesn’t attract your customer’s attention, they will never open it.

If you have a subject line that isn’t totally genuine, customers will never click.

Consider copying some of the “link bait” headlines you see on BuzzFeed or Mashable – assuming they’re genuine..

best subject lines to drive opens

As much as we hate to say it, link bait subject lines work.

Make sure you craft unique and direct subject lines to capture the readers attention and for you email to stand out a crowded inbox.


Personalization & Email Design 

If you’re not taking the time to personalize emails or making it relevant to a specific customer why should they take the time to read it?

Let’s say you sell aftermarket  automotive parts.

You shouldn’t be sending deals on Camaro parts to a customer who buys parts for a Mustang.

mustang ford camaro example

Another example – pet food.

If you have a customer who repeatedly buys dog food, don’t send them a coupon for parakeet toys.

Personalization is especially important in subject lines or preheader text.

The body should also be personalized including the recipient’s name and maybe info on their last purchase.

But first think about why you are sending this email.

Is it clear what you want the reader to do? Do you want them to buy something, write a review or read something?

Whatever the call-to-action is, make it obvious. Throw in a big call-to-action button, but don’t get ridiculous.

Content is crucial and arguably the most important part of your email.

If it’s not relevant, timely or of interest to your customers, then they will not see it as valuable and worth their time or money.


Mobile optimization

According to Hubspot, 48% of emails are being opened on a mobile device.

Here’s the thing, 69% of people checking email on their phone delete the email if they have to constantly drag the screen back and forth to read an email.

all ophone unlocking

As the number of people checking email on their phone continues to grow, a responsive email design becomes more critical, too.

A responsive email design simply means no matter what device an email is opened on, the email will automatically fit the dimensions of the device.

If the email doesn’t work on a mobile platform, people won’t bother reading it.

Make sure your email layout, design and images look just as good on a phone or tablet as it does a computer.

Also, make sure your images aren’t too big so they don’t take forever to load.

You can use a tool like Litmus to test all of these things.

Luckily for you, all of Remarkety’s emails are responsive.

Have you figured out why customers never read your emails, yet?

If you’ve tried to fix your emails by leveraging all of the above and your open rates are still low, take a look at your bounce rate.

If your bounce rate is high, you either have a lot of junky email addresses or email servers aren’t letting your email through to the inbox.

This can happen if your IP is blacklisted. More on that here.

If your bounce race is low, then maybe you need to offer better incentives to increase open rates.

Ultimately, that subject line and preheader text is key and A/B tests will be a godsend for you.

Test two different subject lines with every campaign. Get creative!

Want more?

If you need a little extra help or have additional questions, drop us a line.

Or hop on the reading train and plant your eye balls on one of these popular articles:

Email Marketing VS Email Remarketing
How to Write a Marketing Email
Four Automated Campaigns You Should Be Running


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Photo credits: Return Path, iruntheinternet, Safety and Justice, Steve Arnold