Chances are good that fewer than 15 percent of your list clicked on at least one link in your last email. “Think about that,” says Mark Brownlow in a post at Email Marketing Reports. “We have over 85% of subscribers not clicking on email they explicitly asked to receive. Over 85%. Doesn’t that strike you as odd? A missed opportunity?” The first step in improving that rate, he argues, is to identify the chain of events that have to unfold before a subscriber chooses to clink on a link. Brownlow points to five key factors:

Delivery. This is the first hurdle: if your recipient never gets your email in the first place, she can’t make a decision one way or the other.
Recognition. According to Brownlow, positive memories and associations about your company label your message as “unworthy of instant banishment to the spam or delete folder.”
Pre-interest. Your message itself looks interesting enough to merit further investigation.
Interest. After a more in-depth look at the content, readers want to take further action.
Interaction. They find the right outlets, tools or environment (usually in the form of a call-to-action and link) for follow-through.

Email marketing still works, Brownlow reminds us. The challenge is to optimize its effectiveness. “Imagine how much undiscovered potential still remains, given that we’re only getting clicks from under 15% of the audience for each individual email,” he concludes.

Source: Email Marketing Reports.