Why Is Your Email Marketing Open Rate So Poor?

mailbox abandoned open rate
Is your open rate affected because people have abandoned their mailboxes?

One of the best selling tools you have at your disposal is email marketing. One of the main metrics that companies measure is the open rate of campaigns. A high open rate will often signal a good return on investment. Yet so many small businesses give up on this sales path because they don’t see the results they want.

The open rate is the percentage of your list that has taken the time to read your email. It doesn’t demonstrate how many times each individual has read the email, but some software providers, like Mail Chimp, will offer you that information.

When business leaders see open rates like 15% they tend to panic. For some industries, this is the average open rate. Yet this doesn’t have to be the case. Sometimes these figures can be misleading and your actual open rates are a lot higher.

So what causes this bending of the results and what can you do to make your campaigns more effective?

1. Email Subscribers Have Disappeared

This is not literally the subscriber disappearing, but this is about them changing their email address. This can have a serious impact on your results as if they aren’t checking their emails then your email is literally sitting in their inbox collecting digital dust.

2. Email Server Has Closed The Account

Yahoo and Gmail offer free email accounts to users. They are also likely to close accounts if they detect abuse or have been inactive for a long time. If an account has been closed then your email is never going to land in an inbox, let alone be read. Most email software businesses should let you know when this happens, but when running email campaigns on your own system, you might not get the warning.

The same can be said for corporate accounts. When a person leaves a company, their email account will be suspended.

3. The Subscriber Is Just Deleting Your Emails

There are times when subscribers do sign up for your mailing list and then will decide that they don’t want to read your content. Sometimes these people will not delete your mails, but just ignore them and leave your mails in their inbox.

Still your emails aren’t being read and therefore are going to affect your open rate statistics.

4. They Are A Bot Mail Address

There are those who activate software to sign-up to your mailing lists. This can be really annoying and no email sent to these automated email accounts will be read.

5. They Are Opening Them, But Your System Is Not Recording It

There is another option that they are opening your messages, but your software isn’t recording the open. This can be because they’ve opted to not download the images in the message. This can be very infuriating as you could have a good contact, but you need more information to determine how they are interacting with your email campaigns.

So How Can You Improve Your Open Rate?

The first step is to re-attract the subscribers who aren’t opening your emails. There are many options for this including sending a specific email campaign to these subscribers. This can often be successful, especially if you ask them to confirm by clicking on a link.

After this you should consider removing contacts. While some disagree, the fact remains that sending emails to people who aren’t interacting with your campaigns is useless and costs you. By removing them from your list, you’ll see an instant improvement to your open rate. It will also give you an easier time in analysing your email results campaigns.

When Should You Remove Contacts From Your Subscription List?

You can’t just remove subscribers from your email marketing list for not opening your emails on just one occasion. The reasons for removing them could be complex and take a significant amount of time.

To find out more, read our article here about removing subscribers from your email marketing list.


Your open rate can be improved by looking at your subscribers and seeing why they aren’t interacting with your content anymore. A quick campaign can re-attract them back but in the end you might need to consider removing subscribers from your list.

Do you ever remove subscribers from your list? What are your open rates like?

Let us know in the comments.