15 Reasons Why I Didn't Reply to Your Email (& How to Improve)
There's not a great chance that any one person is even going to see your email. A good open rate is only 33%, after all. But let's stay optimistic and assume they opened and read it - they just didn't reply to your email.
Why not? Here are several common reasons why someone might not reply to your email.
1. Do you know how many emails I get every day?
Seriously, do you? The average person gets just short of 90 emails every day (only about 10 of which are spam). Do you know how many emails they send every day? Less than 40.
Keep in mind, this is an average. If you're trying to get in touch with someone who's generally busier or holds a more "important" title, it's going to be more difficult to get a reply.
Would you really expect someone to reply to 90 or more emails every day? Do you know how much time that takes? Don't take their silence too personally.
2. You wrote way too much (TL;DR).
People generally have short attention spans. That's why things like comic strips, GIFs, and Snapchat do so well. In fact, people only spend 15-20 seconds reading an email.
Since the average reader reads 200 words per minute, you've only got 50-65 words to get your message across, or to at least pique their interest. If someone doesn't reply to your email, you probably just need to be more concise.
3. I didn't want to buy anything from you.
Most people aren't looking to buy that one particular product you're selling at that one specific moment when they read your email. If you have any sales experience, you know it's a numbers game.
Rather than getting discouraged when someone doesn't reply to your email, try upping your numbers. Or, maybe people just don't like sales emails. That's why the marketer's battle cry is "Content is king!"
Consumers expect to be given value before they purchase. Instead of asking people to buy first, you might get more people to reply to your email by offering something valuable, like a free ebook or a relevant "fun fact."
4. What you had to say wasn't important to me.
Relevance is a big deal! And frankly, if you're not someone who's trying to give me money, I probably won't care enough to reply to your email.
People typically prioritize family, work (making money), and pleasure. If your email doesn't fall into one of those 3 categories, you're going to have a much more difficult time getting someone to respond.
5. Your email came off rude or blunt.
People have a natural tendency to avoid negativity. And sadly, many sales emails take the approach of "You're doing something wrong; you need my help." Who is that good for?
Your email needs to do two things. It needs to make you seem like a genuinely happy person presenting a great opportunity. And it needs to avoid negative words like "not," "no," "can't," "shouldn't," etc.
Stay away from the negative, and focus on the positive. If you stay more positive, more people will read and engage with what you have to say. That means they'll be more likely to reply to your email, too.
6. Your email sounded like a robot.
Nobody wants to deal with an automated service. If you come across as sounding stiff or too professional, you're going to turn people off.
Not only is it boring to read, it feels automated. People want to talk with humans, not machines!
If you want people to reply to your email, it will help to avoid giving them any hesitancy towards responding - like thinking you're just some automated messenger.
7. Your email sounded like a broken record.
Repetition is your enemy. Nobody has time for that! You need to be concise.
You need to say as much as you can in as few words as possible. If you say "check this out" three times within 200 words, the reader is going to think you're annoying, and probably won't reply to your email.
Instead of harking on an idea or phrase, or on what you think the reader needs to do, give them helpful information as quickly as possible.
8. You asked me to do too many things.
When you ask a person to do multiple things, you're increasing their cognitive load and adding to their to-do list.
A person's working memory usually holds 10-15 seconds worth of information, and they can typically read 200 words per minute (see point 2). That means you have 35-50 words to explain why someone should take that next step.
Keep it simple. Make it easy. If you want someone to reply to your email, don't ask for more than one thing at a time.
9. You didn't ask me to do anything.
People aren't going to do anything without a bit of encouragement. You could have the most well-crafted message in the world, but if you don't provide a call-to-action, it's pointless!
If you don't give the reader the next step, their reaction will be "OK," and they'll move on. What you want is "OK, and now I need to do X."
10. I was busy when I read it, and forgot about it.
How many times has your spouse asked you to do one thing while you were busy doing something else, and then you completely forgot about it?
Even if your message adds value, it's reasonable that someone will forget about it as soon as they click away.
11. I didn't feel like being formal.
Emails tend to be overly "professional" and verbose. It's usually possible to condense the message of a 200-300-word email into the space of a single text. If you want someone to reply to your email, talk to them like a real person.
12. You were trying too hard.
Whether you're conscious of it or not, people are generally great at understanding how you feel through your tone and syntax. If you're trying really hard to get the sale, people can tell.
It's like when you mistakenly answer a sales call. You can tell whether the salesman is nervous about his script or confident in his approach. Similarly, people know when your email isn't written with confidence.
Being apologetic, overly zealous, or too "understanding" of how busy the recipient sends a red flag to readers not to trust you. If they don't trust you, they won't reply to your email.
13. I wasn't the right person to talk to.
If I'm not the person you need to reach, I'm just going to ignore you. If you don't know who to talk to, you probably haven't had any prior contact with our business.
When people read "could you connect me with the right person," they often check out. No one wants to be the messenger introducing a random salesman.
14. I didn't see how responding would benefit me.
What value are you providing? People need to know that interacting with you or responding to your message is going to benefit them in some way.
No one wants to waste their time. If you don't provide an immediately apparent value, no one will reply to your email.
15. It would take too long to reply to your email.
People value their time more than they value anything else. They don't want to waste it on something that won't be helpful.
But people will gladly take time for something that will free up more time for them later. You have to prove that you're worth their time and that you'll be able to give them more of it.
What's the solution?
All in all, people don't enjoy emails like they used to. Emails aren't as bad as voice mail, but people get so many of them every day! Truthfully, if you want to reach more people and get replies more often, you need to text with your prospects.
99% of text messages are read, and they have a 45% average response rate. What would that do for your ratios?
These days, people prefer quick and simple communication. That's why tweets, texts, and social media direct messages have become so popular.
There's always something you can do to improve your emails. But it's safe to say that one reason people didn't reply to your email is simply because you sent an email. Why not try texting?