7 Ways to Know You're Sending Marketing Emails to People Who Might Read Them

The unhappy truth is that most email pitches are ignored most of the time, but there is much you can do to improve your odds.

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By John Boitnott

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Email connects you with your customers, giving you a direct line of communication that can make a big difference in conversion. As consumers have become more sophisticated, however, it's becoming increasingly difficult for marketing messages to get through. Emails are being read on smartphones while on the go, with people often skimming past the vast majority of messages to open the few that stand out.

Related: The Ultimate Email Marketing Strategy for a Small Business in 7 Steps

Even once a message is opened, a marketer has only a few seconds to grab a consumer. There are a few things you can do as a busy professional to connect with your customers in email. Essentially, you have to treat your inbox similarly to how a salesperson treats his or her leads. By following these tips, you'll make the best use of your email marketing efforts and enjoy more productive campaigns.

1. Segment your market

One blanket email to everyone on your contact list is no longer sufficient. Your email connects with each contact in a different way and your marketing efforts should take advantage of that. Email campaign specialist Benchmark recommends dividing your list into four separate groups: the responders, the new subscribers, the openers and the deadbeats. Each of those four groups will need to be worked differently before you can get the desired results.

2. Build a relationship

Customers prefer interacting with a human being to a faceless company representative. Send your messages from one individual at your company who your customers can get to know over time. Make sure the email is addressed to recipients by name. This will foster an environment of personalization that will lead the customer to react more warmly to your company.

3. Write subject lines that sell

With users scrolling quickly through emails on mobile devices, it's more important than ever that your subject lines stand out. There are several different directions for you to go, but it's best to establish your own style. Many marketers find that an email is most likely to connect with customers if it directly addresses their own interests. Whether this is a coupon or newsy wording depends on what your analytics uncover about your own customer base and when they most likely will open your emails.

Related: How Effective Is Your E-Newsletter?

4. Timing is everything

A study from Experian Marketing Services found that the best open rates for email are between the hours of 8 pm and midnight. Weekends also have a high open rate and the lowest email volume. By adjusting the timing of your emails, you may be able to reach customers who might have otherwise skimmed past your email altogether.

5. Use split testing

Through A/B testing, you'll be able to learn specifics on the techniques that work and don't work. You can use this popular marketing technique to experiment with different types of subject lines or sending during different times of the day, among other items. Tools like MailChimp can walk you through the steps of launching a successful split testing campaign.

6. Be polite

Once you start collecting email addresses, it's important that you handle those addresses responsibly. Try to limit the number of emails you blast to your email lists and always include opt out information at the bottom of your emails. This will help ensure your emails are (at least mostly) going out to those who will read it, rather than a list filled with people who hit the "trash" icon when they see it coming through.

7. Personalize

Amazon is an example of a company that uses data analytics to craft emails that are targeted to users based on their purchase history. While your small business may not be prepared to generate such intensive reports and connect them directly with your email marketing efforts, you can personalize your emails to a certain degree. Tools like HubSpot offer companies the ability to segment bulk emails using hundreds of different criteria. The app even lets businesses change an email's contents based on recipients' past behavior, including images, texts and click-through actions.

Your email marketing campaigns provide a great opportunity for you to reach out to your customers. It's important to learn as much as possible about your customer base to make sure your emails are not only being opened, but leading to action from recipients. When your customers see that you're interested in their own interests, they'll be more likely to not only read your messages, but purchase from your business.

Related: The 3 Types of Marketing Emails That Nobody Has Opened in Years

John Boitnott

Entrepreneur Leadership Network VIP

Journalist, Digital Media Consultant and Investor

John Boitnott is a longtime digital media consultant and journalist living in San Francisco. He's written for Venturebeat, USA Today and FastCompany.

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