Wouldn’t it be nice if your customers or clients read every email you sent? It would be amazing, right? Well, we’re here to help.
There are dozens of reasons for emails to go unread. Your customers are busy, and their inboxes may be inundated with messages. From company memos to promotional emails, we all know how emails can pile up.
So, how do you get your customers to read your emails? We’ve created a list of five easy-to-do tips to increase your “email readability.” While we can’t promise every email will get read, these tips are designed to up the ante and increase your open and conversion rates.
1. Hook your readers with an intriguing subject line
First thing’s first. You need people to open your email before they can read it. That means you need to spend some time finessing your subject line. It’s a good policy to craft your subject line before you write the body of the email. It will help you focus your content. Plus, if you write the subject line last you might be tired of writing and produce a sub-par message.
So, how do you create a 50-character sentence that results in high open rates? Consider writing a subject line that falls into one of these six categories:
- Pop culture. Keep an eye on what’s going on in pop culture and consider connecting it to your business or product. For example, an online baby retailer can create a subject line that includes the arrival of the Royal Baby.
- Movie line or a song title. Draw on your film and music knowledge to create unique subject lines. A sporting goods store could use the song “We Are the Champions” in its subject lines during playoff season.
- Humor. Who doesn’t like a good laugh? Make your recipients chuckle and they’ll open your email, guaranteed.
- Curiosity. You want a subject line that makes a recipient say, “That’s interesting. I want to know more.” Curiosity improves open rates.
- Outstanding deal. If you’re offering a great promotion, coupon, gift or deal you should declare it right in your subject line. It’s the same principal as “SALE” signs in brick-and-mortar establishments.
- Take action. Use your subject line to tell readers what action you’d like them to take. Maybe you want your audience to enter a contest or read a how-to article. If so, mention the action from the outset.
Pro-tip: If you’re having trouble coming up with the perfect subject line, turn to the Conversation Starter. It’s a Mad Libs-style tool that will generate some ideas for you.
2. Don’t underestimate the power of a good format
In one glance, your audience should be able to tell what your email is all about. To do that requires organization. Your email shouldn’t look like a high school English paper; it should look more like a visual postcard. Here are some formatting tips to make sure your emails get read:
- Create a title. Give your email a title. Take a look at the example below. The text at the top of the email instantly tells the reader about the contents of the email. Plus, the font is bold and larger than the rest of the text, so it stands out.
- Use subheadings or bullet points. That same example has a subheading, “Getting started.” Subheadings are an excellent way to break up content. It makes the email easy to digest. If you plan to write anything longer than four sentences in your email, use subheadings to chunk the content out. The subheadings should be in bold and slightly smaller than your title text.
If subheadings aren’t the right fit, you can also use bullet points to keep your email neat and tidy. Likewise, if you’re creating a list of any kind, go for bullet points. For example, in your welcome email you can highlight the benefits of your product in a bulleted list.
- Generate a call to action button. The green call to action button is eye-catching. You should create similar CTAs for your email. Sure, you can use a hyperlink as a call to action, but a clickable button is better.
Pro-tip: Not sure how to make a call to action button? No problem. Check out our handy button maker.
- Pick vibrant colors. In the example, the sender makes great use of the color green. It sets the call to action apart from the rest of the content. If there’s something you want to stand out, make it a vibrant color. Of course, you’ll want to use this color sparingly otherwise it will lose its effect.
3. Create an email buffet
Think of your email arsenal like a buffet, with all sorts of options that appeal to a broad audience. Your email strategy should be similar. You want to serve your audience a variety of different messages.
In other words, don’t send a promotional email for the same product every Friday afternoon. Instead, send a variety of emails. Here’s a quick list of emails you can send to keep the smorgasbord full.
- Welcome email. When you get a new contact, send an email greeting within the first 48 hours. In a brief message, welcome them and explain what they can expect from your emails.
- Announcement email. Have a new product? Launching a new service? Make it known to your contacts via email.
- Newsletters. Keep your crew in the know with newsletters. These informational emails are a great way to keep your customers engaged. If you need a little help coming up with topics to include, check out this list of newsletter ideas.
- Customer appreciation email. Give your customers a digital high five. Consider offering a special promotion or a giveaway to show how much you value your audience.
- Promotional email. Entice your clients to make a purchase or book an appointment through promotional offers. Promotional emails are an excellent way to attract new customers and retain current ones, but you don’t want to send too many offers. Promotional emails are just another part of your buffet.
- Invitation email. Whether you’re hosting an event or attending a trade show, you can always invite your customers via email.
4. Segment your list
One of the best ways to increase your open and conversion rates is to segment your list. By breaking your email list into specific groups, you can send targeted messages to your audience. A targeted message that lands in the right inbox is like an email slam-dunk. Not sure how to slice and dice your list? Here are a few ideas:
- Demographics. Split your list by demographics like age, gender, or geographic location.
- Survey results. Email a survey to your customers and use the results to categorize the names. For example, an online clothing retailer could group customers into pools like “winter apparel group” and “accessories group.”
- Past purchases. If you track what customers buy, you can send emails based on their purchasing histories.
- Email response rates. You’ll have a spectrum of active to not-so-active customers on your list. You can use this information to create groups. For example, you can put your active, loyal customers on one list and the once-in-awhile customers on another. Knowing this information, you can gear email campaigns accordingly.
5. Use online tools to improve your email success rate
As a small business owner, we know you don’t have a team of people to craft, check and send every email. Not to worry, though. There are several online tools that can help you create effective emails. Try some of these services and apps to improve your emails and save time:
- Email sign up form: VerticalResponse opt-in form
The secret to email success is to constantly collect contact information from prospective customers and clients. To do so, you should set up an email sign up form on your website. It’s a hassle-free way for your business to collect email addresses from interested folks.
- Proofreading tool: Grammarly
It’s always best to have a second set of eyes read your email, but sometimes in a one-person shop that’s not an option. To get around this, pop your content into Grammarly. This website will spot errors like misspellings and punctuation mistakes.
- Content checking tool: The Hemingway App
When you put your content into the Hemingway App it will highlight sentences that can be improved. For example, it will highlight long, convoluted sentences. Using this information you can clean up your content and create a streamlined message.
- Free image sites: Picjumbo and Unsplash
You’ll want to spice up your email with an image or two. If you don’t have any on hand, or don’t want to pay for them through stock sites, you can use Picjumbo or Unsplash. Both of these sites offer images for free.
- Photo editing tool: PicMonkey
When you need to edit an image, turn to PicMonkey. This handy website allows you resize, crop and edit pictures quickly.
- Link tracking tool: URL Builder for Google Analytics
If you’re a Google Analytics user, this link-building tool will help you track which links people click on the most inside your email. It’s a more advanced tool, but one worth checking out for measuring purposes.
- Survey creation tool: SurveyMonkey
Ready to create a survey? Check out SurveyMonkey. This easy-to-use site helps you create questions and deliver the survey to your email list. (As an added bonus, SurveyMonkey is integrated with VerticalResponse. Learn more about it on our website.)
Now that you’re armed with these five tips your readers won’t be able to resist your emails. As you work to improve your email strategy, monitor your metrics so you know what’s working.