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8 Reasons Why Your Email Open Rate is Nosediving

Posted By Guest Blogger 14th of March 2014 General 0 Comments

emailcrashThis is a guest contribution from Luke Guy, blogger and graphic designer.

It’s amazing how blogs have exploded within the last 10 years – take ProBlogger for instance. Blogs like these can provide a good living for the owner if the traffic remains strong and healthy. But how do these blogs retain the traffic and keep a steady flow? There are many ways, but I want to discuss with you a vitally important one: your email list.

Usually more email subscribers would mean more traffic. Right? Well, not anymore.

Bloggers are facing diving open rates today like never before. Small bloggers and the celebrity bloggers alike suffer.

But why?

Let me give you 8 Reasons Why Your Email Open Rate Is Nosediving.

1. You have lots of images within the email.

When it comes to email open rates, fashion is not how you make waves. Simpler is better in this case. HTML is good, but text based emails are even better. I know we’re tempted to be flashy, but if no one is seeing it, what’s the point? Your email is going to be seen more when images aren’t within them. They flag filters many times, and can annoy the reader also. It’s best to simply state your message and get to the point quickly.

2. Way too long!

In the blog world an article of 200-1000 words is considered an informative post (View Darren’s Post On Word Count). Reading one of these could take 5-7 minutes to read, and 15 minutes to fully understand.

In email this is simply not so. Why? You’re simply updating them with short exclusive information, and persuading them to spend a minute on this unexpected message from you. Think of your email newsletter as a bite-size sample of your blog. Let every bite be extremely pleasant and leave them wanting more. Where do they get more? Your blog.

In order to do this, your email must be short, sweet, and fulfilling in bite-size. 150-450 word count would be best when writing. You’re sharing exclusive content, updating, and telling them about your new blog post kind-of-thing.

3. Links Everywhere.

When all they see is outlined sentences everywhere, landing somewhere in the unknown, the word SPAMMY is the first thoughts of most readers. They get the idea that all you’re trying to do is send them to a place they don’t want to go, to spend money they don’t want to spend. Put only one link in your article, and give them many good reasons why they should click on that link. Not one reason to click on 10 links, that’s not as effective. So choose your link wisely, and this also will prevent your email from getting vacuumed by the email filters.

4. Your agenda appears to be making money.

When they see your email appear, what should they expect? If it’s another course, eBook, or program in which they must buy, there’s a good chance you’re going to get turned off eventually. A good rule of thumb is to give your reader 10x more. Instead, offer freebies just so they will warm up to you. If you need some freebie ideas, go here: 6 Freebies That Will Spike Engagement In Your Blog

I know we’re all trying to come up with ways in which to make money, but it’s better to have our customers coming to us with their money, not the other way around with us chasing them and their wallet. When they understand that you’re for them and wanting to help more than to make a buck, they will come.

5. Your email is only a result from an RSS blast.

Your emails should be exclusive content, not an email blaster from your RSS feed. Many will disagree with me on this, because they don’t want another article to write. I understand their pain, but what’s the point of offering this option of RSS if they’re not going to read it? With Google’s Gmail Algorithm, RSS is a turn off and a good chance it will never make it to their inbox.

How will they find out about by my new blog post then? you might be asking.

Give them many reasons within that email why they should read that article and give them a link to it. The reason shouldn’t be because it’s new. It should be because it’s helpful and can be found almost no where else. You’re just pointing them back to it so they won’t miss this amazing content.

6. Not full of helpful information.

You thought that tips, helpful information, and how-tos were only for blogs? Not so, it will apply to your email rate as well. Except you have only a few seconds to persuade them to read it, a few more seconds to finish reading it, and finally to click on whatever link you may have for them (that was the point of the email right?).

The only thing is with email, shorter is better. Why? When trying to catch the eye, you have only a few seconds to persuade them to read it and consume your information. As for a blog post, most were searching for the solution you have to offer and were willing to spend the time to solve their problem. So make it short but powerful since your message was unexpected!

7. They don’t feel a personal connection with you.

If all you do is sell, command, and write like you’re talking to the wall, they’re not feeling what you write. To avoid this, write as if they’re your friend. Instead of writing to your readers, write to your reader specifically. Pretend that you’re writing to one of your readers, and let them feel that one-on-one connection. It’s about winning their trust, which is key to any business.

8. You’re boring.

If you’re doing all of the above, it’s time to face it. It’s time for a recharge. Sometimes to make our tips more helpful, and our writing voice more inspirational, we need to read more and be inspired. Like an athlete, we must eat more than we burn. If not, we don’t have much to offer.

Go out in your niche and explore again. It could be the simple fact that you are burned out and need to refill with more helpful information.

Ways to improve email letter quality:

1. Read a blog post like this one by Darren Rowse On Passion: Passion – Do You Have It?

2. Interact more in the comment section.

3. Listen to podcasts.

4. Talk to pros in your niche.

5. Take a course.

6. Think more, and spend more time with that writing piece.

7. Study your competition and how they write their emails. Read this to be inspired: Learning Your Foes Makes You a Better Hero

So basically you’re defeating two things here, the email filter and the reputation of scammers. It’s so easy to be flagged as a scammer these days and you must work extra hard to appear the very opposite. These tips will make that happen, and will also get your emails to bypass the filters.

Mission Accomplished.

You’re going to see great results from this if applied correctly. I’ve learned by not selling, you kind of are. When they know you’re in business, and all you do is help, curiosity takes over them. When they see your free tips work tremendously, what will your paid versions do?

Thanks for reading and I wish you higher email rates!

Did I miss something? Leave a comment below and let’s see what you have to offer to the Problogger community.

Luke Guy is both graphic artist and blogger, publisher for LukeGuy.com, and graphic designer for hire. He’s loves to blog and helping people with dreams in starting a business.


About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. This is dead on! I recently read an article from Nathan Barry that mentioned similar principles in theory. The super artsy/bubbly email template may be dying, because they’ve been slightly abused and overused over the last 5-7 years. I can’t tell you how many beautifully designed email’s are siting in my junk and spam folders, because the content within the email doesn’t speak TO me, but attempts to talk AT me. Simple text with some bolding and italics looks like an email from a pal, and that’s what will win the day for the next 5-7 years.

    • Dion, people are always wondering what we’re up to. Let them know up front that you’re simply wanting to help. The sooner they figure this out, the sooner you have their trust. Friendly emails go a long way!

  2. For me, #4 is the most egregious offense. I used to be on Ramit Sethi’s email list (I loved his book and signed up after I read it). After about the tenth email trying to sell me some stupid program I didn’t want, I unsubscribed. What’s sad is that he did have some good content in his emails—it just was overshadowed by the spammy sales stuff.

    • That’s right. Nothing wrong with making money, but we’ve got to be more strategic. You’ll make more when you’re not so obvious. I never want “spammy” on my head. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Great post, I definitely have deleted so many emails that are just all pictures and advertisements, so many people could use this advice. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sometimes it’s not that your content is boring, it’s just not relevant to your subscribers. This happens a lot when you have different types of audiences subscribed to your email list.

    • Good chance that you’re content is supreme, but you maybe failing in other points mentioned. Could be a relevant problem as you say, if that’s the case, they’re not going to stick anyway. But keep going, you’re tribe is coming together. I’d rather have 10 in unity, than 100 that have no idea what’s going on. Thanks for commenting Barbara.

  5. Great post, I definitely have deleted so many emails that are just all pictures and advertisements, so many people could use this advice. Thanks for sharing….

  6. I appreciate #2 so much more these days. Last week I went with 300 words, felt much better than a 1500 word masterpiece which people are not much interested in. Power tips!

    • Ryan, I think truly it’s good to have a high word count in blogs, but as for email you’re wasting your time really.

      But as for the blogging world, it all depends on your style. I think solution should trump word count, but if you consider the search engines, 500+ is best.

  7. I find grouping my email list helpful. This way you can send specific content to the correct target market.
    Great post…will be referring to it again.

  8. I am confused! Email marketing vs Social Networking. What do you think?

    • Email for sure Sahith. Social Networks are good, but email is better. Why? Emails are precious these days and aren’t handed out like candy anymore. It has more demand now. Not so much traffic to compete with if you ever get on the inside. Know what I mean?

  9. Hi Darren

    Good point you made there. Even gurus are making the mistakes of writing spammy emails. They are desperate. All they talk about is promoting one products after each another.

    They are a few exception though? They do promote quality informations for free and i think it should be that way. The more quality informations that provide to the list will definitely build the relationship and that is more important then anything else.

    That’s my two cents.

  10. I so agree with number 4. I have actually un-subscribed from a few email because of that. I don’t like being sold to. What I want first and foremost is a relationship then you can sell to me. I’m only a beginner blogger and I’m so thankful for this because I know exactly what to do [and what not to] now.

  11. I’m surprised that “consistency” isn’t here as a reason. My biggest problem with a lot of email marketing campaigns is a lack of consistency. Breaking consistency for me is a big killer in my wanting to stay subscribed any longer.

  12. Thank you for this article! Great advices! Especially advice 7!

  13. It takes a patient blogger to know the right time to sell to his subscribers but most times the urge to meet our targets blinds us from realising that our subscribers are first looking for real value “that can come free” but are able to pay for it where impossible. Having said this, I realise that when I give away some free products a few days before “selling”, I convert more. I don’t know if it works for everyone but I have seen that it works for me.

  14. The point 6 you have mentioned is very important, I think if we can write engaging content and quality content in email the chances of our email getting opened up will be very higher.

  15. I think links everywhere is what would make the email open rate be a nosediving thing – and why spam people anyway with so many links? Why not give them content that they will appreciate and come back to you blog?

  16. The main reasons for me the lack of personal connection.Another one is the way to long and that makes sense and room for being boring.Great post.

    • Finding your voice is important James. When does this happen? Some sooner than others, but one thing is the same for all who find their voice. They’re determined. Keep it up James.

  17. good tips, i would look to implement it for myself…
    specifically the 3rd one.
    you have no idea how many emails like that i used to get all full of links it looks like someone is pushing you a product so you will buy it but really they are just lowering the chances of me even reading it..

    thanks for a good post!

  18. To me, the most important point is the personal connection. We should all strive for that and write more personal emails. This takes time but only by writing and writing in a consistent way you get to it.
    On a side note, I don’t mind salesy emails from time to time if in general the content I get from the blogger is good and adds value to me :)

    • That’s right Delia. I want the good guys to sell something every now and then too. They got to make money somehow, and they do. With strategy and personality they make it happen, making more than before. Very good point friend!

  19. In previous years, the reasons cited for the open rate decline were image blocking, increased use of smart phones and list fatigue.i think these factors continue to adversely affect email open rates, another element influencing open rates is the increasingly large volume of emails that subscribers regularly receive.

  20. Clear-cut and direct to the point email message with precise information is I believe will work. Epic message will pilot the reader close the tab and run off the thread.

    I will put off the 1st number. The upshot is a sluggish loading time and I know you yourself to extreme dislike it.

    Agreeable list to wrap it up!

    I found this post shared on Kingged.com, the Internet marketing social networking site, and I “kingged” it and left this comment.

  21. GREAT article thanks so much. I’ve found writing as if I’m chatting to a personal friend really works for me. I love writing that way and I’m obviously attracting subscribers who resonate with my style. Good point about the links though. I have tended to add perhaps a few too many in my enthusiasm so will deliver the info differently from now on.

    Thanks again, loads of value once again.

  22. I have alot of spam in my inbox and when I look at it, most of it is covered with images like you said. This is the kind of stuff that I have COMPLETELY halted in my email marketing career.

  23. May be our emails won’t be working overtime after this post.

  24. Instead of writing to your readers, write to your reader specifically. Pretend that you’re writing to one of your readers, and let them feel that one-on-one connection.

  25. Thanks for the article.
    Could be pretty difficult to have a >30% open rate, so it’s important increase the quality of the mailings and working hard on this 8 points.

  26. Your blog is very nice, thank you for sharing useful information was

  27. Usually more email subscribers would mean more traffic. Right? Well, not anymore.
    Bloggers are facing diving open rates today like never before. Small bloggers and the celebrity bloggers alike suffer.
    But why??
    #4 point i am going to follow it.

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