This is a contribution by Tammi Metzler.

You’ve put in the work to create a stellar opt-in and are starting the see the fruits of your efforts, in the form of newsletter subscribers signing up for your mailing list. Yippee!

It’s a good feeling, knowing that folks care enough to join your world … until you notice your email subscribers ignoring what you’re sending to them.

Low open rates are so discouraging! No one’s opening your emails or reading the articles you took such care to write … which means they’re also not clicking the links, signing up for your free webinars, buying your products, and enrolling in your group programs.

Really, they’re not doing much of anything.

All that hard work spent crafting the right emails gone down the drain… can you relate?

Are Your Email Subscribers Ignoring You … Or Just Busy?

The good news is that it’s probably not you that your email subscribers are ignoring (they were interested enough to join your list in the first place, after all).

They’re just busy.

Busy running businesses, growing careers, nurturing relationships, raising children, managing finances, among all of the other numerous demands many of us face on a daily basis.

Really, what it all boils down to is this simple number: one hundred and twenty.

That’s the average number of emails that research company Radicati Group estimated flow into each email inbox in a given day.

And when the recent study by ABC News found that the average person could open, read, and respond to about 50 emails per day, max…that leaves about 70 emails (on the low end) that don’t get opened, read, or acted upon.

As a business owner seeking to connect with your growing community, this means that your job is to make your email get noticed above roughly 120 others.


That’s a tall order for one tiny little email.

All is not lost, however. You can greatly improve the chances of getting your emails noticed by avoiding the 5 main reasons for subscribers ignoring emails.

5 Reasons Your Email Subscribers Are Ignoring You ... And What You Can Do To Fix It! | Practical Solutions

Reason #1: The subject line doesn’t grab their attention

Your subject line has a big job to do: It has to spark enough curiosity in email-skimming readers to encourage them to give your email the time of day.

Some of the most powerful subject lines are those that speak to readers’ wants and desires.

If you can inspire readers to finally go after that goal they’ve been wanting to achieve (but previously lacked the know-how or courage to get started), you could have a winner on your hands.

Here are a few examples:

  • Free training shows you how to learn guitar in 7 days
  • Here’s how you can finally write your book, [First Name]
  • Land your next promotion with these 3 steps

Alternatively, you can promise them a juicy story inside your email, which typically takes the form of a client case study or even the tale of how you solved a challenge that plagued you.

For example:

  • How this small business owner gained 6 new clients in just 1 week
  • How 1 simple technique helped Steve overcome his debilitating shyness
  • How I shed 10 pounds in 2 weeks (without starving myself)

Notice how many of these subject lines cut the vague and get specific. There’s power in specificity, too.

Typically, low open rates and appearances of subscribers ignoring emails should first be addressed by assessing your subject lines. Depending on which email marketing automation tool you’re using, you can get this data quite easily (compare CRMs here).

Reason #2: Your email doesn’t get to the point quickly enough

We’ve already talked about how busy your readers are. While there might be a time and a place for writing a lengthy introduction—especially if you can do so in an intriguing way that gets them stoked about the subject of your email—for the most part, it’s better to cut straight to the chase.

Are you writing to welcome them to your mailing list? Invite them to a free training? Introduce a new product, program, or service?

Get to the point quickly. Then you can use the rest of your email to dive deeper into the specifics (or, better yet, give them the link to your awesome opt-in page and let it do the “selling” for you).

I’m writing today to invite you to my brand-new free webinar next week called 3 Steps to Winning Website Copy…

Click to get the abandoned cart email template

Reason #3: Readers don’t have a compelling reason to respond

Once you have their attention with an awesome subject line and introduction, the next step is to give readers a compelling reason to respond to your email.

One way to do this is to use bullet points to list out the benefits they’ll receive when they take action, whether that means joining your new webinar, watching your new video blog, registering in your program, etc.

To give a compelling reason to respond, you can also work in an aspect of urgency to help readers avoid putting action off for later (which for many of us boils down to never).

Example: If your webinar is taking place today, let them know that they only have X hours left to register. Sometimes all it takes is a deadline to help get readers off the fence.

For obvious reasons, be sure to avoid false urgency or scarcity, such as by saying a discount is ending soon when you have no intention of raising the price … I know you wouldn’t do such a thing, but it needs to be said.

Reason #4: Readers don’t know HOW to respond

If the open rates are fine but you still see your email subscribers ignoring your products, there’s a simple and effective sales element you can utilize: asking for the response you want from readers.

Do readers need to fill in a form to register for your free event? Do they need to visit a certain page on your website to complete a survey about potential new training topics?

Don’t be afraid to tell them exactly how to respond, or chances are they won’t respond at all.

Here are a few examples:

  • Click here to start your survey now.
  • Reserve your spot at
  • Click here to download your gift.

Might sound simple, but, again, readers are too busy to try and find your hidden meaning. Tell them exactly how to respond, and those who are interested will be more likely to take action.

Reason #5: Your email lacks personality

Most of us don’t want to read emails that sound like they were written by a machine, or that feel like they were meant for someone else. The two easy fixes for email subscribers ignoring your lackluster content actually go hand in hand:

  1. Let your unique personality shine through
  2. Write as if you’re writing to a friend

The best way to let your personality shine through is to imagine that you’re writing to a good friend who needs the information or solution you’re sharing.

Feel the excitement of knowing that you’re pointing your friend in the right direction of resources that will help lead to the reaching of goals and resolving of conflicts.

Of course, you want to stay in your comfort zone. You might feel completely comfortable dropping profanities with friends but feel they’re out of place in your professional emails. Or maybe not; there are some in the business world whose uncensored cursing has become part of their business brand to set them apart from others. Whatever floats your boat.

The real importance here lies in staying true to yourself and your brand.

When you join the mailing list of David’s Bridal, their welcome email simply states: Thank you for making David’s Bridal part of your big day. Our goal is to help you discover the gown of your dreams in our ever-changing collections.

With this simple yet elegant message, they stay true to their upscale image while still giving new readers warm fuzzies.

Another clothing retailer, Nasty Gal, has a more cutting-edge approach and uses bright colors and bold statements to welcome new users.

Stay true to you and you’ll not only lose site of email subscribers ignoring you … but you’ll also have a thriving community of like-minded readers who love you and your emails.

Lastly, stop worrying about the outcome for you (ie. gaining sales) and start focusing more on the outcome for your reader (ie. how great it will feel to finally get past a difficult obstacle or reach a lifelong goal). As Zig Ziglar said, “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.”

When you write from the heart—and for your readers’ benefit—they’ll be more likely to trust you and respond accordingly.

Looking For More Help Writing Emails that Get Noticed?

Writing an eye-catching subject line—while arguably the most important component of emails that don’t get ignored—is one of those tasks that typically falls into the “easier said than done” category. At least, it used to be.

To help you breeze past that challenge of seeing your email subscribers ignoring you, I put together a cheat sheet of effective subject lines—101 of them in all­—that you can choose from anytime you have a new email to write. You can download your free 101 Subject Lines report here, if you’d like!

More About The Author

Tammi Metzler - email subscribers ignoring youTammi Metzler, founder of The Write Associate, is a self-professed “word geek” who loves finding just the right words to get readers fired up.

Since 2008, she’s helped hundreds of small business owners translate their unique passions & expertise into copy that inspires readers to respond favorably.

Tammi provides fill-in-the-blanks templates to help clients easily write compelling copy for their website, promotional emails, social media updates, and other online marketing.


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