Here’s Why Your Emails Aren’t Getting Clicks (5 Mistakes)

Sending a marketing email is like asking for a date…

If your date doesn’t show up to the restaurant, then what’s the point? You’re just left with a broken heart.

The point of a marketing email is to get your readers to show up to the restaurant, i.e., your sales page. That means you need to get them to click the darn link. And I’m going to show you how.

Now, I know how frustrating it can be when you put a lot of time, energy, and money into your emails only to see a paltry return on your investment.

When your audience isn’t clicking, your email marketing isn’t working. And when your email marketing isn’t working, you’re missing out on your best opportunity to convert leads to paying customers and increase the lifetime value of your current customers.

Consider this, for example: email beats social by 40x for customer acquisition

Yes, email marketing could be the difference between your business thriving and your business folding, so it’s vital to get this right.

Here are 5 common mistakes and how to fix them:

1. Trying to Sell the Offer in the Email

I don’t know about you, but I hate those movie trailers that give away the entire movie plot. Why see the movie if you’re going to tell me the whole plot up front? Good movie trailers tease and make you wonder. They make you want to see the movie.

Similarly, many brands make their marketing email a mini-version of their sales page. They “give it all away” in the email, just like the trailer gives away the movie plot.

They’re trying to sell the product or service in the email itself. But the email is almost never the place for that.

Again, the purpose of a marketing email is to get them to click. The email should generate enough attention and interest to compel them to click (or tap) through to the sales page.

Here’s how to fix this: 

Stop selling the offer in the email. Sell the click instead. Generate enough curiosity about the offer to entice a click. 

For example, if I sell home security systems, instead of the CTA (call to action) “Buy ABC security system now,” maybe I make my CTA something like, “See why most security systems don’t really keep you safe (and what hundreds of responsible homeowners are turning to instead).” 

Which would you rather click? 

2. Making It All About the Brand

Ever open an email and see a bunch of stuff about the company … how great they are, all their product features, and all that? 


You have to make your email all about your audience. Their concerns, their problems, their needs. Human beings are self-focused, after all.

Yeah, I get it: you want to show credibility. Credibility is important. But before credibility is even an issue, you have to resonate with your readers first

And that’s not going to happen if they have to read through a bunch of stuff about your company. They want to read about themselves.

Here’s how to fix this:

Focus on the reader’s concerns, first and foremost. Leave it to the sales page to talk in-depth about your credibility. Also, personalize your emails. Address your reader by first name if at all possible.

3. They’re Hard to Read

Some emails are just plain hard to read. Blocky text … too many design elements … and long sentences.

The number one rule with a marketing email is the question, “Will people actually want to read this?” 

In this day and age, people receive thousands of emails, all vying for their attention. And people’s attention spans are shorter than ever, with the advent of cell phones and dopamine scrolling.

If your email looks challenging to read, people aren’t going to read it, and thus they aren’t going to click.

Here’s how to fix this:

Shorten your paragraphs. You can even test making most of your paragraphs just a single sentence. And shorten at least some of your sentences. Or use subheadings that break up the text. That makes emails much easier to read and more inviting. Less intimidating.

Also, experiment with simpler email templates. You may find you get more clicks the fewer images you put in your emails. In fact, HubSpot found this to be the case after analyzing half a billion marketing emails. Even a single image lowered the click rate.

4. Your CTA Has ADHD

Imagine you’re lost on some country road, and you ask a guy in overalls for directions back to the highway.

He tells you, “Well, you could go down this road about 5 miles, then turn left. Or you could go down that road over there for about 5 miles and turn right. Or you could keep going straight and then go across the bridge.”

You’d be confused as all hell. Just so, brands often make the mistake of linking to several different destinations in their emails…

One CTA might tell them to check out this one product over here … another might tell them to check out this other product over there. Yet another might tell them to check out the testimonials.

But that’s too much stuff going on for a single email. Don’t replicate the big retailers trying to mimic a shopping experience in-store. You need focus.

Here’s how to fix this:

There doesn’t necessarily have to be just one CTA, but, usually, you should direct your audience to just one page. That lets you focus on the primary problem your audience faces, avoids confusing them, and points them in the right direction.

5. You’re Sending the Same Emails to Everybody

People on your list have very different levels of awareness of your brand and its offers…

Some are customers. Some are just prospects. Some have visited your website but not your product pages; others have visited your product pages but didn’t order anything. And so on.

So you can’t speak to everyone in the exact same way. You have to adjust your messaging.

Here’s how to fix this:

Segmenting your list lets you speak to your audience in a way that better reflects their actual experience with you. And segmenting enables you to provide more targeted offers. 

Go into your email marketing program and segment your list. At the very least, you should have one segment comprising all your customers and one that’s just for leads. From now on, send distinct emails dedicated to each segment.

Email click rates are just the tip of the iceberg. When you fix even one or two of these mistakes, you’ll see not only your click rates rise but your revenue as well. Try it and see.

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