Most people have an average of 3.1 email accounts (2.9 billion email accounts worldwide) so you are probably part of the group that sends out 188 billion messages each day.
Each day we’re subjected to a firehose of information, but what people really want is content that is clear, concise and delivers value. Since email is the primary touchpoint for most people each day make yours more effective.
Don’t make readers struggle through dense, cluttered and unorganized writing. Users can delete or ignore your email exactly like search mode when users click the back button. Every reader who comes across new email content asks these questions:
- Can this information solve a problem or answer a question for me?
- Is this information good enough to share with others?
- Can I quickly understand, react and process this request?
4 keys to email
Regardless of your desired outcome each of these email messages must have:
- Clear, accurate and “non-spammy” subject line: Most mail servers use third party software to scan the subject lines. Make certain that your subject line accurately describes the content.
- Summary message: Email is not long-form. Resist the urge to produce every detail. Keep your message short and on-point. In fact, repeat and boldface the subject in the first line.
- Complete email signature: Add appropriate URLs for your website, blog, portfolio or product. Verify that the links are functional so that the reader can connect to you in one click.
- Clear formats and fonts: Use standard capitalization and spelling; avoid odd typefaces; use 10 or 12 point text (Arial, Verdana and Tahoma are solid, easy-to-read fonts).
Email Subject Lines: Your starting point
Don’t begin with odd, cheesy or spammy phrases. These will invariably result in your email being ignored. Keep your subject lines simple and to the point.
MailChimp prepared a study that analyzed the open rates for over 200 million emails. Open rates ranged from 93% to 0.5%. Personal messages top interest, followed by affiliations and timely news. Stale newsletters, requests for money and offers too good to be true bring up the rear.
- Avoid these words: Help, Percent off, Reminder and Free. Trigger spam filters.
- Be Local: Personalization, such as including a recipient’s first name or last name, doesn’t significantly improve open rates. Providing localization, such as including a city name, does help.
- Newsletters: Newsletters tend to start with high open rates, but all experience some reduction in time. The challenge to the newsletter writer is to keep the content fresh. Repeating the same subject line for each newsletter accelerates the drop in open rates.
- Subject Line Length: The general rule of thumb in email marketing is to keep your subject line to 50 characters or less.
- Promotional Emails: Keep the message straightforward and avoid using splashy promotional phrases, CAPS, or exclamation marks in your subject lines. Subject lines framed as questions can often perform better.
Summary: Be consistent and build all your digital copy for maximum readability and usability. Start with email.