Content Marketing

November 23rd, 2011

10 Ways To Make People Actually Read Your Emails

Email is an efficient and effective form of communication. It’s also very easy to ignore. That’s because most email is spam, so people are primed to hit the delete button. 

So how do you get people to actually read your missives? Try these 10 techniques.

1. Set Importance to High

Email software lets you declare the importance of a message. Turn it to high and recipients will see the status and pay attention. However, use this sparingly, and only for what the recipient will consider important.

2. Make the Subject Count

Subject lines show people an email deserves attention. Compare “October Newsletter” with “3 Sure Fire Ways to Close More Sales,” “35%-off Sale,” or the use of a mutual friend’s name.

3. Know the Subject Length

Email software displays only so many characters in a subject line. Microsoft Outlook displays 66 characters, including spaces. Web-based services like Gmail depend on the width of the browser window. Smartphone email might show only a couple of dozen. Ensure the most compelling part of your message is visible to get your emails opened.

4. Moderate Your Send-Out Rate

Nothing exceeds like excess, and the boundary between BFF and stalker is slim. Be moderate in your email outreach, so that recipients don’t categorize you as a junk mail sender.

5.  Get Out of the Way of the Message

Getting an email opened is only the first step. If you write the sequel to War and Peace, pack the message with visual clutter, or otherwise turn reading your email into work, guess who will go on to something else?

6. Chunk it Up

If the email is longer than a paragraph or two, use techniques like subheads, bullets, or numbered lists, to make it easy for people to read.

7. Make Sure Your Writing is Engaging

Great writing will stop people in their tracks and compel them to read. The J. Peterman Company is famous for catalog and advertisement copy that creates vibrant stories about the most everyday things.

If you’re not a strong writer, consider hiring someone to write for you. If stylish writing isn’t readily available, at least be clear. Briefly outline what you want to say. Be sure the topics flow in a logical manner. Clarity of communication has much appeal, if for no other reason than its scarcity.

8. Spell Correctly

Penelope Trunk claims that judging people on spelling and grammar is passé. Some members of your audience may agree. Others will delete an error-ridden email. Messages without mistakes won’t offend either group. So why take the chance?

9. Use Personal Reply-To Addresses

Make sure the return address is to a person, rather than to a “no-reply” email address. People like to deal with people, not automation.

10. Respond to Emails You Receive

People ignore those who ignore them. You will, of course, have response mechanisms in your emails. Be sure someone pays attention to them and takes the necessary actions.

You still won’t get everyone to read your messages, but you can increase the percentage, which is only good for your business.


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