4 common reasons why emails get ignored

Avoid these mistakes to ensure prospects and colleagues get the message.


Email marketing is growing in popularity and prevalence—but that doesn’t necessarily mean that marketers know what they’re doing.

It’s as possible as ever to sink a lot of money into an email marketing campaign and get nothing out of it whatsoever.

This can happen for a few different reasons—poor tracking and lead capturing, unclear goals or email content that doesn’t deliver any benefit to the reader.

An even more fundamental and common problem is that marketing emails never get opened in the first place, either winding up in spam folders or in the trashcan.

Of course, a marketing email that’s never opened is a total waste of your dollars. If you find that your open rate is criminally low, it’s good to ask yourself why that might be.

Here are some of the most common reasons:

Mysterious subject lines

Have you ever received an email from an unknown sender with a vague or cryptic subject line and opened it out of pure curiosity? Probably not. Most of us only take the time to open emails when we know there’s something inside we need to see. Your email’s subject lines should promise clear value. They should spell out what the email is about and why readers should care. A mysterious subject line is almost never a successful one.

Wasting space (and time)

Do you reveal your business name in the sender line, the subject line and then the opening sentence of each email you send? That’s redundant. It’s a waste of space and, most crucially, it’s a waste of your reader’s time. People don’t have a lot of time to read emails that don’t offer immediate value, so use your space wisely. Avoid needless repetition.

It’s all about you

We’re constantly seeing emails with an opening sentence like: “I wanted you to be the first to know about the new business I’m launching.” Or: “We have a new e-book on the way, and I wanted you to be the first to hear about it.” Look: Nobody really cares what you want. Your email readers want to know what’s in it for them. Marketing emails should focus on benefits, benefits and benefits—period. Get to those benefits right away.

Using names in subject lines

Have you ever received an email with your name in the subject line? If not, it’s because such emails have all ended up in your spam folder. Only spammers use this tactic. Again, don’t waste space in your subject line with things your reader already knows. Get straight to the point and go directly to the value.

A version of this post first appeared on the Grammar Chic blog.

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