With so many emails and so little time, it’s virtually impossible to be productive and read every single email in your inbox, so you’re forced to delete some messages without reading them. And those superfluous marketing emails are usually the first things to go.
But if you’re ignoring other companies’ emails, are people doing the same thing to yours? Most signs point to yes. Studies show the average email has an open rate of 20.81%, which means your emails may not get as much love from your subscribers as you’d think.
But just because emails receive fewer views than you’d like doesn’t mean you should kick ’em to the curb. On the contrary, email can be a great asset to your bustling business — you just need to know how to use it.
“Email marketing gives small business owners a pretty special opportunity to communicate with their customers one-to-one, on a mass scale,” explains Katy Mansell-Carter, a copywriter and writing coach in Toronto. “It’s the closest thing to a personal conversation without getting on a call or meeting face-to-face.”
The trick is to create a compelling email that customers will actually want to open. We know what you’re thinking—that sounds great, but where do I even begin? Below are five smart ways to up your email game.
1. Keep it simple.
When it comes to your email’s subject line, less is always more. After all, who has the time or patience to spend several minutes deciphering a subject line before opening the email itself?
For the best results, keep your subject line clear, concise, and on the shorter side.
“Stick to five to seven words for the subject line,” recommends content strategist Rachel Andrea Go. “This keeps things short for the reader and forces you to be a little more creative.”
2. Get digital.
Today, our smartphones are basically extensions of ourselves. We use them to connect with friends on social media, order takeout, and, of course, check our email. So when it comes to designing an awesome email, assume most of your subscribers will be viewing it on their phones.
“Over 70% of folks will delete your email in under three seconds,” Mansell-Carter shares. “It’s a huge deal if they have a bad experience loading your content on their phone.”
Nobody wants to read (and scroll through) a big block of text, so break your prose up into several shorter paragraphs. And as for pictures? Well, use them sparingly and strategically.
“Images take up a lot of real estate, especially on mobile phones,” warns Go. “If you love images, try incorporating text on them.”
Before you hit send, preview it on your own phone to work out any mobile malfunctions.
3. The big picture.
We all have that one company in our inbox that sends us far too many emails. No, we don’t care about your umpteenth sale. No, we don’t care about your new merch. And congratulations but, no, we don’t care about that big feature on that random website we’ve never heard of. More times than not, we get so fed up and unsubscribe.
Learn from others’ mistakes and send out the emails that people really care about.
“You don’t have to share every sale or bit of news happening,” Go explains. “Save that for social media. Emails should cover the big and informative stuff.”
A weekly or monthly cadence is the sweet spot between keeping your business top-of-mind and being in-your-face. Save the rest of the exciting information (Sales! Merch! Press!) for your social media platforms.
4. Raise a question – and answer it.
Okay, if you’re not going to send out a newsletter about every last sale, product launch, or tiny detail, what should you talk about? A good way to get started is to think of a question most of your customers have. Are you opening a physical storefront? Are you changing up your business model? Are you crowdfunding for a new product and need your customers’ help? Committing to one idea not only keeps your email focused, but it also sets a realistic expectation for your readers.
“Plan every email with deliberate intention and ask, ‘What specific action do I want my customer to take as a direct result of reading this email?'” Mansell-Carter recommends. “Tell them exactly what to do and how to do it, whether it’s RSVP-ing to an event or buying something.”
For best results, set up the purpose of the email in the subject line. If you’re feeling adventurous, make the subject line a question that will lure readers into opening.
5. Perfect timing.
Now that you know how to create a compelling, clickable email, it’s time to figure out when to send it out. For Mansell-Carter, the timing of your emails doesn’t just matter –it’s vital.
“Top open rates and successful campaigns belong to business owners who can think like their customers in a detailed and considerate way,” she explains. “When are your customers in front of their inbox and in decision-making mode? What are they thinking, stressing, and dreaming about in that exact moment?”
Answers may vary by industry and target demographic, so it wouldn’t hurt to invite an ideal subscriber or two out for coffee and pick their brains about their needs. You can always work with a Fiverr Pro email marketer to ensure open-rate success, too!
How do you get your audience to open your emails? Tell us your tips in the comments below!