Want People to Open Your Emails? Try Using These 6 Things before hitting send.


While we all like to think our emails are catchy, exciting and different, the truth is, a big portion of your readers delete emails "sight unseen".

So how do you make sure your emails actually get opened?

1. Provide real value

It goes without saying - but remember you’re communicating with real people who have other things to do. They have feelings and thoughts, so make sure your emails take their experience, feedback, and perspective into account and gives value.

Ask: What’s in it for your reader? What do they get if they open your email? What's the purpose of your email/ newsletter?

If you're writing to your employees are you educating them with interesting information that will help them with their jobs or are you hounding them with procedures to follow?

2. Personalisation



Because our names are part of our identity, we love it when people use them. Persona Nutrition know the importance and so do Starbucks. Using someones name correctly makes us feel happy. Our brains are programmed to hear our name and release serotonin and dopamine- those feel happy - keep you motivated chemicals. How many of you get excited when you see your name on one of those named keyrings hanging in the museum shop? Dale Carnegie said, “A person’s name is to that person, the sweetest, most important sound in any language.” Lack of personalisation is one of the quickest way to ensure your message receives less engagement with marketers reporting that 52% of consumers say they’ll look elsewhere for their shopping needs if a brand sends an email that’s not personalised. Doting your recipient's name throughout the email can keep them engaged with your content.

  • The “To” field as well as in the greeting at the beginning of the email.

  • The subject line

  • CTA: Personalised calls to action, can convert 202% times more effectively than default CTAs.

Personalisation goes beyond just knowing your recipient's name show that you’re really listening and that you care by segmenting your readers and asking them what they want to receive from you. Don't just mass send. There's no use sending a new employee the shareholders news but they may be interested in your medical or childcare policies.

3. Invest in your subject line headlines.

Be Creative Your email subject line is directly correlated to your email performance and is one of the most important lines of your entire email. Similar to an article headline its sole job is to STOP your reader from dumping or scrolling on and get them interested in what you have to say. If you’re using the same generic subject like: “June 21st Newsletter” try something a little more creative. X Lessons Learned [From Doing Something]

  • 7 Lessons Learned Building 10 Products Over The Past 10 Years

  • 11 Lessons Learned about sales

Make a Promise & Keep it Your headline must make a PROMISE. Headlines that don’t make promises don’t get read. It’s not enough to say, “This is X.” You have to tell them why they need to keep reading. What's in it for them. And before you ask “Isn’t that clickbait?” -Here's the difference between clickbait and a good headline. If you write a really compelling headline and then the content doesn’t deliver, that's clickbait. You baited the reader with a promise, and then failed to deliver on that promise. A compelling headline comes with a promise and then your content KEEPs that promise.

Lead with a benefit. When your subscribers know they stand to benefit from reading your email it gives them an incentive to open your emails. For Examples:

  • How introverts can become self-confident

  • Three ways to organise your desktop

Create a Curiosity Gap. Like all good presentations and stories creating curiosity in your reader makes them want to find out more. If you've ever sat through a 2min movie trailer that pretty much tells you the whole story including the twist you're pretty much unlikely to want to go and watch the movie. By teasing the ending without revealing the answer means your reader understands what the piece is going to be about they may even think they know what to expect —but your headline doesn’t give them the whole answer, for example, instead of "Drinking Coffee Before Bedtime Will Disrupt Your Sleep" try "How Drinking Coffee is Losing you Sleep 4 Ways to Fix It." The subject or title of your email is what determines whether people open your email. Remember, you don’t have to give everything away in that first line. In 2012, when President Obama used email marketing for fundraising, the most successful title used was simply “Hey.”

4. Find the best time to send (and be consistent) There are certain times of days when your readers are more likely to open and read your emails and Friday afternoon isn't one of them. Most email opens happen within the first hour of the email arriving in an inbox? Think about how you are competing for your employees' attention. If they are too busy, for example trying to wrap everything up so they can leave for the weekend, your email may get buried under the pile of other emails in their inbox. One of the easiest ways to find the best time to send is to segment your list into 2-3 equally sized groups and send the same copy of your email during different times of the day (morning, afternoon, and evening). Try this test for a few different mailings and keep track of which version gets the most engagement. This will take a little extra time, but over the course of a few weeks, you should have a strong indication of when your readers are most likely to open.

5. Make your readers feel personally invested

Much like the Ikea effect where people tend to value an object more if they make (or assemble) it themselves. If your company emails listens to your audience and asks them to help create the articles you'll find more people will open it. Try asking for guest writers What [Someone Credible] Can Teach Us About [Topic]

  • What our CEO Can Teach Us About entreprenuership

  • What Valerie from HR Can Teach Us About Becoming A Great Interviewer

  • What Mal from Accounting Can Teach Us About finance

6. Tell a story

This wouldn't be a strategic storytelling article if I didn't add how sharing an emotional connecting personal story is the best way to relate to your audience. Just make sure it relates to your audience - no one really wants to know what you're watching on tv but they might want to learn about how you read 3 management books and the top 10 tips they can use. Remember your audience is the hero in the story. If you think your email isn't getting the right response it's ok to start again. You can even make a fuss with a relaunch - change the themes and remake your email newsletters.

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