4 Reasons Your Emails Go Unanswered

We’ve all had it happen: we spend hours crafting the perfect email, setting up the template, and sending it out to our audience, only to have it fall flat on its face. Nothing is more frustrating than watching an email full of promise sit in your recipient’s inbox, unopened. What’s even more frustrating, in the case of sales, is when an email is read (and even engaged with), but goes unanswered.

While these responses (or lack thereof) may seem inexplicable, chances are high that it’s a simple mistake that’s keeping your email success out of reach. Take a look at the list below to see why your emails might be going unanswered, and don’t forget to check out our Email Deliverability Handbook for even more tips that can help your emails get to their intended destinations.

“Too much, too soon.”

Emails from your sales and marketing teams need to be approached delicately. While it’s tempting to shove as much information as possible into an email for fear of leaving out an important detail, your recipients will be scared away if they opened an email that contains links to three white papers they didn’t ask for — especially if they’re in the beginning stages of talking to your company. Don’t overload your recipients with information right off the bat. Instead, strike a tone that says, “I want to be a helpful resource, but I’ll let you give me some indication of what you want before I starting sending over information.”

“This is clearly a sales email.”

You’ll want to be wary of generic copy that screams, “You’re receiving a mass email from a sales rep!” Failing to personalize your communications, even if only with a first name or a signature from a specific rep, can cause your email to go straight to the “Trash” folder. Today’s recipients are looking for personalized sales experiences from companies, and they’re becoming less and less tolerant of sales and marketing teams that can’t deliver. Try segmenting your email lists by industry, product interest, job title, or another criteria that you can use to personalize your communications — then add a signature, hit send, and see how your engagement levels are impacted.


For those who aren’t familiar with the acronym “TLDR,” it stands for “too long, didn’t read.” Not only are your emails in danger if you send too much information, too soon  — they’re in danger if you send too much information, period. Your email recipients want something that they can skim quickly while still extracting some sort of value. Hiding that value beneath paragraphs of marketing copy takes too much work on their part, so make sure you’re using just as many words as you need to to get your point across, and no more. (This is good news, because it means less work on the part of marketing and sales!)

“I can’t read this on my iPhone.”

The pitfall of many emails is mobile optimization. According to Return Path, 43% of all emails are now being opened via a mobile device, and that number is only going to continue to increase (you can check out more cool email marketing stats in our SlideShare presentation here). If you’re not thinking “mobile first” when it comes to email design, you risk losing a huge chunk of your audience. Work on creating simple, responsive email templates just to get started, then iterate from there.

Avoiding these four, easily-remedied mistakes can have a huge impact on your email open and response rates. What others are we missing? Let us know in the comments!

email deliverability handbook

Image source: Reuters/Ueslei Marcelino