As an email marketer, it's important to put yourself in the shoes of your recipients. Every morning, they're logging onto their computers and starting the day by checking their email. Most inboxes are jungles of unread messages that have become tangled and overgrown from neglect. Choosing what to read and what to delete is a safari adventure for all of us.
This is important to keep in mind when sending an email to customers. If you’re using email marketing and getting low open rates, you should try to picture the customer’s experience with the message. The most important question to ask is: “Why?” Why would someone open this? Why would someone read your message? If you can’t answer those questions, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your email marketing strategy.
Here are the three elements of any good email that should answer the question “Why?”
1. The Subject Line
Don’t fall into the trap of writing a generic subject line like “September Newsletter.” A subject line should tease and intrigue, like a cheesy one-liner on a movie poster (“There’s only one man who…”). Subject lines need to prompt a reader to act, whether they read “7 Seats Left for Next Week's Seminar” or “The One Thing Your Business Doesn’t Know.” If you’re having trouble thinking of a good subject line, just look at major news websites. The editors there have mastered the art of writing alluring headlines that encourage readers to click deeper into the site.
Q: Why should a reader open your email?
A: Because the subject line is interesting and unique.
2. The Content
An email with a fun subject line that leads nowhere interesting is like Hansel and Gretel finding a witch inside a house of candy... the witch of boredom. You need to offer compelling content that doesn't sell as much as it does help and benefit the reader. (After all, another important question your customers are asking is "What's in it for me?") Write a quick article about a topic related to your product or service, or find some relevant news and give your take on it. Want to know what to include in your emails? Know who your audience is and what they're looking for. To find this out, you can look at your reporting metrics to see what people are clicking on, or ask your readers directly (in an online survey or on social media). If readers open an email, it means that you’ve caught their interest. It’s up to you to keep it.
Q: Why should a reader keep reading an email?
A: Because there is value in the content itself — whether the content is news, promotions, coupons, or articles.
3. The Links
With a good subject line to catch your subscribers' attention and the right content to keep them intrigued, you can help guarantee that they’re interested in your business. Now get them to take action. Each link in an email is like a sign pointing to a different place. Make sure that readers know where they’ll end up if they click a link, and make sure that you convince them that the trip is worth . Monitoring the number of click-throughs can be helpful in seeing what links are most appealing to readers. By keeping track of these statistics, you can write future emails that target those preferences.
Q: Why should a reader click to a website and stay there?
A: Because it provides them with a rewarding experience, service, product, or event — and your website explains just how rewarding it will be.
Every time you start a new email campaign, keep the question of “Why?” in the back of your mind. If you aren’t sure why readers would open the email, then the odds are good that they won’t know why, either, and your message will be lost in the foliage of the inbox.
What are some ways that you answer the question of "Why" in your emails? Share your thoughts here or on our Facebook Page.
I'm interested in all things content marketing, especially how they relate to good writing. I'm an author at heart and I think that the internet and quality books and articles have a healthy future together.