Inboxes give you three distinct opportunities to engage your readers
Email newsletter open rates hover around 20-25 percent. To push your open rate above the average, pay attention to the three opportunities you have as a marketer to capture the attention of your email subscribers when they scan their inboxes.
Let’s look at each of these opportunities and discuss how to make the most out of each.
1. From line
It may seem that your subject line is your first interaction with your email recipient. But actually, the “from” line comes first. Most businesses default to their company name to tell recipients who the email is from, but it’s worth at least considering something more personal or specific to a particular campaign.
Email marketing software allows you to change how your from line appears in inboxes for each email you distribute. You might find that an email sent from a person (e.g. Laura at Breezy Hill) performs better than the business name alone.
If you are sending a group of emails centered on a particular campaign or initiative, changing your from line to illustrate that the email emanates from that campaign could give the campaign more gravitas.
A non-profit might choose to send an email about a particular fundraiser using a fundraiser-specific from line: “United Way Bowlathon Fundraiser,” for example, instead of just “United Way.” The from line can be changed again after the campaign ends.
Under the right circumstances, a unique and targeted from line can give your emails a special boost.
2. Subject line
It’s a good bet to assume your contacts are scanning their inboxes quickly, whether on their phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops. Your subject line will get a split second of their time, so being concise, direct, and action-oriented is the key.
Verbs that inspire readers to learn more are more effective than descriptions of what is in the email. Think about the how and why of the email rather than the what.
Other techniques for writing enticing subject lines:
- Make it recipient-centric with the words “you” and “your” rather than “our” and “ours”. For example, “Your chance to win” will outperform “Our contest has launched.”
- Write a question. If this section of the blog were an email, the subject might be: “What’s wrong with your subject lines?”
- Create urgency with phrases like “Today only” or “8 hours left”
- Don’t overuse CAPS or !!! to generate excitement
3. Preview text
Email marketing software services give senders an opportunity to customize each email’s preview text - that line that appears next to your subject line that previews the content of the email. Gmail, Yahoo, and other email services will auto-generate preview text based on the first line of the email.
More than subject lines, preview text gives your recipients a window into what’s really in the email. Use it as an opportunity entice readers into the body of the email.
The best practices of subject line writing described above apply. But with more room to work (aim for about 50 characters), there is a greater opportunity to describe the email content, provide context, and create more opens.
Keep in mind, preview text is displayed right next to your subject line, so there is a great opportunity here for interplay between the two. If your subject line asks a question, for example, your preview text can answer it.
Be sure your preview text accurately reflects the content of the email; avoid over-promising to increase open rates.
With careful consideration of these three inbox opportunities, you can bend the open rate curve in your favor and increase your email newsletter opens and readership.
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Breezy Hill Marketing is a Vermont web design company offering digital advertising strategy and execution, responsive web design, inbound marketing, and social media marketing for clients throughout the United States.