Although email marketing isn’t dead, email isn’t the same thing it once was. It wasn’t that long ago that people actually looked forward to getting a new message in their inbox.
Today, it’s a different story. As Source Digit reported, more than 182 billion emails were sent daily by the end of 2013. By the end of 2017, that number is expected to climb to more than 206 billion. With so many emails sent each day, the challenge for marketing is not only putting together a well-thought out message, but one that recipients will actually open and read, rather than automatically clicking “delete.”
In a sea of marketing and other emails, here are a few ways to make your messages stand out:
Introduce the Subject
The subject line of an email is the first thing people see. It’s your one chance to get people to open your message — or not. Fortunately, a fair amount of research has been done to determine what length of subject line and what type of subject makes people most likely to open an email.
Over at Inc.com, Jessica Stillman cites a study that found that emails with subject lines between six and 10 words had an open rate of 21 percent. That might not seem like a very high rate, but emails with subjects that contained five words or fewer had just a 16 percent open rate. Emails with longer subject lines, more than 11 words, were the most common, but the least likely to be opened.
The takeaway: Using a subject line that’s between six and 10 words lets you clearly and succinctly introduce what the message is about. People will get bored trying to read a longer subject and a shorter subject won’t be able to fully convey what the email is about.
Keep It Short
Once you’ve gotten someone to click “open” on your email, you don’t want them to instantly click “delete” without reading what’s inside. Keeping the content of the message short and sweet will allow you to get your point across without turning off your reader.
It’s important to get right to the point in the body of the email. Clearly tell the reader what the message is about (whether you’re offering a sale, introducing a new product or changing a policy). After you’ve gotten to the point, explain what the next steps are for your reader.
For example, if you’re introducing a new product, include a link to it and encourage the reader to check it out or to call you for more details. You don’t want to leave the reader hanging, unsure of what to do next. That’s just as bad as having him or her not read your email in the first place.
Add a Personal Touch
A bit of personalization, such as using someone’s name in the subject line, can go a long way when it comes to getting people to engage with an email message.
It helps to go beyond simply using a person’s name in an email message, though. Consider targeting your message to specific groups of customers. Odds are that your customers have different goals and needs and that a one-size-fits-all email marketing approach won’t appeal to everyone.
Get the Timing Right
Timing can be everything when it comes to getting people to open and read your company’s emails. How often you are sending messages matters, as well as when you’re sending those messages.
It’s a good idea not to go overboard when it comes to email. Limit your messages to about two a week, at the most. One of the fastest ways to get your company’s emails marked as spam is to send one every day or even multiple times a day.
You also want to think about when people are going to be the most receptive to a message. Many companies sent out emails in the early morning, so that people wake up to an inbox full of new messages, most of which get deleted.
But if you wait until later in the day to send your emails, either around lunchtime or near the end of the working day, around 3:30 pm or so, you are more likely to find a more receptive audience. By that point in the day, many people are bored and looking for something to entertain themselves. If your email pops up in someone’s inbox at exactly the right time, it could be that your message is what a person turns to when he or she needs a distraction.
An email is only good is someone actually reads it. Keeping things short, personalizing your message and waiting for the right time to send will increase the chance that your customers will actually take a look at your emails.