Take a look at the unread emails in your inbox and make note of your course of action. Which emails do you immediately delete without opening? Open, but not scroll through entirely before deciding to delete? On the opposite end, which emails catch your attention, and do you click through the links contained within? Did the subject lines entice you, and was it the written or visual content that was most appealing? While there is no single, guaranteed solution for crafting the best email, we recommend considering several factors that will help spur a reaction similar to yours with those emails you decided to open, read, click through, and keep.
You only get one chance to make a first impression. You hear that line all the time, mouthwash commercials, job interview coaching. The same applies when creating the subject line for the perfect email. Often times it will be the only thing standing between you and an open to your message. You spend a lot of time creating the perfect message for the body of your email, but what good does it do if the subject line was not enough to get them to open the email? What does your subject line convey?
“There are some words within that may or may not be worth reading, and we’ve probably said the same
– Or –
“YOU NEED TO OPEN THIS EMAIL TO GET A VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE!”
Try different things. Send different subject lines with the same email to see what your audience responds to.
Switch it up; sending the same subject line may work every month when you send out a newsletter, it’s expected. But, if you say “special announcement” every time you send out a new product message or every time your office is going to be closed, they may think it’s nothing special and miss an important message. A great way to come up with a subject line is to write down a few, lay them all out and decide which one YOU would open. After all, I’m sure you get emails everyday too and I’m pretty sure you have several unopened because you decided they could wait…just by reading the subject line.
There are several key things to think about when writing compelling copy to get your message across in an email to your audience. Have you said too much? Have you said too little? Have you written copy that would put a child to sleep or have you created something that will spur someone into action? Sometimes, you really just want to send an email that is strictly informational. “Our office will be closed” or “Happy Holidays!” Most of the time we are sending an email that we want people to act on in some way. Whether it is to sign up for services, come to an event or contact someone personally so you can talk more in depth about something.
- The length of an email will vary, really, for each and every one based on the message you are trying to
convey. If the email is too long, you risk losing the reader that actually chose to open it. Short and
may miss the mark. If you have a long message, try breaking it up with a link to more information. That
also helps measure whether your readers are truly interested in the message you are sending as well.
- Keep your copy as compelling as possible. Try not to drone on and on about a new product email and
every little thing it can do. Rather, keep it to a few bullet points listing the most interesting features and
possibly a link to a product sheet that goes into more detail. Again, it will help to see how many people
are truly interested and clicking through.
- Make sure to include a call to action in each email. Call here, click here, register here. There is nothing
worse than creating an email that everybody seems to have read, but if the point of the email is to talk
about a product with the hopes that the reader will purchase and you don’t include a specific call to
action, it didn’t serve its purpose.
- Include any social media links your company participates in. Encourage them to like you and encourage
them to share specific emails and articles with their followers.
- Give them an out. Each communication needs to include an unsubscribe link. This is required by CANSPAM and is appreciated by readers, even when they don’t want to unsubscribe, they like seeing it there and knowing they have the option.
These are just a handful of things to keep in mind when composing the perfect email.
- Experiment with different ways to lay out your email copy, but do so in a way that logically makes sense (i.e. top to bottom, left to right). Are you using one column? Two columns? Alternating between one and multiple columns?
- Balance form and function. Begin by asking yourself what the main purpose of your email is and make sure it doesn’t become lost or unclear by the time you’ve finished beautifying your template (e.g. adding photos, color, and text styles).
- Emphasize the email elements you want recipients to pay the most attention to. This will more than likely be your call(s) to action (e.g. a registration link). Create a button graphic that stands out amongst the rest of the email. Make a certain line of text bold and in a different color than the rest of the text.
- If your email is copy-heavy, find ways to break it up visually. Include an image of the product you’re promoting next to a list of the product’s features, or a photo of your facility next to the date, time, and location details for an event you’re hosting.
- Showcase your brand identity. Incorporate your corporate colors, logo emblem, and mascot (if you have one).
- Purely aesthetic imagery – that is, images that don’t convey important information and will not affect the overall purpose of the email if left out – should be added last.