7 Reasons People Don’t Open Your Newsletter

Alex AWS Articles Templates
Content marketer Cat Johnson shares 7 common reasons why subscribers aren’t reading your newsletters, and how to put it right.
  • Is your newsletter struggling with low open rates?
  • It could be too cluttered, too promotional, or too stuffy – but the good news is, these problems are easy to fix.
  • Content marketer Cat Johnson shares 7 common reasons why subscribers aren’t reading your newsletters, and how to put it right.

See if this sounds familiar: You feel pressure to send out a newsletter for your space but, aside from a listing of your (now almost non-existent) events and any announcements about holiday hours, you have no idea what to include.

So you round up some odds and ends, try to say something witty, hit publish and hope for the best.

But when you look at your open rate (if you even track newsletter metrics), it’s hovering in the teens with a near-zero click-through rate, and little-to-no organic engagement via reply emails or calls.

You have a problem.

Here are seven reasons people don’t open your flex space newsletter.

1. It’s Boring

Your newsletter might be boring.


If the writing is dry, information is bland and content is lacking, people have no reason to open or read it.

Take a clear-eyed look at your last few emails. Would you read them? Would you share them? Is there anything of interest in them? How can you liven things up? Test new approaches and don’t worry about getting it wrong because, frankly, you’re not getting it right just yet.

2. It’s Irrelevant

You’re busy, I’m busy, your members are busy.

Your newsletter needs to be directly meaningful to the people you’re sending it to. Otherwise, why would they open and read it? If your newsletter isn’t relevant, they won’t.

Make sure you understand exactly who is on your list and why.

3. It’s Cluttered

If opening your newsletter is an exercise in visual overload, people will quickly bounce away and probably unsubscribe. Your newsletter should be lean, clean and easy to navigate.

Don’t try to razzle dazzle people with your newsletter. Focus on clearly conveying information and resources.

4. It’s Overly Promotional

If the only time you send out a newsletter is when you have an office available or are running a special on virtual mailboxes, you don’t have a newsletter—you have a sales email. Which is fine, but understand the difference between the two.

5. No Value for Readers

Do you focus on providing value in your newsletter? One of the most common mistakes I see is that people make their newsletter all about them.

The Latest News
Delivered To Your Inbox

    But it’s not about you, it’s about your readers.

    Make sure you consistently provide value in the form of information, resources, education, inspiration or entertainment to the people opening your newsletter.

    There’s no better way to get (and keep) your audience engaged.

    6. It Feels Stuffy

    In school we’re all taught to take an academic tone in our writing; to flex our expertise; to demonstrate just how smart we are.

    I’m here to tell you, forget all that.


    No one wants to read a newsletter written from on-high. We want human-scale language, tone and vibe. Even the biggest, smartest brands in the world focus on making human connection through their copy—not impressing anyone with their technical chops.

    7. Lack of Consistency

    As with all content, you have to be consistent in order to be successful.

    Your newsletter should not be a maybe-I’ll-get-to-it kind of thing that you dust off once a quarter. Stay in regular contact with your people. Aim for once-a-month at least and, ideally, once a week.

    Reimagine Your Newsletter

    If your newsletter is boring, stuffy, or just something to mark off your todo list, it’s time to reimagine it.

    Spend some time to consider what you send, why, and where you’re getting hung-up. If your newsletter has fallen off the todo list, why is that? Where’s the problem? Is it a lack of strategy? A strain on resources or team bandwidth? Is it a confusing mess?

    There’s room for improvement in everyone’s newsletter—maybe, especially, yours. And I write that with total confidence that you can create a great one.

    Your newsletter can be a driver of leads, it can be a brand strengthening machine, and it can be a hub of inspiration and information for your community and audience.

    But you have to treat it as the powerful marketing tool it is.

    Start with the basics. Align your newsletter with your audience. Take a service mindset. Remember, it is not about you, it’s about them. Keep the focus on the people who have given you permission to email them regularly and you’ll be well on your way.Next step: Join me on March 17 for this month’s group coaching session: How to Create a Newsletter Your Members will Love.

    Share this article