Do your open rates kind of suck? They’re not as high as they used to be and the more you email, the more they seem to sink. What’s happening?! 

Today we’re going to go over 4 reasons why your open rates suck and what you can do about it.

There are a lot of common reasons why your open rates might drop, but the good news is with some patience, some time, and some smart strategies you can get those open rates back up. 

Let’s just jump in and talk about a few reasons why your open rates may be tanking.

#1: Your subscribers aren’t seeing your emails

This could be a deliverability problem — either they’re not ending up in the inbox at all or when they are getting to the inbox they’re ending up in spam. If your emails are ending up in spam, there’s a good chance that even your most loyal subscribers are not seeing them.

There are a lot of reasons why this can happen. One could be maybe you haven’t provided a really clear way for people to unsubscribe. If people are seeing your emails and they don’t want them anymore, they’re just hitting spam as a way to get off your list.

This will also happen if you haven’t emailed your list in a really long time. As you’re sending emails again, people are seeing you and they don’t remember you. They don’t remember how they got on your email list and they don’t remember signing up. So they think, “Hey, this person is sending me unwanted emails — spam.”

There are definitely some ways you can mitigate this problem. If you’re wondering if your emails

ending up in spam, the first step that you can do is go to This is an email tool that will help you test your emails. You can send a test email to them and they will give you a report and tell you whether they are reading that as a spam email or not.

Another way you can proactively prevent this starting from the beginning of your relationship with subscribers is to ask subscribers to whitelist your emails. This is just telling them to let their inbox know that they want to hear from you. It’s a great way to get subscribers from the beginning marking you as an okay sender.

#2: Your emails aren’t easy to read

If your formatting isn’t mobile responsive, if you are using tons of giant images that take forever to load, if there’s something in the design or template or formatting of your email that just looks wonky on someone’s email client, they’re probably not going to spend the time to try and decipher what you’re saying.

They’ll probably learn after a few times that these emails are not worth reading. They’ll either unsubscribe or they’ll just stop looking at them.

When you’re designing your emails, laying out the formatting, and testing them, make sure you’re looking at them on different types of email clients.

Check it on your phone. Check it out in Gmail. Check it on a different email service. Check your emails in as many formats as you can to make sure that it is displaying properly and that your message is easy for people to read and understand.

#3: Your list quality is low

If you have a low quality list, that’s going to affect your open rates. There’s a couple of factors that go into this: how you built the list and the age of the list.

Look at how you’ve built your list. Did you buy subscribers? Hopefully not, but even if you’re not buying subscribers, there are different ways of building a list that can affect the quality overall of the list.

For example, if you are part of a bundle, roundup, summit, or something where someone signs up for the list for some specific event or type of thing that’s a little different from what you normally do. If it’s not tied in closely enough or you don’t have the re-engagement after it to keep those subscribers interested in your normal type of content, you can have a bunch of new subscribers come onto your list that are just not very engaged after the fact.

Think about how you grew the list and if it’s possible that there are people on the list that maybe didn’t understand what they were getting into when they signed up. 

The other thing is the age of the list. How old are those subscribers on your list? Are you continually refreshing the list with new subscribers? Has your growth kind of stagnated?

There’s naturally going to be less interaction and more turnover as your list ages, which is one reason why you want to engage new subscribers right away to start that relationship off on the right foot and build that long-term relationship.

But just know that it’s totally natural for people to become less interested the longer they’re on your list. It doesn’t say anything about you and it doesn’t mean that it’ll be all your subscribers, but it’s totally natural that a portion of your subscribers will end up like that.

So what can you do about this? My best suggestion is to clean your list regularly.

You want to make sure that the people on your list actually want to keep hearing from you. If someone hasn’t been engaging for a while, it’s time to check in on them and see if maybe it’s time to move them off your list.

#4: Your email frequency 

Your email frequency can impact your open rates. If you’re on either end of the spectrum, either you’re emailing a lot or you haven’t been emailing at all.

If you’re emailing a lot (like during a launch) and you’ve been emailing your list a lot more than normal, you may have been burning out your subscribers. They can be especially burned out if the stuff that you’re sending is not relevant to them. If they saw the beginning of your launch and weren’t interested, but you just kept emailing them, they’ll start tuning you out. 

So when you are looking at emailing a lot more often during a launch or you’re just trying to up your email frequency, consider segmenting your list.

For a launch, this might mean creating a launch interest list to gauge people’s interest in an offer before you even start sending the emails.

Or if you want to send it to a general launch list, you can give people an option to opt out of the launch so that they’re not getting bombarded with emails over the next week.

You can also do this in your welcome sequence. You can send an email that asks people to self segment —  basically, click the links that describes what they’re interested in. You can tag them so you’ll know who to follow up with and who you can leave out when you’re sending that email. 

The other end of this extreme is if you have not been emailing your list at all. If you haven’t emailed for a long time, you’ll definitely see it reflected in your open rates.

If you’re starting to email your list again after a long break, a good strategy is to send a re-engagement campaign. You can use several emails to build that familiarity again and get some of those cold subscribers that haven’t heard from you in a while to warm back up and start reading your emails again.

Those are just four tips for improving your open rates. If you want even more help with your open rates, download my Open Rate Booster Checklist. In the checklist, I share 5 more tips for improving your open rates so you can get even more of your subscribers opening reading and clicking on your emails. 

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