You've been working on it all week. You thought about it when you woke up in the morning. You poured your heart into it. You edited it until it was perfect. You had your team read it to make sure it really popped. Now is the time. Your perfect email is ready to go out, and you've been working hard to grow your mailing list, so you know that all of this hard work is going to be worth it. A week later you check in with your analytics and see that the vast majority of your readers never even opened your email.
That's right. All of your hard work went straight to the virtual junk pile.
You're not alone in your frustration. In fact, the open rate for emails overall is only around 25%, and for B2B retail sectors, the rate drops to around 18%. The hard truth is that the majority of emails are never read.
Viewing the World Through the Reader's Eyes
When you think about it from the perspective of the recipient, the low open rate makes sense. Readers are getting multiple emails a day, and they often turn to their inbox when they have only brief moments to check in before returning to more pressing matters. In order to understand how to write an email that will get opened, it's worth it to consider what your email likely looks like to your reader.
Many readers are going to glance at your subject line and make an instant decision on whether to delete your email or keep it around.
If your reader has heard from you frequently and you aren't really offering anything new, your presence in their inbox might become a burden.
You know the value that opened emails bring to you, but in order to get them opened in the first place, you have to think about the value they bring to the reader.
Write Emails that Get Opened
With the reader's experience in mind, it's time to think about what revisions you can make to your emails to get the open rate up.
Craft Catchy Subject Lines
Your subject line should contain two elements: the content and the purpose. It should also be short. Find a way to get your ideas across in no more than 6 or 7 words. Spend time on the subject line. In fact, you may start with a subject line to help you think of how to hone the content of your email to meet the specific purpose you've created.
Provide Something of Value
No one wants to open their email just to find ads. They are bombarded with ads all day long on their social media feeds, on billboards, on television. Instead, provide something of value. Coupons that are exclusively available to email recipients are a good way to build a valuable relationship. Information that can't be found elsewhere is also a worthwhile use of your readers' time.
Ask for Action
Email is a form of communication, and communication works best when it is bidirectional. Use this opportunity to ask for action from your readers. Maybe that means signing up for a newsletter or getting on the wait list for a new e-book. Maybe that means sending feedback on a survey. Maybe that means joining your Facebook community. Whatever the case, give the readers a call to action that they can capitalise on right away.
You have lots of great information to share, and you are excited about what you have to offer. It makes sense that you would want to send emails out often, but keep in mind that your readers are inundated with calls upon their attention. Pace your email delivery rate. At the same time, pace the content itself. You don't have to fit everything into a single email. Keep the topic focused and specific so that you are providing readers with a quick way to take in information that will matter to them.
Choose Email Services Wisely
Sometimes the problem isn't with what you have written at all. If you are using an email service that has gotten a bad reputation, your thoughtfully written emails may be going to the junk folder before your readers ever even see them!
Create and Maintain Your Contact List with Care
Another risk of getting sent to the junk pile comes when you have purchased a list that is unclean and triggers spam filters. This can also happen if your own list isn't updated and scrubbed regularly. Remember that your contact list is a valuable asset and treat it with care.
You've got the information to make a great email, and taking some time to craft it in a way that will add value to your readers' lives will ensure that all your hard work is rewarded.
Now it's time to get writing!