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One Obvious Reason No One is Opening Your Marketing Emails

March 16th, 2017 | 3 min read

By Darin "Doc" Berntson

One Obvious Reason No One is Opening Your Marketing Emails

What awesome offer do you have to share via email marketing today?

It doesn't matter what your offer is!

Just before I finalized this post, I remembered "The Rock", and his crazy catchphrases from the WWE in the late 1990s - early 2000s. He would ask some jabroni "What's your name?" or he would interrupt immediately with "It doesn't matter what your name is"

Well, let's bring out The Rock and have him ask you,  what do you think about your marketing emails?


it doesn't matter.png

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the most wonderful offer in your industry, a spectacular, cutting-edge website, and compelling, relatable email content. You could have the best inbound marketing team in the world working for you (hint hint) at their maximum capacity, or a state-of-the-art email marketing system.

All of it can be debunked by one, simple element.

Drumroll, please…

Your marketing emails subject lines.

That’s right. It’s not your marketing budget, how many times you send, or the number of fancy degrees your marketing consultant has. HubSpot reports that one-third of all email recipients decide whether they will open an email from the subject alone.

Despite this, so many marketers neglect their subject lines. They spend hours creating a layout, writing a persuasive email, and segmenting their list, only to throw in a subject line as an afterthought right before scheduling or sending their campaigns.

Don’t do this. Instead, follow these tips on email subject lines to make sure your emails give a great first impression and inspire your recipients to open them, not move them to the trash.

Be upfront

You’ve probably experienced a less-than-honest subject line before. These subject lines claim they’ll revolutionize your work, help you become a millionaire, and make you the toast of the office… then you open the email and the sender is selling a pen, a keyboard, or copy paper.

Not only will deceptive emails not help you sell more, but they’ll also probably annoy your recipients enough to unsubscribe, report you as spam, or at the very least, stop paying attention to future messages. It’s okay to play up the benefits of your offering and present an ideal, best-case scenario, but your subject line shouldn’t make it seem like your product is the second coming.

Stand out from competitors

Stand out and distinguish yourself with your email marketing

In every industry, trends in email marketing emerge rather quickly. Take health and fitness for example. You’ve probably seen lots of messages promising to help you lose weight, build muscle, finally get in shape, uphold your New Year’s Resolution, and so on.

After you’ve identified these trends, the next step is to buck them. Distinguish yourself from others in your field by offering something different. Continuing the example above, instead of playing up fat loss and muscle gain, you might talk about the confidence you’ll have after working out, or the improvement in sleep that comes with regular exercise. If you think creatively, you can find at least a few of these lesser-known benefits to include in your subject lines – they’ll get people’s attention, which is an important part of getting them to open your email.

Add a time limit

Urgency is one of the most powerful drivers of human action. When we know something will be around forever, there’s no incentive to move quickly; but put a time limit on that special discount or unique training, and all of a sudden you make people think. Fear of missing out is a very real thing.

If you’re running a contest, offer, or promotion that has a limited timeframe, tell people about it in your subject. Even if they ultimately decide they don’t need it, by adding urgency you’ve at least made them consciously think about your offer and make a decision. Occupying the mind of your recipient is the first step to getting them to open and engage with your emails.

Pay attention to segments

As the old saying goes, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Today’s marketers might have a lot more trash than treasure, but that’s a conversation for another day.

Pay attention to your email marketing segments

The point is, what’s valuable for one part of your list might do little to nothing for another part. If you sell some services directly to B2B companies and some services to agencies or other resellers, why would you think both audiences would be inspired by the same subject line? Even if you have a small list or your target audiences aren’t as neatly divided, there are plenty of ways you can segment your contacts. Remember to A/B test subject lines for different segments, which will help you discover the best ones for each part of your list.

You should be putting some thought and energy into your email subjects, but don’t over-complicate them. With a unique, compelling value statement designed for a specific recipient, you can harness the power of your subject lines to take your email marketing to a new level of success.

Until next time...


Darin "Doc" Berntson

Owner/Head Coach @ Bernco Media. Digital sales & marketing since 1997. Passion for teaching companies to be the most trusted voice in their space. They Ask, You Answer Certified Coach & HubSpot Certified Partner & Trainer. Reversed Type 2 Diabetes doing KETO. Wears Mickey Mouse Daily. Daydreaming of next Disneyland Trip.