As well as being a business owner, you are also a consumer. So no doubt you’re signed up to dozens of email newsletters, whether it’s from online stores, pizza delivery companies or businesses specific to your own sector.
And joy of joys, they probably collectively send you tens, or even hundreds, of emails every day. Obviously, you can’t possibly have time to read them all, and if you’re like most people, they might even be deleted routinely without even opening most of them.
But every so often, you probably do actually open one, just on the basis of the subject line. From now on, you need to start paying attention to your own actions, because you’ve actually given yourself a clue about making your own newsletters stand out. What was it that made you click that unopened envelope?
The subject line
From the above, and your own observations, it should be clear that the subject line is the most crucial way to make your email stand out from the crowd – remember, you’re up against pizza here, so you really need to up your game.
The first thing to note is that not everyone sees the whole of your 40–60 character line. Some people use large fonts, and others are viewing on phones and smart watches, where they might only see a small preview.
You might have just six or seven words to give people a reason to read the mail, so make sure you do it right at the start. A good subject line points out an offer (e.g. a discount or 2-for-1) or some other benefit, or suggests readers need to be quick, for example if there’s scarcity of a desirable resource. Get that info in quickly.
The email body
Now the potential customer has opened the email, there’s still a risk that they won’t take it any further. If the email is slow to load (particularly important with cloud-based email solutions), or if the headline is weak and the overall structure is confusing and aimless, they’ll quickly forget about the amazing subject line and wonder why they opened it.
Use grabby copywriting from the headline to the headings to the paragraphs, and give recipients a reason to read it, ideally one that follows on from the subject line. Make sure the template looks amazing, and that everything points to a place on your website where the reader can be converted into a buyer, an enquirer or a website bookmarker. That’s the whole point of the email, so don’t let it go.
Finally, you can really help yourself to do emailing better by looking at the statistics that come back from your first 10 to 20 mailshots. Use your email solution’s analytics functions to see how people responded to your mails.
Which subject lines performed the best? What day of the week, and time of the day, did you get the most traction? How far along the funnel did recipients tend to go?
All this information can be fed back into fine tuning future emails, to the point where every time you mail, you’re hitting the high teens in email open rate, or at least getting double figures for large, general lists.
It really does make it all worthwhile, and all you have to do to beat the competition is to not be complacent, because so many businesses fire off emails with little thought to the quality, and fail to analyse their results. That gives you a huge opportunity to be seen.