July 8, 2014

How to stand out in an increasingly full inbox

Written By Martin Sandhu


Email marketing has long been a popular technique for businesses of all sizes. Now emails are easier to access seeing as most people carry a smartphone with them wherever they go. As a result, email marketing is more popular than ever.

However, with more emails being sent, it is harder than ever before to stand out in the inbox. So what can you do about it?

Focus on the subject line

The subject line is the only thing that recipients will see when they glance at their inboxes. It will determine whether or not they open the email. As a result, this is the most important area of focus to attract their attention.

However, this is easier said than done. Short is good when it comes to subject lines. Keep yours to no more than about 10 words, especially because many people read emails on smaller mobile screens. The only exception is when you deliberately want to leave off a few words to create intrigue and encourage them to click on your email.

Make your subject line urgent if you can. An offer that is only available for a limited time will encourage more people check out the details of the email.

You may want to focus on creating intrigue, perhaps by posing an interesting question and providing the answer inside. For example: “How does Google rank your website?”

Like headlines in sales letters, whole books have been written on subject lines and they are not easy to perfect. Essentially, you want to get your recipients to stop for just a second or two, just long enough for them to decide to click on it.

Personalise your content

Customers like to feel that they are important to you, and you can reflect this in your emails. At the most basic, you can use their names in the emails rather than a ‘Dear valued customer’ or something similar. If you have a database of customers and you are sending a mail merge it is simple to do this and the change in viewing rates will be worth your time setting it up.

However, you can go further than this. You can target different emails at different customers depending on how they signed up to your list. Did they buy a product from you within the last week? Have they not bought anything from you in over six months? Did they take advantage of a special offer? Did they reply to a questionnaire? Create emails that speak directly to them and then reference this in the subject line to make them stand out. Tailor this to your business. So if you are an e-commerce firm you may want to target shoppers who have abandoned their baskets after spending time selecting products.

Double check before sending

Nothing will put recipients off like a spelling mistake or getting their name wrong. This is one easy way to get your email sent straight to SPAM. Check that the right name will come up and go over all the details, paying special attention to the subject line. Then get someone else to double-check it for you.

Write consistently interesting emails

By far the best way to stand out is by making people want to receive your emails. If you can get to the point where they see your name and want to open it, you’re onto a winner. However, this takes time and consistent effort. If recipients know they will get useful and interesting information, or special offers unique to them in every single email, you can almost guarantee higher open rates.

Make your emails stand out

Email marketing can increase traffic to your website, boost sales and build loyalty. However, you must get your emails read first. Start experimenting with these tips to improve your emails. What works for one marketer may not work for you, so in the end it comes down to experimentation. You could try sending the same email with 2 different subjects lines and then analysing the results. Find out what is working best, then work on these even more to maximise your open rates.