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Brooke Furry

Email Marketing Essentials: A Checklist for Writing Emails That Get Opened

By Brooke Furry     Email Marketing, Online Marketing

Email Marketing Tips

Note from Lee: It is with great joy that I get to  introduce new TopRank Marketers to our readers here at Online Marketing Blog. Ever since Brooke Furry joined our team, she has been opening up smiles on the people around her. Turns out, she’s pretty good at getting people to open emails too.  Please welcome Brooke as a contributor to Online Marketing Blog! 

If an email arrives in Judy’s inbox and she never opens it, was it worth the send?

Email Marketing is all about the open. Digital marketers who throw their hearts and souls into creating email campaigns with real personality and value know that regular, consistent email campaigns can accomplish great things. But even if you’re sending something you think your target audience will love, who’s going to know, care, or click if you can’t get them to open it?

Unlike the latest social media tactic du jour, email marketing is nothing new.  For over 30 years when the first emails arrived in an inbox, brand emails have had to combat everything from message size limits to spam filters to the Gmail message categories of today. But it’s not time to throw a funeral for email marketing. It’s time to get out the whiteboard and start strategizing.

Marketers seek leads and conversions – and if the statistics don’t lie, the ROI on email marketing for B2B and B2C companies is one of the best. According to an Econsultancy article, half of all businesses achieve over 10% of their sales through email marketing. As Hubspot reports, 91% of people check their email every day. Email marketing may not be snazzy or new, but it works.

If email marketing is so successful, what’s the challenge? The issue is that nearly 2 billion non-spam emails being sent every day, and inboxes are cluttered. In order to reach email marketing success, marketers need to break through the noise and filters.

So what’s the secret to get those emails from cyberspace to your customers’ inboxes with high odds for an open? Here are 6 email marketing tips to make your investment worth the send.

Build a reputation for really helpful, valuable emails

It’s hard to land that one-in-a-million emotional concept that will floor your audience. Many email marketers struggle to come up with campaigns that will resonate with their customers for just that reason – they think they haven’t hit “The Big Idea” that will work yet.

But you don’t have to dangle pictures of golden retriever puppies or offers for free coffee in order to get opens. That may work for pet stores and cafes – but many brands just don’t do warm fuzzies or coupons. If you’re worried about bombarding your customer base with emails that seem too salesy, don’t be salesy! Start by delivering helpful, valuable information. You can:

  • Conduct a survey and offer to share the results
  • Share top blog posts or articles from your website
  • Give your audience a free preview of a new whitepaper or ebook

You know more than anyone else what your target audience needs to hear. If you live by this concept every time you send an email, your audience will begin to trust that you don’t want to waste their time – and that you actually have something important to say.

Promise something specific in the subject line – and deliver

The subject matters. Litmus reported that nearly a third of people will decide to open or not based on the subject line alone. Why are you emailing these people? Don’t mess with your email recipients. Although creativity can be appreciated, the subject line is no place to play around. Be clear about the purpose and scope of the email. Don’t risk confusing your audience with wordy titles.

In fact,  a recent study by MarketingProfs showed that 6-10 word subject lines yielded the highest open rates, despite over half of all emails containing subject lines of 11-15 words.

So be concise and clear, and, in the words of John Mayer, just “say what you need to say.”

Craft to-the-point summary pre-header text

Whether your recipients use Gmail or the mail application on their iPhone, the first line of the email will show up to preview the contents. Many marketers go with the  “Can’t see this email? View it online” text.  Don’t. As Pamella Neely at Web Marketing Today points out, you can use this scant 50-character space to give recipients one more reason to open your email. If you can get them wanting to finish just one sentence – the first! – then there’s a good chance you’ll achieve that coveted open.

Make sure it appears nice on mobile

More email is read on mobile devices than on desktops, according to Litmus. Will your email display well? If your recipients have opened your email in the past and been unimpresed, don’t expect them to try again in good faith. Deliver emails that look good no matter the device.

Test timing and wording as much as you tweak visual design

While many marketers report spending more time on design than on testing and optimization, the fact remains: nobody will care what it looks like if they don’t open it. Conduct A/B testing on your subject lines. Send emails at different times to test effectiveness.

Studies show that smartphone users are grabbing their phones immediately in the morning – will sending emails bright and early work for your audience? Mid-morning may work better for emails that people have to engage with, like a survey or questionnaire.

Try to avoid weekends. Weekdays tend to be more effective times to deliver emails.

Climb into your own inbox

What kind of subject line, intro text, and email copy do you tend to pay attention to, and what do you tend to ignore? Create the kind of emails that you would open yourself. If you wouldn’t open it, why should anyone else?

Try increasing your open rates by paying more attention to these 6 areas. Through time, effort, and testing, you can increase those open rates to attract, engage and convert your subscribers into buyers. When people actually open your emails, you have won a moment where someone is listening – and in a busy, cluttered world, that privilege is valuable, indeed!

What tactics have you used to increase your email open rates?

Photo: Shutterstock


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