Marketing Pulse Blog

5 Reasons Your Email Click-Through Rates are Declining

Email marketing is a key strategy for brands to engage with their audience in a highly personalized way. However, as all of our email inboxes become more crowded, it’s more important than ever for marketers to craft compelling emails that actually engage their audiences. If you’ve noticed a drop in your email click-through rates (CTRs), it could be attributed to one of the following factors:


1. Missing Mobile Optimization

These days, over 40% of emails are viewed on mobile devices, so it’s crucial to ensure that all your brand’s emails are mobile-responsive, or your click-through rates will suffer. This includes adjusting text size for better readability on mobile screens, as well as smartly organizing or hiding Call to Actions (CTAs) and images on mobile viewing to create a seamless user experience across all devices.

Pro Tip: Always use 16px live text for email copy to ensure readability. 


2. Excessive CTA’s

CTAs are essential in all marketing communications, but not all are created equal. Too many can overwhelm readers and lead to fewer clicks. Instead, emails should have a few clear and concise CTAs to entice readers. To determine the most engaging language for your audience, experiment with A/B testing different CTAs, such as “Shop Now” versus “Find Your Favorite” or “Discover More.”

Pro Tip: Use HTML for CTAs instead of images to ensure they display correctly, even when images are blocked.


3. Image-Heavy Content 

While images can make emails more visually appealing, they can also cause problems if the recipient has images blocked. To avoid this, always create your emails with at least 25% of the text as live text within HTML elements. This can improve CTRs, accessibility, and inbox placement. For the live text you do utilize, be sure to use a secure web font to ensure accessibility across devices and browsers.

Pro Tip: For the few images you do choose to incorporate in your emails, ensure they are properly sized between 600-650 pixels and do not exceed 102 KB.


4. A Dirty Database

A well-designed email is only as good as the audience it’s sent to. Regularly cleaning your email subscribers by archiving those who haven’t engaged in the last 360 days is essential, as sending emails to an outdated or unengaged list can significantly reduce CTRs. If you’re not ready to say goodbye to inactive subscribers, consider reactivation or sunset campaigns to re-engage them.

Once your email list is clean, you can create more specialized recipient groups based on a subscriber’s past engagement history. And remember: You should reserve your full recipient list for special promotions and segment it by engagement to send more targeted emails.

Pro Tip: Whenever possible, throttle email sends or use Send Time Optimization (STO) to maximize engagement.


5. Unattractive Subject Lines

Aside from having a clean email list, there is one other thing that can impact CTRs even before recipients open your email: the subject line and preheader. If these elements don’t grab a recipient’s attention, you’re already starting at a disadvantage. Invest time in crafting concise subject lines and preheaders that offer a clear preview of the email’s content while sparking curiosity.

Pro Tip: Consider adjusting your “friendly from” name to enhance trust and recognition. For example, “WITHIN” to “WITHIN Newsletter” or “Old Navy” to “Old Navy Kids” or “Old Navy Sale.”


With 4.6 billion global email users expected by 2025, email marketing is an essential part of your brand’s daily interactions with consumers. To stay ahead of the curve, it’s important to optimize your email strategies to align with evolving customer behaviors and foster engagement in a manner that feels natural and seamless to them.

Contact us to learn how WITHIN can build your brand a personalized email marketing strategy that increases open rates, engagement, and conversions.


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