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Here is why no one is opening your emails

Posted by Elliott Sitkins
on July 31, 2023

Something we get asked about all the time is how to improve open rates in emails.


To answer that question, we returned to the archives and found some videos from our old podcast that are still GOLD.


So sit back, watch, listen, read, and learn how to increase your email open rates and better connect with your audience.


Segmenting your lists and making sure you're emailing the right people



Clean your contacts!


We see so many databases full of contacts that will never buy from them.


People often think that their contacts are much more up to date than they are. They assume everyone is a qualified lead and while at the time they became a contact they might have been, in the time since any number of things could've happened to make that no longer the case.


It's not uncommon for contacts that people think are "good fit leads" actually:

  • No longer work for the company
  • Have a new, unrelated role in their company
  • Have never opened an email from your company
  • Met once at a trade show years ago
  • Found a new solution
  • Are no longer struggling with the issue that made them interested in you in the first place


Regardless of the reason, the point remains the same. Just because someone was an MQL at one point doesn't mean they still are. Sometimes you're better off just deleting the contact entirely.


Deleting contacts from your CRM can be scary, but if they're completely unengaged, you're just paying to keep contacts that are actively hurting your email health.


Besides, if they change their mind and want to buy from you, they'll find their way back.


How to identify your target open rate and make sure you hit it every time


What should your open rates be on emails. 


A good benchmark to aim for is 25-30% but this can change dramatically depending on a variety of factors. Here is HubSpot's guide for benchmarks by industry.


First things first, it's important to remember that open rates are not the end goal. Conversion is.


While they are important to overall email health and are key to making sure people are actually reading your emails, don't be distracted by open rate as a vanity metric if it doesn't lead to conversion.


Another thing to consider is that different email types should have different target open rates. 


For example, sales emails sent to qualified leads should have much higher open rates than marketing emails that are meant to nurture and warm up cold leads.


With all that being said, what can you do to improve the open rates of your emails?


Here are some tips for better open rates:

  • Subject lines are the key to peaking their interest and getting them to open. It doesn't matter how good the email copy is if they never open, so don't overlook the importance of the subject line!
  • Send your email through a spam tester. Make sure your subject line won't get flagged as spam and your email copy doesn't sound sketchy.
  • First impressions matter, make sure you deliver in your welcome series. Your highest open rate is typically the delivery of a resource, make it count.
  • Consider re-sending to people who don't open.
  • Provide value don't just sell. This is a long term strategy, but one that pays dividends. If you consistently provide value in your emails rather than just selling, people will continue to open and read your emails as long as you continue to provide value to them.


While we just mentioned making sure to clean your list so you aren't emailing to poor fit contacts, it's also important to not go to the other extreme of never sending emails.


Your contacts provide no value if they're just sitting in your database, you have to reach out to them.


Optimizing your subject lines for better open rates


As mentioned, subject lines are the key to increasing open rates. So what are some strategies to use to improve yours?

  • Use [brackets] to preface what your email will be about.
  • Don't be too ambiguous or clever.
  • You can be "click-baity" but be genuine and deliver what your promised. Over deliver on value.
  • Cater to your audience.
  • Consider using personalization tokens.
  • Use FOMO but use it responsibly.
  • Boosting open rate doesn't matter if they don't convert

The key is to find the balance of writing a compelling and intriguing enough subject line without misleading your audience about what the email contains.


Promise value, but then deliver on that value.


Choosing a "from name" to increase authenticity


Should you use a person or a company for the from name in marketing emails?


There are arguments to be made for both. A person's name will feel more personal, but it can seem disingenuous if the email is obviously some automated marketing email. 


Using the company name may seem more honest for formal emails, but they tend not to perform as well and don't connect with your audience.


At the end of the day, a person's name will typically get a higher open rate. A good compromise is to format them as "[person's name] at [company name]" so that they know what company the email is coming from, but they can also match an individual's name to the company.



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