Curious about what doesn’t click with your audience? Uncover the subtle cues and preferences that shape your audience’s engagement. We analyzed 80 emails to turn our least popular emails into powerful lessons, and valuable insights for your future communication strategies.
Analyzing your lowest-opened email headers provides insight into what your audience dislikes and what makes them ignore your email or unsubscribe.
Here are our lowest-opened emails from 2023, from a data set of 80 emails.
Set Your Standard Of Excellence
It’s important to note that our personal lowest email open rate is still over double the industry standard. These emails averaged over 50% open rate, which in 2020, was our best open rate. So technically, even our worst results are great. But because at Create Business Academy we pursue creative excellence, we are most interested in continual improvement and raising our standards.
And despite these headers having lower open rates, it’s notable that four of them had some of our highest click-through rates to links inside, suggesting that while the headers might not have initially grabbed attention, the content was still valuable or engaging to those who did open them. So while the initial appeal of the subject line is crucial, the content’s quality and relevance are also key factors in engaging your audience.
Disliked for Possible Misinterpretation: The play on words here might have been misinterpreted or considered inappropriate by some, leading to high unsubscribes.
(We also have a blog post about this, called Size Matters: Maximize Your Impact On Social Media about sizing your Instagram posts for impact.)
Disliked theme in a word: Innuendo
The Shocking Connection between the Size of Your Dream and Your Success – You Don’t Want to Miss This!
Disinterest in Over-Hyped Content: This header might come off as overly sensational or clichéd, which could turn off readers looking for more substance or authenticity.
Disliked theme in a word: Hyperbole
Lack of Personal Connection or Relevance: A simple greeting from a location may not provide enough context or value to pique interest, especially if the location isn’t relevant to the reader.
Disliked theme in a word: Travel – which is in direct conflict with one of our most opened email headers Hello from London! 🇬🇧 (did you miss me?) So we’ll unpack contradictions next.
Confusion or Repetition: Similar to the first email, this subject might be confusing or seen as repetitive, especially if the content isn’t immediately clear from the header.
It’s the THIRD time we used “size” in an email header!
Disliked theme in a word: Contradiction
Perceived as Too Personal or Off-Topic: This might be seen as too personal or unrelated.
Disliked theme in a word: Departure (and it’s similar to the travel theme so we’ll combine that in the next section.)
Vague or Generic Message: The phrase “trust the process” is quite generic and may not resonate or seem actionable to readers.
Disliked theme in a word: Generic
Unclear or Vauge in a Non-Engaging Way: While mystery can be engaging, this might be too vague or abstract to grab attention.
Disliked theme in a word: Vauge
Seen as Clickbait or Overpromising: Readers might perceive this as clickbait or doubt the legitimacy of the “simple trick.”
This low-performing email is what made us reevaluate our emailer’s name “Playdate” and change it to “Illuminate.”
Disliked theme in a word: Overpromising
Lack of Context or Specific Appeal: Without additional context, it’s unclear what this email offers, making it less compelling.
Disliked theme in a word: Brevity
Irrelevance or Disbelief in the Topic: We know our audience does love AI, so it’s possibly the word “robot” that was irrelevant or the fact that there is a robot revolution happening.
Disliked theme in a word: Futurism (this is the second contradiction as some of the most opened email headers include: Take The Quiz: AI and You and Meet the world’s first AI Podcast Host 🤖 & get Productivity Plug-ins! So we will unpack next.)
How can some of your best headers also relate to some of your worst? We have two clear contractions with travel and futurism. The nuance is what makes all the difference.
In, The robot revolution is here🤖 💥- here’s what it means for you versus Take The Quiz: AI and You and Meet the world’s first AI Podcast Host 🤖 & get Productivity Plug-ins! – the second two most popular emails were more specific and offered a quiz, podcast, and plug-ins.
Our audience favors themes that offer engagement, forward-thinking perspectives, and personal connection, as opposed to emails with themes perceived as less substantive or overly sensational. Your audience probably does too!
Vagueness | Irrelevance | Repetition
We combined all our audience’s dislikes into 3 main themes so that we don’t repeat our failures for our 2024 email strategy.
Gain Deeper Insights Into Your Audience Preferences Through Their Dislikes
Understanding what your audience dislikes provides additional insights into why they prefer certain other emails and reveals more about their personalities:
Preference for Clarity and Specificity: The dislike for vagueness suggests that our audience values clear, specific, and direct communication. They likely prefer emails that get straight to the point or that clearly outline what they can expect. This preference indicates a practical, no-nonsense attitude where they value their time and want to know exactly what they’re getting.
Desire for Relevant and Practical Content: The fact that you didn’t engage well with emails perceived as irrelevant highlights their desire for content that is immediately applicable and relevant to their lives. You’re focused individuals who are keen on applying what you learn to their personal or professional lives.
Appreciation for Freshness and Originality: The aversion to repetition indicates a preference for new, innovative, and original content. You are intellectually curious, always seeking to learn something new or gain fresh perspectives. You get easily bored with repetitive themes and look for content that constantly evolves and keeps you engaged.
Interest in Personal Development and Growth: Given your positive response to themes like Innovation, Foresight, and Personalization, and your dislike for less tangible or overly broad themes, it’s clear that you have a strong interest in personal development, self-improvement, and staying ahead in your field. This reflects an ambitious, growth-oriented mindset.
Valuing Authenticity and Substance: Your disinterest in hyperbolic and sensational content indicates a preference for authenticity and substance. You’re critical of content and can discern between what is genuinely valuable and what is fluff or clickbait.
Understanding that you have a strong desire for personal and professional growth made us change our tagline to Your future is bright – weekly insights into work and well-being.
Apply These Insights To Avoid Mistakes.
These insights can be directly appliedtoo what to avoid in your 2024 email strategy.
X14 Best Email Headings For +50% Open Rate (for how we’ve improved since 2022!)
BONUS: To Audit Or Not To Audit?
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