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Almost Everyone Is Deleting Your Direct Mail — Here’s Why

Email marketing

When you send out a marketing blast to your email list, only a small fraction of the recipients actually open the email. Experian Marketing Services estimates the fraction of email openers is about 6 percent of the email recipients.

We’ve written about email marketing before and pointed out that “the subject line is the most important factor in whether someone opens your email.” It’s what helps convince your recipient that the message they’re receiving from you isn’t spam, but instead is something relevant to them and helpful.

Let’s take a closer look, courtesy of this post in Small Business Computing. They write that:

Creating content that provides real value to your readers is a great start, but only if they actually open your email. You need to hook ’em first with attention-getting email subject lines, so they will open your messages and get to all that great content.

They list five strategies for hooking someone: humor, call to action, personalization, exclusivity/offer, and how-to — along with some examples:

  • “At work? Don’t open this email.” — J. Crew
  • “Open me. I’m kinda awesome.” — Orbitz
  • “Janine, you have 5,000 loyalty points!” — Jordan Winery

There are definitely more than five ways to grab a reader’s attention, however. Ultimately, any strategy you use boils down to one thing: curiosity. People open email because they’re curious what’s inside. People don’t open email because they can already tell by the sender and the subject line that it’s irrelevant to them.

Which brings us to two points:

  1. In the subject line, say something that will lead the reader to natural questions. “Our new promotion has doubled our sales — it’s not too late.” People will want to know what it is.
  2. Make sure you deliver. It could be the greatest subject line ever, but if people open the email and the content doesn’t satisfy, your recipients will forever be distrustful. That Orbitz line, for example: If it’s not actually “kinda awesome” then I’ll be kinda disappointed.


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