Emails are a necessary part of business. Yet too often we’re so focused on our message that we forget our reader. Whether you’re crafting a high-touch marketing email or following up with a potential new client, look at a few ways to craft emails people actually want to read.

People Actually Want to Read Stories

The purpose of an email is to get people to act. And an effective way to do this is to use this simple formula I’ve written about before.

Solution + Problem or Pain + Future with Solution + Solution

By starting your email explaining what you want your recipient to do, your audience won’t be confused what action to take. Then you explain why and end, once again, with what you want them to do. This is a simple way to craft a story with the “what” and the “why” without writing entire paragraphs.

People Actually Want to Be Surprised

Using a surprising statistic in the beginning of the email that relates to a common pain in your recipient’s industry can be a great way to get attention. For example, a colleague of mine received an email with the subject line, “70% of marketers won’t open this email”

It was compelling enough to get her to open the email and learn about how that company can help make her marketing emails more compelling.

If you’re using this tactic, keep the subject short and quickly tie it back to your main ask.

People Actually Want Different Imagery

Using a big header image at the top of an email requires readers to perform another action, scrolling, before they even get to your message. And we know that every time you add a barrier, you will lose a certain percentage of your audience.

To minimize this attrition, test your marketing emails without a header. Or test different types of headers. One of my favorites is a header with someone smiling directly into the camera versus a more static image. And putting the CTA right on the email banner and linking it to your landing page versus something more traditional. Making simple changes to imagery can yield some surprising and significant changes in your CTR.

People Actually Want Short and Personal Subject Lines

Regardless of your audience, people want to read emails with short, personal subject lines. Something like, “Jerry suggested I reach out”, or “Kelly do you have 15 minutes to chat?” are simple and it’s clear what the rest of the email will be pertaining to. And by putting your strongest card in the subject line, in these examples a mutual acquaintance or CTA, only people who actually want to engage on the topic will open the email and click. While a long or misleading subject line will actually result in lower open and click-through rates.

Times People Actually Want to Read Your Email

Timing is everything. Your email marketing team already knows which days of the week will yield higher open and click-through rates and you can use this information to inform other emails you send outside of your email service provider (ESP).

Yet depending on your goal, you may want to try something new. For example, your data may show Tuesday or Wednesdays between noon and 5:00 pm Central Standard Time yield the highest open rates, but if you’re sending a single sales email, you may find that you’re more likely to get a response if you send it Saturday afternoon.

Emails don’t have to be a necessary evil in business. With a few tips, you can craft emails people actually want to read.


Image: StockUnlimited