As an online coach you may hear lots of talk about how important it is to have an email list.

So you go about building an audience through email.

And you’re wondering where the value is. Because people aren’t opening up your emails. They’re not clicking. They’re not replying, and they’re certainly not buying.

Why aren’t people engaging with my emails?

First things first, you need to understand what engagement looks like with your audience to determine if there’s an issue.

Tracking your email engagement metrics is the best way to know what your baseline metrics are.  Then you’ll know if they are improving, declining or remaining stagnant.

If you’ve never tracked your metrics before, research industry standards to understand where you stack up. But don’t get discouraged if your metrics are lower than industry. There’s always room for improvement and once you know your numbers. Then you have data to make better decisions and affirm what is working or not.

How do I track email engagement?

Open rates used to be the standard but the word on the email marketing streets is that number is no longer reliable due to Apple mail privacy protection (open rates may look inflated due to the changes)

So instead, click through rates are now a more useful metric. (Not to be confused with CTOR – click to open rates, which again may not be accurate due to the inaccuracy of the open rates).

You’ll also want to look at unsubscribe rates. Now I say that hesitantly because some people tend to get hung up on unsubscribes. It’s not necessarily a number to “worry” about – but if you notice that you have a substantial uptick in your unsubscribes compared to normal, that’s something you may want to look more deeply into.

Lastly, what you’ll want to look at is actually WHAT you’re email subscribers are clicking ON. What content is catching their interest? What offers are they checking out? Just knowing your numbers isn’t enough – knowing what people are taking action on – is far more valuable!

I can’t stress enough the importance of remembering that the aim of analyzing your numbers (stats) is not to be in competition with others’ numbers but to continually improve on your own. Better numbers indicate better engagement which regardless of industry averages is a good thing where you are concerned.

So now you’ve checked the numbers and have noticed that your engagement is either very low or is going down.

What are some actions you can take right now to improve them?

Deliver content that serves your ideal client.

Not sure what content your email subscribers want to receive? Ask them. Send out an automated email asking for a favor and survey your list on what type of content (both in topic, format, and frequency) that would make a difference for them to receive.

You might be asking yourself, “yeah but if my list already isn’t engaging, why are they gonna respond to a survey?”

Well that could be partially true.

Make sure to use a catchy subject link to improve your open rates, a short but pointed survey that doesn’t take a lot of their time but gets you the answers you want. And if an automated email doesn’t work, post polls in Facebook groups or communities that have your ideal client. Or WAIT FOR IT… Ask your current clients what kind of content would support them and use that as inspiration for the content you send to your email subscribers.


There’s different ways to test out what will be engaging in your email marketing.

You can test different kinds of content, different formats the content can be delivered, and in what contexts. In terms of content, Is your audience responding more to emotionally-driven copy or story-based copy? Are they responding more to quick tips and tricks of the trade?

How about the format? How are you delivering the content? Facebook lives? Long or short static posts? Infographics and quotes? Test out the different formats to deliver your content so you can see what kind of content your audience most engages with.

Testing within context is when you test out your content in cycles, seasonally, certain days or even times of day. It is thinking about where people are at right now in their journey and posting content in context to that. For instance, a spiritual coach may want to test posting around spiritual holidays or spiritual seasons. Or as a personal development coach, you may want to post in those seasons in people’s lives where you know your audience is wanting to have breakthroughs in their personal development.

Most email marketing platforms also have a split testing feature where you can test out different subjects, preview text, copy, formatting or calls to action to determine which get you better results.

Although a lot of things have shifted with email marketing, it’s still an effective way to market and sell your coaching offers. So don’t give up on it if you’re not seeing the engagement that you’d like.

Understand your numbers, have a system in place for tracking, test out improvements, and like everything else in your coaching business – keep going!