Breaking Through - What is the key to getting your email messages read?

Each day you open your inbox and find it overwhelmed by unsolicited messages sent by websites that you have visited, companies you might have purchased from at one time and companies that you are currently doing business with. All of these organizations want to grab your attention and once they have it – grab your business.

For the email marketer who is trying to get you to notice them, the bar continues to be raised ever higher.

With so much competition, what can you do to make each of your digital communications count?

The first step is getting your email opened. There are a number of enhancements you can do that will improve the odds of that happening:

1. Pay attention to your subject line. Your creative and copywriting work is not complete until an effective subject line that draws in the recipient is a part of the package.

If you are providing a notification for an existing customer, tell them – “Important information about your account.” However when your message is one of new products and services, then you have to turn up the creative juices and find a way to entice the recipient to open the email.

Personalize the message. Personalized email subject lines can increase your open rates 30 – 50 percent! Use the company or contact name. Then craft a brief phrase or sentence that entices the reader to want to learn more. For example:

Use – 
a. (Company Name) Create a great customer experience in 3 steps
b. Let our company help you grow your business

Target your statement to the prospect – not your company. In both cases, the email subject lines above attempt to intrigue the recipient to learn more and eventually buy your product or service. However, the first subject line offers a direct benefit for the reader, the second turns the attention back to you. When it comes to communicating to both your customers and potential customers, the key is to make everything speak to them, about them.
The subject line is your curb appeal. It must make a promise to provide something of interest or benefit to the reader.

2. Consider Animation. Many inboxes are formatted to automatically download images. Mobile devices will often provide only the upper left hand corner. To provide movement, try inserting a GIF. These catch the eye and create an interest in seeing the rest of the message.

Mobile friendly design is the “next best thing” to full responsive programming. The mobile friendly layout and design will provide the opportunity to use GIF animation. This can be a great way to draw in the reader.

3. Schedule your emails to make the greatest impact. Friday afternoons and Monday mornings are the busiest time for most small businesses. Sending them out late Monday or early Friday can help increase response rates. Sending them mid-week is always a safe time.

4. Take a close look at your email layout. In many ways, an email is like a digital billboard. Easy to pass by and leave behind. You have only a few seconds to engage the recipient and provide enough interest for them to take action. If the email is cluttered without a clear and easy to find message, the reader will discard the email and move on. Shorter copy and paragraphs and the use of bulleted information point helps to quickly and easily convey your ideas.

5. Images, along with animations, should be singular in focus. They should enhance the message within the email. Too many images will confuse the eye and the viewer will lose interest.

6. Finally – your call to action needs to be easy to find. Call out the phone number and/or place to click that enables the recipient take action. Help your customers to find you. Too many companies make it difficult to do business with them. Make the user experience (UX) top notch. Provide a smooth navigation for learning and ordering. 
All of the above may seem obvious, but when you search your inbox you will see that too few businesses are helping themselves by taking advantage of them. I hope these tips will enable you to take your email campaigns to the next level.