Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’ve built an email list and you actually have subscribers who aren’t related to you. You’ve got people on your list, but for some reason, they don’t open or interact with your emails.
You’ve created the email equivalent to the Bermuda Triangle. Nice.
But we’re going to fix that. In this post, we’ll discuss seven proven ways to create clickable (and actionable) email. Let’s get to it.
It All Starts with a Great Subject Line
Your subject line is the most important part of a healthy breakfast, and inbox. If you want people to actually open your mail, you’ve got to create a subject line that compels them.
Let’s focus on the most important takeaways:
The Ideal length of a subject line is 50 characters. <–This sentence is too long (it’s 52 characters).
Don’t use spammy words. All sorts of words fit into this category, but here’s a short list:
Increase your sales
Using these words can land you in the spam folder and cause you to bypass the inbox altogether.
Use a familiar formula. There are five main types of email subject lines:
+Urgent/ Time Sensitive – You only have 10 hours left to act…
+Emotional – For the price of your coffee, you could have…
+Inquisitive – What would you do with a million dollars?
+Funny – You Say Potato, I Say Potato Salad
+List – Top 10 DSLR Cameras of 2016
Mix up your formula. Don’t just send the same type of email time and time again. Instead, do something interesting and new with each email to keep your audience engaged.
Don’t Overlook Your Sender Name
You know what’s confusing? An overly generic sender name. Check this one out:
The sender name is “reservations” and it remains unopened in my inbox because I’m paralyzed by confusion. I have all sorts of questions like:
Who is this person?
Why are they in my inbox?
Did I give them my email address?
Is this spam?
That’s not the type of response you want to solicit from your subscribers. And your subscribers are just like me. They subscribe, forget who they’ve subscribed to, and then end up confused. Not only that, they’ll also click “spam” without even opening it—even if they actually subscribed to your list to begin with.
If you want to stay off the spam list, make sure that people know who you are at a glance, without having to jog their memories. Here are two examples of folks who know how to rock a sender name:
Nathan from CoSchedule
Jessica Webb, Hubspot
Let’s run down what these two brands did right with their sender name:
They included an actual human’s name. Nathan, Jessica Webb. These are both examples of human names (well, duh). By including their names, it feels like you’re reading something personal, crafted by an actual human, and not some faceless, soulless marketing department.
They also included the brand’s name. Just seeing a random human name isn’t enough. It lacks context and reeks of spam. However, by combining a real human name with a brand name, you’ll increase the chances of being recognized at a glance by your subscribers.
Since we’re talking about sender names, let’s also talk about sender emails. Here’s an email address you should avoid using:
A more toned down version is something like “email@example.com.”
Any iteration of the above is bad. Really bad.
You never want to appear unapproachable or too big to be reached. Now, look at what emails Nathan from CoSchedule and Jessica Webb from Hubspot use:
Nathan from CoSchedule
Jessica Webb, Hubspot
I’m not naive. I’m sure that if I hit reply, my email probably wouldn’t be routed to their personal inboxes, but who knows? Maybe it would be. And that little maybe is why using a personal email address works best. It makes you and your brand more personal and accessible.
Skim the Surface
Your blog should be scannable but your email should be skimmable. What’s the distinction?
While readers have more time to leisurely read through a blog post, the atmosphere in one’s inbox is a lot more rushed and hectic. There’s always a slight bit of anxiety and an urge to move on to the next.
You shouldn’t force the reader to drudge through an incredibly long email because one of two things will happen:
- They’ll click away promising to return (but ultimately forget and then delete your email in a mass “delete all” sweep)
- They’ll just delete it immediately (you don’t pass go, you don’t collect $200)
To avoid that, keep your emails short, sweet, and to the point. Instead of run-on sentences and winding paragraphs, opt for short, choppy, easy to skim content.
The easier it is to “read,” the more likely they’ll actually skim their way to your call to action at the bottom of your email.
Call Them to Action
Every email you send has a purpose. Every single one. Otherwise, it’s just clutter that doesn’t benefit the reader or you.
While not every email you send will have a call to action (such as transactional emails), the vast majority of your marketing emails will.
Here are a few examples of calls to action:
Read my blog
Buy my product
Join my course/ webinar
Share my product with your friends
Use your email to make a case for reading your blog, buying your product, or joining your course. Then use your call to action to connect the reader to the next logical step.
Never expect the readers to make the leap on their own. Even when the next step seems obvious to you, don’t assume that’s it is obvious to your reader. Instead, make it plain.
To HTML or Not To HTML…
Hubspot did an interesting study where they set out to prove which one was superior—HTML or plain text. You probably think HTML won, but actually, plain text was the true champ.
It has more to do with email filtering than personal preferences. Think about how Gmail has retooled its inbox set up. It automatically filters email into five categories:
When you send a blinged out HTML email with images, gifs, or video, your email will likely get routed to one of the four secondary tabs. If your email is not in the primary tab (where users arrive first and spend most of their time), it’s vulnerable to the dreaded “select all and delete” sweeps that frequently occur in the secondary tabs.
So, inbox priority is the reason why plain text emails are better. Your email has a greater chance of appearing like an authentic email (which it totally is) instead of a commercial.
If neither rain nor snow can stop your mailman from delivering letters, then nothing should stop you either.
It’s so important to create a schedule and then stick to it. Here’s why:
You own a certain day of the week. Let’s say you’ve decided to send out your weekly emails on Thursdays. After you’ve established this pattern, your subscribers will know to look for your newsletter on Thursday. It’ll be something that they’ll look forward to each week at the same time.
So, instead of sporadically popping up in their inbox, they’ll know when to expect your content. This also helps you build trust with your subscribers.
You honor expectations. Whether you email once a week or once an hour (probably shouldn’t do that), you honor and fulfill the expectations you’ve hopefully set when you welcomed the subscriber to your email list. In your welcome email, you probably explained that you’ll be sending out an awesome newsletter, and you may have even specified frequency (weekly, bi-weekly, monthly).
By sending your emails on a consistent schedule, you’ll be fulfilling your end of the bargain.
Psst… If you don’t have a welcome email, I highly suggest you create one. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Just include your heart-felt thanks and a heads up on when you send out your emails.
Last, but certainly not least, it’s time to segment.
You may have heard of segmenting before, but if not, here’s a brief overview.
Segmenting means to group your email subscribers into categories based on whatever criteria you choose. You can group based on demographics like age, gender, and location. You can also group based on subscriber behavior such as open rates and call-to-action click throughs.
Segmenting is a crucial part of getting people to stick around. Instead of sending one generic email to everyone on your list, you can craft specific content for each group.
That way, you can target two different groups on your list. They may have different needs and expectations for interacting with your brand. But fortunately, you can react to their individual needs through segmentation.
Use these tips to craft an email strategy that keeps your audience excited to hear from you. Remember to plan ahead. Your email marketing relies on a clear vision of what you’d like to accomplish from each outgoing email. Good luck!