A recent study by MailerMailer found that overall consumers are opening fewer marketing emails. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, especially given the quantity of wanted and unwanted email that an individual user receives each day. But the truth is that we’re not going to stop sending it, we’ve just got to get smarter about what we send.
When you figure that an average email gets 5 seconds to catch the attention of the user before they delete it (a handy stat provided by the folks at Strategic Fusion when they are calculating time saved using SPAM filters), it becomes increasingly important to make the message easy to view and compelling to read. Beyond really compelling subject lines (a must have if you want anyone who doesn’t already know you to open your message), the next thing to consider is compelling and easy to view content.
A table of contents works wonders to help a reader decide whether there is anything of interest inside. When placed at the top (as they should be), these are viewed easily through the preview in Outlook and help readers decide whether to open or move on.
Brief articles filled with links and short paragraphs make content easy to scan and allow users to jump right to the good stuff.
Offers continue to work in nearly everything you read. Just look at the original study posted on this subject and you’ll find a downloadable white paper that extends the topic.
Sometimes just tweaking your graphics helps. DIY-ers encounter a great deal of problems with the templates currently available from all of the common email marketers. The problem has to do with the way Outlook 2007 sees graphics versus the way users of Outlook 2003 see them. Avoiding header graphics with superimposed text will solve this problem but unfortunately newsletters go out every day to readers who delete them thinking the sender is a dork.
There is much debate lately about form versus function. We have one client who doubled his open rates when he abandoned graphics altogether and went for a text based message. I can’t say this holds true for everyone but it is definitely worth experimenting.