It’s a question that I have to deal with all too often. When it comes to open rates, there’s a huge variety of reasons why they could be declining. Many people are inclined to treat the symptoms of a declining open rate (change subject lines, provide more engaging content, etc.) but they never actually find the underlying reason.
That’s why Root Cause Analysis is so important when it comes to email.
More often than not, marketers will ask “why” but they will not continue to ask it over and over again.
Open rate decline can be a blaring symptom for a bigger problem within your email program. IP reputation, deliverability issues, spam scores, and missing email authentication integrations can all be the root behind the decrease in open rate.
When you see declining open rates over time, it’s important to ask these questions to get to the root cause:
- When did the decline originally occur and were there other changes made during this time?
- When was the last time the health of your email program was evaluated?
- Why did people stop opening the emails?
Past that, looking at the three basic causes can help formulate answers as well:
- Physical causes: Are your emails not actually making it to the inbox? Are you getting spammed box? Is your reputation being damaged by the people you are sending to?
- Human causes: Are people just not interested in your emails? Is it purely a content issue?
- Organizational causes: Is your company not supporting email? Is there enough technical support for the email program?
In order for open rate to increase, you cannot just send an email with a catchy subject line and expect the same results every time. It is crucial instead to fix the underlying issue to prevent a decline in the future.