Top Tips On How to Get Your Emails Opened and Read

There are four major challenges of email marketing. I’ve already covered how to guarantee your email gets delivered here. That’s the first challenge. Now we’re going to talk about getting your emails opened and read.

Inboxes are typically cluttered. You know that. Yours is. I know mine is. If you’re writing overly promotional copy, your emails will be buried in your recipient's crowded inbox, unanswered and worse, tossed into the garbage.

A successful email marketing campaign starts with a good email open rate. This will get you more click-throughs, more conversions, and more revenue.

In this post, I’m going to talk about the three key elements of getting your email opened, then I’ll explain what you need to ensure your email gets read.

Email marketing: How to improve your open rate

How to Get Your Email Opened

1. Use Your Name as the Sender.

People are more likely to open an email from a person, instead of a brand. Let me ask you this, what’s the first thing you think of when you see a brand name in your inbox? Probably that it’s going to be some sort of sales pitch. Maybe you open it. Maybe you don’t.

But getting an email from a name is different.

If you're subscribed to my email list, you’ll know my marketing emails show up with my personal name as the sender. So, you can see "Allan Dib" and not "Successwise." It's coming from allan@, not info@ or sales@.

Using your name as the sender of an email

This helps my subscribers to know they’re getting a personal email from me, Allan Dib. So they know I wrote it.

Whereas, using "info" or "sales," or whatever role-based email address is too generic. Aim to stand out. You want people to feel like they’re getting a personal note from you. That’s massively powerful.

2. Use a Domain Name.

Aside from using your name, your email should be signed by a legitimate website. As you can see, the "Show Details" box lets you check that my emails are signed by, which is our outgoing mail server.

Using a domain name for emails

Why is this important? I've seen a lot of phishing emails over the years and they're becoming more and more identical to the real ones. People need to know that they’re getting a legitimate email from you.

3. Use a Compelling Subject Line.

Like any good book, a title can draw you in or leave you wanting. I want you to think of your subject line like the title of a book. What’s going to pique the interest of your subscribers? What’s going to make them think, I have to know what this is about.

You can take in a subject line at a glance, so you literally have milliseconds to grab their attention.

But here's the tricky part: creating a compelling subject line. Unfortunately, there's no secret formula to crafting a great subject line. Instead, I like to keep it simple and catchy. Let your personality come through. Ask a question or make it the lead for a story you’ll tell in the email.

Here’s a few other handy tips to try:

  • Keep it short and sweet.
  • Don't use title case.
  • Leave the punctuation out.
  • Keep it personal and add the recipient's name.
  • Add an emoji if it's appropriate.
  • Tease the reader by creating some sort of intrigue.

So we’ve covered how to ensure your email gets opened, now let’s look at three key elements to getting your emails read.

How to make a subject line compelling and click-worthy

How to Get Your Email Read

1. Keep It Plainly Formatted.

Format your email like how you'd write it to a friend. As you can see, I don't use heaps of links, graphics, logos, and things like that. It's done on purpose because I want people (and spam filters) to feel like it's an email coming from a human being.

And think about it—emails from friends tend to be plainly formatted. No fancy, colorful visuals. No logos. Just text.  

Sample of an email with plain text

Now if you're selling something visual, like food or clothing, it makes sense to add images because your business is imagery-based. But generally speaking, text-based emails are the way to go.

2. Personalize Your Email.

I have 40,000 people on my mailing list and this figure continues to grow. But I write my emails like they’re just going to one person.

Use your subscribers name in your email

This is the best way to build a connection with a reader. Words like "you all" or "you guys" give an impression that you're sending an email to a group. It feels less personal, and you draw people away from you.

So even if your emails are going out to tens of thousands of people, write as if you're chatting to a friend over coffee. Write as if you're carrying on a conversation. Show your personality and attitude in your emails.

3. Tell a Story.

So many people get into professional writing mode when it comes to email marketing. They use overly formal words like:

  • I hope you are well.
  • Thank you for purchasing. . .
  • Here's more information about. . .
  • I completely understand how you feel.
  • Please do not hesitate to contact me.

These are all cliché email phrases that might either confuse or bore your readers. What's worse is after using these, many entrepreneurs dive instantly into a hard sell. This is not how email marketing works.  

Sample of an email with a story

What works is writing like how you speak in real life. Make it engaging. Tell a story. It can be anything funny or embarrassing that’s happened to you. If your readers can relate to your story or experience, you're more likely to get a response. And that should be the goal because email marketing is a two-way street.

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Take the next Step

Right, so you know you need to personalize your emails. You know you need to be sending emails from your personal account as opposed to your business name. What’s next? Start implementing.

Instead of sending a designed email template to your list of subscribers, try plain text. And measure the results. Change your business email address to your name. Play around with clever subject lines. Ditch the professional lingo and keep it casual. Lastly, don’t forget to add a story element to your email.

These are the ingredients to an email that gets opened and read. Next you need to focus on getting your email actioned. You can find out more about that here.

Before you go, what other tips would you suggest for getting more people to read and open your emails?

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