6 Tips to Getting Your Business Emails Opened

Email is clearly an indispensable marketing tool for getting your message in front of your intended audience. But getting your email into your target’s email box is only half the battle. The more important, and more much challenging, task is to get them to actually open and read your email.

Whether your sending cold emails to potential prospects or nurturing emails to your opt-in list, here are 6 tips to help you increase your open rate and get your emails read:

1. Mobile Ready
According to a research study by email marketing provider Constant Contact:

80% of smartphone owners say it is “extremely important” to be able to read emails on their mobile devices.

Even more importantly:

75% said they are “highly likely” to delete an email if they can’t read it on their smartphone.

Regarding age of users:

88% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 30 open email on a mobile device, and over half say their smartphone has become the primary device on which they open emails. That percentage doesn’t change much among consumers ages 30 to 39, 85 percent of whom open emails on their mobile device; with almost half (48 percent) saying it’s their primary device to do so.

The majority of consumers aged 40 and up also open emails on mobile devices, though the percentage who says their smartphone is the primary device to do so falls below 50 percent. Of those aged 40 to 49, 74 percent read emails on mobile devices, with 35 percent claiming it as their primary reading device.

This study was conducted almost 2 years ago, which probably means the percentages of mobile users has only increased since then.

The obvious takeaway from these statistics is that your emails need to be optimized for mobile.They need to be easily read on a mobile device without having to scroll. They also have to be brief and in a clear and readable font. Use at least a 14px sized font.

Most email service providers have mobile templates you can use. The easiest way to be completely sure you’re mobile ready is to send a test email and view it on your own device.

2. Use Words
Do you send out emails that consist of one large image (of your flier or offer)? Well, you should probably stop asap!

Many email clients automatically block images by default to protect users from spam. 43% of gmail users read email without turning the image on. If the viewer has their images turned off, all they’ll see is a broken image or a line of Alt text. Not very appealing. Some images also take long to download, which is a sure way to get deleted off someone’s mobile device before you have a chance to get your message across.

If you have a point to make, use words. Images are pretty, but unless your goal is to win a design contest your first and only priority should be to make sure your email is read. A few lines of text have a much better chance than a bunch of broken (or not broken) images. This goes for desktops too, but especially so for mobile devices.

3. From Whom?
Automated emails should come from a real person and not look like they’re coming from an automated system. 

According to Aaron Orendorff’s guide,

avoid at all costs from lines like support@yoursite.com, customerservice@yoursite.com, sale@yoursite.com, or, worst of all, the dreaded word “auto” in any and all forms.

Send your email from a real person and you’ll increase your chances of getting your email read.

4. Subject Line
On average you can use between 20 and 30 characters in your subject line without getting cut off. You shouldn’t have more than around 10 words in your subject line. Studies show that personal words like “you” and “I” work well, as do slang terms and colloquialisms.

If you’re writing a cold prospecting email and you are being referred, you should include the referrer’s name in the subject line, especially if it’s the recipient’s superior. Speaking of referrer’s, one of the most effective ways of reaching the right person when cold prospecting is to “reach for the stars”.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

I needed to reach the person responsible for mobile acquisitions for a public company. I used Linkedin to search for senior employees of the company and found the companies director of mergers and acquisitions. I was pretty sure that he was too senior for the task I needed, but I cold emailed him briefly explaining my inquiry and closing with a simple request: If you aren’t the right person I should be talking too, could you forward this to the right one? He responded with the email address of the director of mobile acquisitions. I then emailed him with the subject line, “via name of superior”. He opened the email immediately.

Most people, especially at a senior level, are willing to share the email address of the right person (especially if they are junior to them), even if it’s just to get you off their back. That works just fine for you.

5. Keep it brief and to the point
I could expound on this for a few pages…but that would defeat the purpose. Just keep it short and to the point. If they’re interested, they’ll ask for more. Just make sure you tell them what you’d like them to do – a call to action.

6. PS
Studies show that people tend to read the PS section of emails. It grabs the attention of the reader. So, use it to your benefit.

Bottom Line
Email can be an extremely effective marketing tool, as long as your emails are read. To increase your open rate keep them short and text based, craft personal or friendly subject lines and send them from a real person.