7 Reasons People Aren’t Engaging With Your Emails And What To Do About It

Building Relationships / September 4, 2019 / Kristie

You have an email list and you want to start leveraging it for email marketing as you know email marketing can be a very cost effective-way to drive new business. The problem is, you’re not getting much engagement with your email campaigns.

You’re sending a lot of emails but you’re not quite sure why you’re getting a low response rate or click-through rate. Before you abandon email marketing, try a few of these techniques that we’ve experimented with over the years that have proven to drive results.

why no one is engaging with your emails

Benefits of Email Marketing

Email marketing is a great way to nurture leads into customers, drive repeat business, drive referrals, and overall spread more awareness about your small business. With an average of 3800% ROI this makes email marketing a very cost-effective and compelling marketing technique to grow your business.

Struggling to get engagement

There are a number of reasons that may be causing you to have a low response rate or low click-through rate. Through years of reading about marketing techniques, influencing techniques, and copywriting techniques, there are a number of mistakes I realized we were making. You might also be making these mistakes in your email campaigns that are causing you to generate low results and low ROI on your email efforts. 

Here are some common mistakes that we made, that you might also be making, and what you can do to correct course on your email marketing campaigns so you can increase your response rate and/or click-through rate. 

1. Making it all about you

A common mistake people make when writing email campaigns is focusing too much on you and your business. The truth is people don’t care about your business or your services or products. They just care about what you can do for THEM. 

Focus your email campaigns on what you can do for your audience. To do this, write out and answer the following questions:

  • Who is your target customer?
  • What do they care about?
  • What problems do they have that you can solve for them?

Don’t try to address all the things your target buyer cares about or all their pain points. Focus first on one very specific and problem and use case that your service or product does an exceptional job at solving. Focus on the problem that’s so painful they’re willing to throw money at to solve it. That’s how you stand out in the sea of email that’s flooding their inbox everyday. 

If you’re not sure how to answer the above questions, start by asking your best clients:

  • What are the biggest problems or sticking points they had that they hired your company to solve for them?
  • What results do they want to achieve? 
  • ex. if you’re a financial advisor, talk about how you can help people achieve their financial goals. If you’re a consultant, focus on the business problems you’ll help them overcome 

2. Focusing on logic

Often times we try to appeal to someone’s logical side of their brain. We explain why our product or service is a must-have for them and why they should choose us. The problem is people don’t make decisions based on logic alone.

Your audience are people and people have emotions. We have thoughts, feelings, and we make a lot of decisions based on impulse or deep-seated beliefs. 

We believe we’re the type of person that cares about the planet so we’ll pay more and buy something eco-friendly.

Or we feel we’re special and different, so we support brands that make us feel special, important, or unique.

Or we want to fit in, so we support brands that make us feel like we’re part of a group, a tribe of others like us with the same beliefs.  

If you want people to engage with your emails, focus on appealing to their emotions. 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does my ideal customer care about?
  • What beliefs does do they have?
  • What kind of group, feeling, or movement do they want to be a part of?

Once you have a strong understanding of what your reader cares about and the beliefs they have, appeal to your audience’s emotions through storytelling. Tell a story that shows you understand their needs, problems, and what they want and tie in how you can help them achieve that narrative.

3. Writing like a robot 

Far too often I see (and have even written) emails that look like they were written by a robot. The email is cold, factual, and very corporate sounding. Maybe that’s fine if you’re a stodgy corporate company, but if you want your small business to feel friendly, approachable, and inviting, your writing needs to have a friendly, approachable, and inviting tone.

To write more like a human, try to write more like how you talk. Use contractions, simple language, and simple sentence structures to make it easier to read and understand. 

Rather than writing an email like it’s going out to 1000 people, write it as if you’re sending it to one person. How would you write it if you’re talking to one person?

Try incorporating thought-provoking questions that make the email more engaging. Start your email by asking a question that relates to the pain points or problem that you can solve for them. 

4. Not having a clear call-to-action 

Chances are you’re not sending out an email campaign for the sake of it. You want to accomplish something with it, so what is that?

Whatever it is, make that clear. Your call-to-action should be focused and concise.

What’s the point of your email? What do you want the reader to do?

If you want them to reply back, say that at the end of the email.

If you want them to click a link and register for an event, make that clear and add a button that’s obvious for them to click.

If you want them to contact you, make that clear. 

Trying to generate referrals? Make it clear what you want the reader to do. Do you want them to reply back with the name of someone who could benefit from your services? Say that.

5. Making it too long

People are busy. They get a lot of emails and they don’t have time to read through every word of each one. For your email to be compelling and get the point across, make it concise. 

For example, you could lead with a thought-provoking question that relates to a problem they have that you can solve. Then write a short paragraph telling a story about someone with that same problem and how it made them feel, then share the results you helped them achieve. Focus on how it made them feel and how they, too, can feel this same way and be part of this group of people that care about this specific problem that you can solve.  Then finish with a sentence or two about what you want them to do – fill out this form, reply to the email, click the link – whatever it is you want them to do.

6. Sending it at the wrong time

When it comes to email, timing can make a big difference. We’ve learned through trial and error that there are specific days of the week and times of day that work best for increasing the open-rate and click-through rates of our emails.

For us, our audience are small business owners. So Mondays are usually quite busy for them as they’re catching up on email from the weekend and planning out their week. Fridays are also busy as they’re trying to wrap-up things before the weekend. And weekends they don’t check their email as often.

Through experimentation, we found that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon are best for engagement.

What works for you may be different because it depends on your audience. Experiment by sending campaigns on various days and time of day to see what works best for you.

7. Not making it personal

When it comes to email marketing, don’t try to use a one-size-fits-all approach. Make your email personal. Don’t just blast your entire mailing list – segment your list to make your email campaigns more targeted.

There are a number of ways you can segment your email list to make your campaign more targeted. 

For example, targeting people that were interested in a specific service you offer, people that had a specific use-case or problem to solve, segmenting by industry, company size, location, etc.  How you segment your email list all depends on your audience and your business.

By segmenting your email list, you can then make the email itself more specific and talk directly to that group of people that share something in common.

Daylite Tip: You can group contacts together in Daylite for targeted email campaigns using the Filter feature. You can save these lists as Smart Lists and then send out email campaigns using Email Templates in Daylite. You can even pull details from Contacts such as their company name, industry, etc using merge tags. Check out these steps for How To Segment Your Contact List and these steps for How To Keep In Touch With Email Campaigns.


Email marketing can be a great tool for nurturing leads and driving new business when used effectively. If you’ve been making any of these above mistakes with your email campaigns, try these techniques to get your email marketing game on track and driving results.

About the author:
Kristie Holden is an online marketing consultant. She helps startups get more leads by clarifying their message and creating a marketing strategy to attract and convert their ideal client. Connect with her on Instagram.

Leave a Comment

Join 38,877 subscribers making clients happy and growing their business.