If you’re like me, the first thing you do each morning when you check your email is check off the messages that look like spam and hit the “delete” button.
We’re all inundated with so many marketing emails that many of us choose to ignore most (if not all) of them. This holds true not just for our personal email accounts, but for our professional ones as well.
Even if your product or service can truly help a business attract new customers and increase sales, it can be difficult to capture attention at first. Yet email is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to reach out to new and existing customers.
The biggest hurdle? Making it through that initial scan and getting the recipient to actually OPEN your email.
Open rates have received their fair share of analysis over the years, but we’d like to add our two cents on the topic. Why? We have years of experience writing email campaigns for our B2B clients. From new product launches to upgrades, webinars, ebook promotions, and beyond, we’ve learned a few things over the years – and we’d like to share them with you.
Open Me! 4 Ways to Stand Out in the Inbox
1. Shorter is better. Six words. Twelve words. A maximum of 40 characters. There’s an array of stats about how long your subject line should be. Rather than worry about counting characters, we recommend to simply “Be brief.” The shorter your subject line is (while still getting your message across, of course), the better. People simply won’t waste time reading a lot of words, so you increase your chances of just getting deleted if your subject line is too long.
2. Don’t forget the preview. While everyone’s email isn’t set to include preview copy, it’s still an important component to include in your campaigns. Those who do see it may use it as the tie-breaker to determine whether or not to open your message. For those of you who may not be familiar with the preview copy, you can think of it like a secondary subject line (almost like a subhead). It’s a second chance to entice the recipient. Maybe you posed a question in your subject line. Go ahead and give a brief answer in the preview copy so they’ll want to open your message and learn more.
3. Be smart with your sender. Who your message comes from is just as important as what it says. Many companies tend to send emails from certain individuals thinking they will look more personal. But if the recipient has no clue who that person is, they may just see an email from a stranger and send it to the trash bin without even realizing what company it’s from. We recommend creating a specific “from” address that includes your company name. You could even include a phrase that indicates the value your product offers. As you continue to use the same sender, recipients will come to know and trust your messages over time.
4. A little creativity never hurt. Remember that short subject line? Well, it also needs to be attention-grabbing. How else will your email stand out in the sea of unopened messages? Try posing a question, using a play on words, or even making a joke. If you can make the recipient think or, better yet, crack a smile, you just might get them interested in what else you have to say inside the email.
Okay, so you’ve succeeded: someone opened your email. You don’t want to disappoint them. Some of the same rules apply, along with a few new ones.
- Be short and get to the point as quickly as possible
- Add some fun and creativity to keep people engaged
- Use bullets or bold text to break up copy and make it scannable
- Focus on the value to the recipient rather than what you’re selling
There’s also been a lot of discussion around when to send emails. Earlier in the workday (between 9am and 12pm) seems to be most effective, followed by the lunchtime and mid-afternoon hours (noon to 3pm). This approach keeps your email out of the early morning clutter and increases your chance of catching someone on a mid-morning break or checking their email during lunch.
Easier Said Than Done
While these tips can certainly help boost your open rate, we admit they aren’t easy. In fact, we often find ourselves spending almost as much time writing an email as we do a short blog. It’s hard to grab someone’s attention in just a few words.
But wordsmithing is one of our specialties and a skill we’ve honed over time. It’s worth the extra effort if you can increase your open rate by just a few percentage points. Reach out if you’d like to hear more about how we can help your emails stay out of the trash bin or for any other content marketing needs you have.