June 12, 2018

Why you’re seeing a lower email open rate for your newsletters lately

Let me guess: 

You’ve been emailing your list for years now. It was going well.

But suddenly, maybe you shift directions and create a new brand…

Or maybe you change email platforms… or maybe nothing at all, but something changes.

Your email open rate drops. Like, significantly.

This happened to a lot of my colleagues (and myself) over the last 2 years.

People who used to get 30% open rate are now seeing a measly 6-9%. And that’s entrepreneurs who are making six and seven figures in yearly revenue.

I’d also hear this from my clients – like randomly, things are just not working the same.

And if you’ve based your entire business on your list, it can be pretty scary. Like, wtf are you supposed to do now?

So anyway, since I recently talked about this with one of my private clients, I wanted to share a few things that might be causing the drop for you, if you’re dealing with it too.

After all, when you lead your business and share your message and do things in a way that align – you still wanna make sure your people actually GET to see your emails. I mean, they DID sign up for a reason, right?

There are a few reasons for why you might be seeing a lower open rate on your emails:

  1. You’re Getting Stuck in Spam Limbo
  2. Your Content Has Shifted
  3. There’s a Behavioral Change

I wanted to spend some time digging into these three reasons today.

Let’s start with the first:

Reason #1: You’re Getting Stuck in Spam Limbo

Cause before we get into the psychology, we gotta make sure nothing is broken.

And the most common reason why your emails might not be open is that they simply might not be getting delivered! Spam folders, deliverability goes to crap, and emails ending up disappearing into the abyss instead of landing in people’s Primary inboxes. *cue sad violin music*

Here are a few tips to make your emails don’t get stuck in limbo of spam folders:

🔥 1) Use a domain email address.

You already know this, but having a name domain is essential. Get one ASAP if you don’t have one yet (btw, that’s for example yourdomain dot com versus using yahoo or something like that.

You can even have it where it’s a domain name that forwards to your regular Gmail – I did that for the first year of my business before I joined Google Apps. From there, you can join Google Apps for Business so you can have a gmail account with your own domain.

I love it bc I’m a G.Drive fanatic. 🙂

🔥 2) Clean your list.

Make sure you don’t have a bunch of email addresses that don’t work, bounce, or don’t open for a long time. It’s better to have a smaller list that IS engaged, versus a bigger list that is not engaged.

I recently removed so many people from my list, went from 15,000 down to 3,500 over the course of 6 months. My open rate improved, emails get delivered, AND you know who actually give a crap about you 🙂

A lot of people use old addresses they don’t even check, and the more people don’t open the more you deliverability may be affected.

I also use a tool called KLEAN13 which cleans my list from any bad or bot or spam email addresses that can harm my domain and deliverability. (yes, sometimes bots will join your list just to mess your stuff up. Crazy!)

🔥 3) Send good (well-behaved) emails.

Make sure your emails don’t include anything that might flag as spam. A few good rules of thumb for good emails include:

  • having more text than images in the email (spam filters can’t read images and a lot of spammers use just images, if you can’t do it – at least make sure you have a written out plain text version of the email)
  • no spam-flagging words used (these keywords change every so often, but often things like big claims, mentions of promise of income, etc)
  • try not to do a lot of ALL CAPS phrases, overdoing it with exclamation points!!!!! or question marks!?!?!? and stuff like that.

This is a good starter.

But know too, that just because you have these things in place, doesn’t mean you’re magically going to turn a stagnant business into a successful thriving one. It takes more than just a few technical tweaks.

So, let’s dig into the second reason….

Reason #2: Your Content Has Shifted

Cause this sometimes happens without us really realizing it or consciously doing it.

🧐Your content, or how you deliver it, may have shifted.

Let me explain:

When I was starting out my coaching business in 2014, my marketing strategy was very different from what it is now. Namely, when I was starting out I was terrified of making sales and struggled with not wanting to come off as sleazy.

So, I made very little money. 

Anyway, as I worked with coaches and helped my mindset and studied sales, I became better and better and overcame my fears.

Except, being a bit of a black/white person, I swung from one end of the spectrum (just providing value with no paid offers) to the other (emailing mostly about offers and providing much less content just to give value).

Because I grew a list of subscribers who were used to getting free stuff, slowly my open rate began to decrease because my content structure changed.

Did I start making more money? Hell yes. But I also lost people who were only there for the free stuff.

Now, I believe there has to be a balance of the two elements:

  • You have to provide great value, BUT ALSO…
  • You have to SELL and provide OFFERS to buy

You’ve gotta find your mix of how often you share each and how it looks like so you can keep yourself happy AND you can keep your subscribers happy.


But what if you already have a great mix of sales/value in place but yet your open rate remains depressing?

There’s a few other reasons this might be happening:

FIRST…. Let’s get honest for a second:

Have you been emailing your list consistently? Like, not once every few months… but once a week or at LEAST once every two weeks?

Not really? Ok, well it’s likely that a lot of your people have forgotten who you are (sorry) and therefore either stopped opening or began to unsubscribe.

For optimal performance, you want to be emailing your list at least once every 10-14 days (people usually do this way more – like emailing every day. This has to make sense for you and your audience though, don’t just copy what people are doing.)

SECOND…. Have you changed what you talk about lately?

Let’s say you used to talk about weight loss but now you talk about business or spirituality. That’s kind of a big shift and the people who care about one thing might not care about the other.

Any time you make a shift – whether it’s a big one OR a small one – you might lose some people. Your content won’t be as interesting to them. That’s totally ok. But just know that this is another reason.

THIRD…. Have you been emailing boring stuff lately?

Maybe you stopped putting the effort into your emails…

For example, there are many “gurus” who would email out SUPER valuable stuff during their launches but then in-between launches, they email just a few words, or JV promotions, or boring stuff that makes me wanna fall asleep.

That’s a change in content. If you do that and your subscibers noticed, they won’t get as excited about your emails anymore.

This is especially true if your subject lines were SUPER good and got them to click but then the actual content of the email didn’t match the hype.

Your subscribers might not necessarily unsubscribe, they might still like you… but that excitement about you and your stuff might have decreased…

And they might have started to skip over your emails even if your subject lines are really good – because you didn’t deliver in the past.

Ok, that’s a lot.

I have one more, very important, point coming your way. Ready for it? Let’s go.

Reason #3: Subscribers Had a Behavioral Change

This might be one of the most important reasons.

Because it deals with society. And psychology.

You’ve probably heard people say “Email is dead.”

I personally don’t agree. Email is still alive and well when you know how to use it and what to expect. HOWEVER…

The way people USE email has changed a bit.

Let me illustrate this:

Back a few years ago, most of your opens would happen within maybe an hour of sending your email and then dropping to virtually nonexistent opens after that.

Email was the primary way of online communication for people…

You got a new email, you’d get excited and check it right away!

Today – it’s a bit different.

1) While yes, most your opens might still happen in the beginning, many people also won’t open the email until the next day (or the next week).

Everyone and their dog is sending emails, newsletters, and offers nowadays. It’s a lot to handle and as humans, we can’t possibly hold that much information at once.

So we sift through it. Some emails get deleted without being opened. Others sit there, unopened for a few days (or weeks, or months).

I recently had someone reply to an email that I sent them A YEAR AGO. Yes, exactly a year. It was crazy.

This brings me to my next point…

2) We live in a binge society. Instead of taking bite-sized pieces every day, many people prefer to binge on the content all at once.

Think about Netflix or Hulu, I know I barely ever want to start a new TV show unless I know it’s already got a few seasons out that I can watch all at once. I’m a total binger.

People often do the same with emails. I have emails in my inbox unopened right now, that I plan on opening and consuming in the future. It’s been a few months since they came through.

I’m waiting for the right time… LOL. And mind you, a cluttered inbox is NOT my problem. I clean the shit out quickly and the most unopens I usually accumulate at any given time is 3-4 on my primary inbox and 20-25 on my newsletter inbox.

3) Many people, although they might see your name in their inbox pop up, just don’t want to open because of overwhelm (see point #1).

It doesn’t necessarily mean that’s bad. We could say that as long as they see your name in the inbox, you’re doing your job staying top of mind. Obviously, it’d be better if they opened the emails but at least they’re seeing your name.

If they haven’t unsubscribed yet, it means they want to keep seeing it. That counts for something.

4) The communication patterns have changed over the years. While many people still use email as their primary way of communication (It’s still one of my top ones), others shifted to alternative methods.

Messenger, text messaging, Voxer, and other platforms have taken over. We want to know when the other person has seen our message, when they’re writing us back, and doing it quickly.

Messaging is a quick form of communication. It’s closer to how we talk in real life – having a dialogue – than we do with email (which is closer to letter writing).

This is true especially for millennials and gen Z.

If you aren’t supplementing your email communication with other forms of communication that your target audience is using you’re missing out on a big potential opportunity.

Quick thing: I know many people are going nuts over FB messaging and saying that’s better than email. I don’t necessarily agree, as any list you build on borrowed land (like Facebook) is limiting and risky. But supplementing your email efforts with other forms? Totally smart.

I might talk about that another time.

So, as you share your message with the world – we obviously want to make sure the world SEES it, right?

You put the energy and the effort into your amazing content…

It’s only fair you get how it works to communicate with your people.

Yes. Continue to build your list… it’s important, as it’s one of the only assets you own. But also keep in mind how people behave so you don’t have to be disappointed, and instead use it to your advantage.

I still get loads of sales through email. And I imagine I will continue to do so.

Think of this as an advantage – what can you do to beat the system?

I might talk about that later.

For now, if you feel like your marketing results aren’t matching your passion and mission you want to share in the world, there’s gotta be some stuff we shift and optimize.

The best way to approach business growth is to marry the strategy AND the personality to create the most ALIGNED approach that feels right AND creates the impact.

I talk about this stuff with my clients all the time and TINY simple shifts have been responsible for thousands of dollars in revenue.

It’s about knowing what to do and HOW to do it so it fits YOUR business.

So you can create incredible results, such as going from 5 to 6 figures in yearly revenue, creating sold out launches, enrolling dream clients and customers, and finding true fulfillment in your life.

If you’re ready to take massive action and create massive results – we need to talk.

I know marketing can feel overwhelming sometimes, but don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be. We just have to find your flow, simplify that ish, and make it so it feels aligned with your message and personality.

We have to get you clear on your overall strategy, make sure it’s aligned with how you WANT to show up and your vision, and then have the guidance and consistency to have it come through.

Marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. But it should be effective. And it CAN be fun 🙂

If yours isn’t, we’re gonna have to shift that.

If you’re ready to create great growth in your business, whether you’re newer or established, I want to see how I can help.

Schedule a free Breakthrough Call with me or one of our team members and we’ll be able to see what’s going on for you, where you might be stuck, where are your blindspots, and the fastest way to break through to create the exact results you’ve dreamed of.

Click here to schedule your free Breakthrough call now.


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