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4 reasons people aren’t engaging with your email

As an email marketer, chances are good you’ve been here before: You fire off an email campaign, the results roll in, your open rates are on par with (or even above) industry averages… but your click rates are dismal.

Since the whole point of your email is to encourage action, it’s a problem marketers everywhere are desperate to solve, stat. But never fear – nine times out of ten, poor engagement can be tied to one of these culprits. Here are four common reasons your audience might not be clicking on your email, plus some actionable tips you can use to boost your click rates for good.


1. It wasn’t timely.

You can craft a clever, eye-catching subject line, design a gorgeous campaign, and fire it off to the exactly the right people – but if it isn’t timely, it simply won’t perform. Take this mailing from Crate and Barrel:

A Halloween email in August

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about a Halloween-themed campaign for fall. But this was sent on August 3rd, almost three months before the holiday. Even the biggest Halloween fanatic is unlikely to be interested in Halloween products that early. The point? Always consider the timeliness of your campaign before jumping the gun and hitting “send."


2. It was a terrible mobile experience.

Now that 55% of all email is opened on a mobile device, neglecting to optimize your emails for mobile will destroy your engagement rates. People are increasingly impatient with bad mobile experiences (hence Google’s decision to remove the “mobile-friendly” tag on search results – it’s an expectation now, not a bonus).

Retail giant Macy's provides a poor mobile email experience

Things like text links that are impossible to tap on a phone, so-small-it's-unreadable copy, and even pointing to a landing page that isn’t optimized for the small screen are deadly sins in the digital marketing world today.


3. The CTA was unclear.

If you want your subscribers to act, you need to make what you want them to do abundantly clear. So don’t complicate your message with too many CTAs (thanks to what neuroscientists call Choice Paradox, too many choices will compel your subscribers not to act at all) and use precise copy that tells your audience exactly what action you want them to take.

I love Wayfair, but this many choices most often leads to indecision


4. You’re sending too often (or not often enough).

Discovering that perfect send frequency is a tricky process, but it’s crucial to your success. After all, your “limited-time, super exclusive offer!” won’t feel so limited-time or exclusive if you’re sending one out every other day. On the other hand, if you send too little, your audience may lose interest in – or even forget about – your brand.

Some people like to advocate for a magic send frequency that works for everyone, but I don’t buy it. Just think about all the different brands you’ve invited into your inbox: Sure, I love getting daily emails from The Hustle, a tech and business newsletter, but I don’t want to hear from retailers more than once or twice a week at most.

The best bet? Keep an eye on your analytics, and as your response rates fluctuate, you’ll be able to fine-tune your frequency to the best possible cadence for your particular audience. And most importantly, only email when you have something truly valuable to share.


Click rates got you down? Share one of your campaigns (or describe your situation) in the comments, and we’ll try and help you figure out what might be the issue!