I get literally hundreds of emails every day. And I don’t mind, because I study a lot of them for clues to getting better response to my own email marketing.

So, if you’re using email to market to your clients, here are a couple of things you need to pay attention to.

Here’s what NOT to do; below is a picture from part of my inbox. Now, in this case I’m using Gmail. As you can see from these two examples, the subject lines (in bold) are dreary enough to deserve instant deletion.

But it gets worse. Right after the subject line, text that screams

“This is a boring, automatically-generated piece of advertising junk, please ignore me!”

bad emails

Now, the reason this happens is because these businesses are

a) not very clever at this sort of thing, and don’t actually examine their own marketing, and

b) they’re sending email using an html editor, which inserts all sorts of graphics and pictures to make it look pretty.

What they’re too dumb to figure out is that people like to feel they’re being written to personally, not just a number in a mass marketing exercise.

The non-bolded line of the first email above is clearly taken from the first line of the html email below:

Second, there was absolutely zero attempt to mail-merge my name into the subject of the email. These days, there’s no excuse for this.

Third, you wouldn’t email your mother with fancy graphics, headers and pictures, you’d write to her in plain text, with not much more than a ‘love from Mary XXXX’ at the bottom of it. So why would you inhibit your chances of intimacy, of relationship-building with your intended audience, by cluttering it up with obviously-advertising graphics etc?
Back to subject lines – the subject line is simply the HEADLINE for the email. It has one job, and one job only, and that’s to get the damn thing opened and read. Nothing more.
Your email could have vital information in it about the outbreak of World War III, but unless the subject line is compelling, the war’s just going to pass people by.

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