How to Write Strong Emails That Actually Get Opened

December 6, 2015

2:00 pm

Email marketing remains one of the most powerful ways to reach your target audience. If you’re selling a product on Amazon, your email list is your only defense should Amazon decide to close its doors one day. These are your most loyal fans, and it’s also why it takes so long to build an effective list.

Engaging with your list on a regular basis will keep your customers interested in you. However, open rates aren’t high. If we look at statistics provided by email marketing platform MailChimp, they state that those in industries as wide ranging as construction and gambling can expect open rates of less than 25 percent.

Whether your email is opened or not depends entirely on what you write and how you write it. Here are some tips for how to write strong emails that actually are opened.

Treat Everyone Like an Individual

When you have a large list, it’s easy to sink into the habit of treating everyone as if they’re part of a huge group. If people on your list don’t feel like individuals, your personal development advice just became a little less personal.

Never make it obvious that you’re writing an email to an entire list. Think about what’s interesting to the single person not what’s interesting to your list as a whole.

Avoid Junk Like the Plague

According to The Times, an estimated 12 billion pieces of junk mail are dropped through letterboxes every year. What does this have to do with email you ask? It’s an example of why we have hardened so much to junk mail.

Never send junk mail to your list. The definition of ‘junk’ is anything that you’ve said before and anything that doesn’t provide comprehensive and concrete value.

Email regularly, but don’t email unless you have something to say. Nothing will win you an ‘unsubscribe’ point faster.

Provide a Reward

As already mentioned, open rates are generally below 25 percent for most industries. Most people subscribe and never engage with what they receive. They’re essentially dead numbers. It’s your job to give them a reason to open an email.

Offer some sort of a reward. It enhances the value of what you’re getting. It also promotes loyalty between sender (that’s you) and the reader. What you offer depends on your industry and what you believe your readers will respond to.

Here’s a bonus tip: consider promising a series of rewards over an email chain of about a week. It will give readers a reason to keep clicking, as well as getting them into the habit of opening your emails when they see them.

Be Consistent

Every so often, you’ll need something from your readers. The most common type of need is a sales email. You shouldn’t expect a positive response if the only time you get in touch is to sell something. Maintain a constant presence by sending things that are valuable to readers.

Avoid the hard sell where possible. Nine out of ten emails shouldn’t have mention of any sales or products. This is how to gain a place in your readers’ hearts.

Be Straight

Great email marketing is about honesty. Emails from strangers are notorious for raising suspicions. Get off on the right foot from the beginning by following through on your promises. If you say to someone they will get free content, give them that free content.

Let them know how often they can expect an email from you, what they will contain, and what your intentions are. Don’t get cute with soft and hard sells.

Utilize Power Words

Marketing is about grabbing the person’s attention. Make sure your emails are opened by using a series of power words within your subject lines. These power words make it easier to stand out from the crowd. Remember, you could be competing for their attentions with twenty other companies.

So what makes a good power word?

  • Sensory words;
  • Action verbs; and
  • Emotional phrases.

You’ll have to carry out split testing to find the right words for your readership. What engages one set of readers won’t engage another set of readers. A/B testing allows you to see what’s working and what isn’t.

When using power words, though, don’t serve up a platter of verbal explosions. Sometimes less is more.

Don’t Be So Clever

Readers have a limited attention span. They aren’t going to sit down and read a 1000-word riddle unless you happen to be Donald Trump, and even then some of them might think twice about it.

They want to get to the meat of your message within ten seconds. If they have to decipher emails that have been crafted to be clever, they’re going to stop reading. It may seem like a good idea on paper, but the reality is simple it is going to give you better results.

To connect with your readers, you have to talk to them in a language they can understand.

Get It in the Right Format

Did you know that 45 percent of all email clicks now come from mobile devices?

This number is expected to rise well into the near future. Email marketers can no longer afford to ignore mobile email marketing. You need to optimize your communications to suit these devices.

Bigger Font – Mobile screens remain a mere fraction of the size of their desktop counterparts. What looks okay on a desktop looks tiny on a mobile screen. Use larger fonts for your emails.

Simple Content – Mobile content works better when it’s simple and short. Every single email you write should include these attributes, even for desktop users. Only use images and videos when necessary.

Single Column – Mobile-friendly emails must use the single column style to make everything easier to read. Navigation bars should have extra-large buttons to make it easier for fingers to tap.

Thankfully, popular email marketing platforms like MailChimp now enable you to check what your email looks like on a mobile device. Prior to sending out your mail, you can compare how it looks on a desktop and a mobile device.

 

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Victoria Heckstall is a professional writer who specializes in internet marketing and business topics.

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