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Why No One is Clicking on Your Marketing Emails

February 18, 2019
By Kirsten Onsgard

email open rateMarketers aren’t just challenged with getting customers to open and read their emails. They need customers to take action with their brand.

That’s why understanding click-through rates are vital to knowing how well you are engaging your customers.

Click-through rates can be abysmally low, but don’t be discouraged.

There are several reasons why a reader might not click on a link on your email:

  • The email is not relevant

  • The copy is impersonal

  • The CTA is tough to find, or there are too many CTAs

  • The offer isn’t enticing to the customer

First, let’s understand what a click-through rate is, and how it differs from open rate.

What is a click-through rate?

An email’s click-through rate is a measure of how many users who were successfully sent an email went on to click a link or call-to-action in your copy.

Marketers can also measure click-to-open-rate, which is a ratio of how many people who opened your email went on to click on a CTA. Click-to-open rates will be far higher than click-through rates because people who opened your email already took the first step toward clicking on an email.

In comparison, open rate only shows how many people opened your email.

That means open rate is generally a measure of your subject line, personalization, data cleanliness and brand authority. Your click-through rate, however, is a measure of whether readers think your content and offerings are useful and relevant.

According to Mailgen, “If the email open rate shows how many think that your email is worth their attention, then the email click-through rate shows whether your email can nudge people into action.”

What is a good click-through rate?

According to MailChimp, the average click-through rate is somewhere in the 2.5% range. Some industries — such as hobbies, media and government — see click-through rates as high as 4.5%. Yup, that’s it.

That said, it’s important to establish benchmarks for your own performance, rather than simply comparing to others in your industry.

Remember: customers get a lot of emails. Their inbox is crowded. Plus, with competition from dozens of other media and advertisements, their attention comes at a premium.

How to improve your click-through rate

First, some tough love. Your customers aren’t opening your emails because they don’t care all that much about them. Period.

You didn’t send them an offer they liked. Your content wasn’t relevant. You came across as spammy and impersonal. And guess what? You do the same thing when you read commercial emails, too.

So what can be done?

Segment your customer database

Segmentation groups together contacts with similar attributes. By segmenting your customer database, you can send these smaller groups content that they, collectively, will find interesting.

Personalize your content

No one likes irrelevant offers from their favorite brand. In the People-Based Marketing era, customers today expect content to be tailored to their wants and needs. That’s why it’s imperative to leverage your data, and supplement your data with third-party customer demographics, to better understand customers and send personalized content and recommendations.

Improve your CTA

Make sure you have a clear CTA so your customers know what you are asking them to do. Consider adding additional links to give customers more opportunity to click.

Cut out irrelevant content

Make sure your email body includes the essentials, such as great creative and copy, but leaves out everything else. Have a clear purpose for your email and make sure all of the elements in your email drive customers to click the CTA, not the back button.

Re-engage customers

Your followers will fall off and your list will degrade. That’s where re-engagement campaigns come in. Give customers a reason to come back (and click on your emails) with an enticing offer. Make sure you are re-engaging the right way with Open Data, which allows you to know which contacts are opening other commercial emails.


Low click-through rates can be frustrating. Luckily, by using the right techniques and right data, it can be solved.

How are you improving your click-through rate?

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