In Market Like You Mean It, marketing expert Al Lautenslager explains how you can engage your customers, create brand believers and gain fans for everything you sell. In this edited excerpt, the author reveals 13 tactics you can use to craft emails that your target market will want to open and read.
Let's get right to the point: Is anyone today getting too few emails? Bet your answer is no. So the trick is to figure out how the emails you send as a marketer fall into the category of those that get opened and not in the junk, spam or otherwise useless category.
Here's what people really want in their email inbox:
- Timely information
- Reward or benefit for taking quick action
- Useful information
- Personal invitations
- Necessary information
- Fresh news that's helpful and relevant
People also immediately recognize pitchy, spam email subject lines because they tend to contain the following:
- The word free
- "Percent off" special offers
- Subject lines that are too long
- Pleas for help
- Too-good-to-be-true statements
- Bait-and-switch ploys
- Requests for donations
- Anything with an exclamation point
Email subject lines need to attract attention, just like headlines do. The best email subject lines are short, to the point and provide just enough information to lead the reader to want to explore your message further. Trying to stand out in someone's inbox by using splashy or cheesy phrases will invariably result in your email being ignored or deleted.
Consider the following best practices related to email marketing and getting your messages noticed (and eventually opened at a higher rate):
1. Plan your email delivery frequency, but make sure you're consistent, both in what you deliver and how often you send it. If subscribers expect to hear from you every month, send them an email every month. If they expect special offers and news, send them special offers and news. The goal is to engage your audience and condition them to open your emails as they get them.
2. Offer content that is interesting, fresh and relevant. This may sound like a broken record, but for all your marketing messaging, this is truly the best formula for engaging your target market.
3. Avoid spammy subject lines. As noted above, using words like "free" or "X percent off," or anything with an exclamation point screams spam and junk mail to your recipient.
4. Send the email from you--your name--not an impersonal or vague email address. Sending emails from a no-reply address detaches you from the relationship you're trying to build with your target audience.
5. Keep the subject line short and sweet. Don't use the subject line to attempt to convey all your marketing. People who regularly read email messages typically scan the subject line quickly, only seeing the first three to five words, especially if they're using a smartphone or tablet to check email. This means putting the most important part of your subject line at the beginning.
6. The better you can communicate your story in just a few words, the more likely your email will be opened. Think about what would make you open a particular email. On the flip side, what would make you delete an email? Understanding both of these points will provide you with guidance for crafting your subject line.
7. Ask short questions, create a sense of urgency, be outrageous, and make people wonder. Funny works, too! People like inside information, secrets and exclusive information. Communicate those characteristics as appropriate.
8. Write one-to-one. Craft your emails as if you were talking to a friend. Keep your messages conversational and as if it's just you and your recipient communicating. Those receiving your message want to feel as if you're talking directly to them, not the masses. They want to feel as if they're the only one who received the email you sent. Whatever you do, avoid sounding like you're reading from a call center telemarketing script.
9. Send emails when you think your receiver will open them or see them. This is hard to predict, so you may have to check your email analytics or test different days and times to see how timing affects your open rates.
10. Don't overload your emails with lots of corporate-speak or tech talk. Conversation among friends typically doesn't contain these, so don't load up your emails any differently.
11. Keep email messages positive. Information that's useful, interesting, fresh and relevant will also lend itself to creating the best attention-getting subject lines.
12. Don't over-communicate. Only send an email when you have something valuable or helpful for your targets. Your recipient will be looking for benefits that make them smarter, feel better and save them time and money. Write accordingly.
13. Use words that are emotional or are sensory. These attract attention and help your subject lines stand out in crowded inboxes.
Build relationships with your email list. Consistency and relevance will help recipients learn to expect your emails. The techniques listed here and the recognition of your name in the email's "from" field will increase your email open rate.