Why Prospects Don’t Read Your Emails: An Open Letter to The People Mass Emailing Me

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Dear Email Marketer

Thanks for your email.

Even though I’m not responding with a personalized message, I just want you to imagine me, a fellow salesperson and marketer, and I want you to know that I feel your pain.

I have my laptop and a cup of coffee and I’m in my office with five tabs open in Chrome. I’m burning holes through my Gmail trying to do my own prospecting and get better at it. Just like you, I have a business to run and quotas to hit.

But in the process of running my business, I needed a laser focus on what really matters.

Why Relevance Is Essential To Email Marketing

It means if email doesn’t scream, “Look how relevant I am! I’ve solved all your problems!” it goes in Trash. Which is what your other prospects are doing, too. (I know I’m not the only one, because open rates hover near the 22.86 percent mark for email marketing across every industry, according to GetResponse.)

So here’s what happens to unsolicited email that doesn’t deliver immediate value.

My iPhone makes so much noise I’ve learned to ignore incoming email until it’s all in a nice little digital pile. Then once or twice a day I glance at it, trying out Jedi mind tricks to send it away. It gets sorted and color-coded, or “marked as Read.” And then if I don’t use it now, I’ll probably never read it again.

I don’t know how many emails there are, and the Inbox numbers look something like Martian characters, because that’s how much time I have to pay attention to those things.  

Trust me, you don’t want prospects to glaze over your emails. Help me help you help me. Revamp your pitch and go get those sales goals.



A busy copywriter (and an email marketer just like you!)

A lot of email–if it were all written on sticky notes.

FAQ: Why I’m Not Responding To Your Email

Why Aren’t You Replying to My Emails?

You want to know the real reason? I’m not replying to your marketing email because I’m writing marketing emails myself, right now.

Do you want to get my attention? Find a problem I have, and show me how you will solve it. Take it off my plate.

But I Already Explained How My Services Can Help. With Nifty Bullets and Everything.

Thanks for sending me an offer for your services.

It’s possible that I don’t need help right now, but it’s more likely I just didn’t feel compelled to buy. So I became unresponsive.

Truthfully, I probably do need your service. If that’s the case, maybe you need to work on your value proposition. You need to take your service/product and link it back to one of my urgent needs.

To do this, maybe you should get to know me better.

Use Personas with Email Marketing

In other words, learn to think like your customer. Find a pain point, a goal, or find some way to help me picture how it solves one of my problems.

For instance, if I were a SaaS marketing manager, I might want to raise my company’s profile so more potential customers are aware of my software’s existence. Software is a competitive world, so setting my company apart feels really urgent. Let’s imagine the marketplace for my product is getting really competitive and I’m starting to feel pressure from sales. How can you solve my problem?

If you come in with on-point, thoughtful ideas that show you don’t need a lot of hand-holding and you’re ready to contribute to my organization, I might think, “Hey, maybe this person can solve my problem. I’m too busy to provide direction, but this person knows what they’re doing.”

More mail than we know what to do with.

I Hit Reply and Sent You Another Email. Didn’t That Get Your Attention?

It did, just like other gimmicks and tricks email marketers use these days. But strategies designed to increase the number of email opens don’t necessarily convert.

Your response rate matters, too. According to Moz, the best way to boost that reply rate is to focus on value. Speak to your prospect, customize the messaging, and personalize it.

Don’t forget the person behind that inbox.

And if you want to know when someone’s opened your email, there actually is a way to do so. By using an email tracker, you’ll know almost instantly if someone’s actually opening and reading your messages. That way, you only engage with prospects who are (at least moderately) interested. The folks at Hunter, for instance, have developed a free MailTracker tool. You can find out more about it here.