RAAK_Blog-Header_ Emailmarketing

Why aren’t people opening my emails?

Well, maybe they are, you just don’t know it... yet. Email marketing is a process which, in its still very brief history, has overcome many obstacles. But what hasn’t changed over the years, is the advertiser’s primary goal: getting the email opened and read.

But before we get into it, we just want to clarify some things:

When is an email considered as ‘opened’ by an ESP?
When you download the images.

Does that also mean that they actually read my email?
Could be. A lot of email clients now download images by default. Resulting in a higher opened rate. Chances are they deleted it without even skimming the email.

But what about people who read the email, but don’t download the images? 
These aren’t tracked. Unless they click on a link, it won’t be considered as an open. The Apple Watch for instance, is a great new example. It only supports text, but must generate a click before an email is tracked as ‘opened’.

Now it is that last bit that deserves your attention. A message doesn’t necessarily get lost if images aren’t downloaded. People can still be encouraged to take action. That’s why it’s very important to optimize your emails for ‘images-off’ viewing. Try to make sure your emails are easily readable, scanable and actionable - even with the images switched off. 

Here are a few examples:

background-image-email-marketingGreat… more work. OK, that may be true, but there are a few quick wins that you can apply. They might already make a difference.

1. Recognition
Use a clear ‘from’ name and ‘from’ email address. This way, your contacts will immediately see that the email is coming from you. (‘Do not reply’ is NEVER a good idea!)

2. Urgency in subject line:
We’ve addressed this in our CTA blog a few weeks ago. Your subject line is the first and probably most important CTA of your email. Creating a sense of urgency might trigger people to open the email.

3. (Styled) Alt text & background colors:
Be creative with the alt tags of your images. They too can provide solace to fill in the blanks of your design. (But keep in mind that this is not supported by all email clients).

4. Frequency
Ask yourself how often your audience wants to hear from you. Or you could let your contacts decide about the frequency…

5. Timing
While you’re at it, why not ask your audience when they want to hear from you? After all, not everybody opens their emails on a Thursday morning.

6. Preheader
Use the preheader of your email to make your subject line stronger.


Blocked images remains one of the largest challenges we face as email marketers. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still be creative, convincing and, most importantly, stand out. Test your emails both with ‘images-on’ and ‘images-off’ mode. And remember to always put the most important information right up front. It will pay off.

Posted on
Apr 30, 2015