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7 Tips to Improve Your Email Open Rates

In sales, there’s no better mechanism than the phone for connecting with a prospect. But at times we’re challenged with reaching out via a colder, voiceless tool: email. Maybe the phone’s not an option because you don’t have a good working number, or the prospect might have requested not to be contacted by phone, or you may already have shouted hello into the voicemail void a couple of times.

Back in the day, email was exciting—You’ve got mail! Now everyone and their old Uncle Mort has an inbox, and even Uncle Mort finds it socially acceptable to ignore emails. Prospects who don’t owe you a thing can easily play like no one’s home when your emails come knocking.

These days, the marketplace is as swamped as most people’s inboxes, so your emails need to stand out to be noticed. Here are some tips for making your best “e-impression.”

Streamline Your Subject Line
To get your email opened, you need an effective subject line.

  • Like a tiny elevator pitch, your subject line should be as attention-grabbing as possible. Make it short and quickly understandable. Most email platforms show less than 60 characters of the subject line and the rest is hidden. Be clear instead of cute: If the prospect doesn’t know what you mean right away, they won’t dive deeper and actually open your message.
  • Resist using words like “free,” “buy,” “order,” “clearance,” “bargain,” etc. They might make a prospect believe they’ve been spammed, in the unlikely event your email made it past their junk folder.
  • Localize your email. Marketing teams have overused the device of the “personalized” email. Using your name in the subject line doesn’t always feel personal or special, just brown-nosingly transparent. Instead of Hey Bob-ing your prospect, go local by including the region or city in your subject line. That way, they’ll know you’ve done your research.

Timing Your Message
Be strategic about when you hit “send,” taking into account factors like job title, office location, and industry. If the prospect is a Monday-through-Friday, 8am-5pm type, don’t send your business email on Monday mornings, when everyone’s playing catch up.

C-level execs might be open to reading an email they receive on a Sunday evening while they’re prepping for the week ahead; during conventional work hours, they might not have the bandwidth to read your email.

What’s in a “From Name”?
In these jaded email days, people are wary of senders they don’t recognize. If you work for someone else, your “from name” most likely follows the straightforward naming conventions of your organization and was set up by IT. If you’re in business for yourself and have to set up your own email server, don’t let your freak flag fly with the “from name.”

Go Mobile-Friendly
Big, crazy email templates don’t always render properly on small-screen devices. Your marketing team knows how to adjust for different devices, so leave the email razzmattaz to them. Repeat with us: My email must be readable to be read.

Life Is Tweet
Follow your prospect on social media. Not only will that give you name recognition with them, they’ll know you’re interested in and involved with what they do.

Always be sure to include a clear call to action (CTA), in particular with a prospect who doesn’t know you from a hole in the ground. Let them know what you have to offer and the ways it will benefit them. The call to action might be that you’d like to learn more about their business, and that you’d like them to consider letting you help them with your products and services.

Know When to Fold ‘Em
Email can be an uphill slog. If you’ve gone the distance repeatedly and gotten no traction with the prospect, draft a classy walkaway email. The message there should be that you’ll close their account if you do not hear back from them. Then, hit send. You’ll be surprised the impact this final email often has on the psychology of your prospects, tempting them to finally respond to you.