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How to get people to actually open your emails

Over 144 billion emails are sent every day. Let’s take a look at how your emails can stand out from the crowd.

How to get people to actually open your emails

There was a time when people were excited to get emails. It was a magical period called ‘the nineties’, where the future looked bright, Friends hadn’t been ruined by Gen Z and you could buy things that didn’t have avocado in them.

Nowadays our main currency is avocado, and people are excited by physical mail and sickened by their email inbox – and who can blame them? According to Salesforce research, over 144 billion emails are sent every day.

That’s 20 emails per person every day or closer to 40 when you factor in that half the global population doesn’t have access to the internet. Add in those elderly relatives who can’t or won’t use the internet and children who don’t have email yet and suddenly you’re drowning in emails and avocado.

With that many emails streaming into our inboxes, it’s no wonder the open rate is less than 20%.

So what can we do to get people to actually open our emails? Here are some top tips.

It’s all about the subject line

A great email is one that gets opened, and that starts with the subject line. There’s lots of information out there about how to write a compelling subject line but you don’t have time to research that – you’ve got hundreds of emails you haven’t opened yet and your hands are covered in avocado!

Luckily, we’ve condensed ‘how to write a compelling subject line’ into three simple rules to follow.

  1. Keep it short – under 25 characters if you can or at least have the hook in the first 25 characters as that’s often all that will show on a phone screen.
  2. Make it clear why you’ve sent the email and what it is about. For example, “Where to buy avocado at half price”
  3. Make it personal and fun. Include their name if you can, use personal pronouns, and if the demographics are right, consider adding emojis. A lot can be said with an emoji and they’re incredibly eye-catching in a sea of text.

The copy

Your content needs to match your subject and the copy needs to be simple, clear, and easy to read on different devices. If your audience feels your email subject has misled them, they’re unlikely to open an email from you ever again, so if you email, “Sandra, It’s Your Birthday – here’s a present from us” and it’s a 5% off a $200 spend voucher valid for one day only, Sandra isn’t going to be happy.

Firstly, anything that requires you to spend money isn’t really a gift and secondly, even if it was, that’s a pretty crappy present by any standards.

Think about whom you are writing to and how they would want to hear what you are trying to say. If your copy doesn’t include the ‘who, what, where, when, why, and how’, then it’s not ready to send.

Leverage the preview text

On mobile devices and some desktop email clients, there is a short preview of the content of your email that the recipient sees. Usually this is the first few lines of your email so it will look something like, “Hi Seb, we’ve heard you’re a fan of smashed avocado on toast and won…”.

Leverage this preview text and write something different like “Avocado fan, we’ve got something you’ll love and the first taste is FREE”. Hook your reader with the opener and get to the point quickly.

Call to action

Finish your email with a call to action whether that’s purchase related, sharing something on social media, forwarding the email to a friend or asking them to call you. You’ve put all that effort into getting them to read your email so never finish one without first asking the recipient to do something.

Be clear about what it is you want them to do though, otherwise they’ll do nothing.

Any marketer will tell you that you have to send a lot of emails to get a little in return, but with these tips you should see an improvement in your open rate as you stand out from the crowd.

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