How often do you check your email? I often say that I need a 12-Step program to wean myself away from compulsively checking my email 10-15 times a day. Of course at work, my email is always open, but my personal email account is where I receive everything from news from Lance Armstrong (don’t worry, just his Livestrong organization, I’m not friends with Lance) to being inundated with sale announcements from my favorite retail chains. I get so many emails a day, that often times I browse the subject lines of the emails and unless something really stands out to me, I will delete them all!
The first practice with engaging your clients through email is to come up with a subject line that compels them to open that message. It’s easier said than done. A subject line that is attention grabbing is the most important part of staying in front of your consumers—it is a matter of opening or deleting. Your subject line should give an indication of what is within the content of the email, to gain the interest of the recipient. Once you gain their interest, they are more likely to open the email.
Once your recipient has opened your email, you want to make sure they aren’t overwhelmed by the amount of information presented. E-Newsletters are unique in that you are providing information that you believe they will be interested in, you are trying to educate them. As a rule of thumb, don’t let your content end below the fold, keep them engaged and interested, but don’t bore them. You want to make sure once they close the email or delete it, they have come away with some new knowledge of what you are writing about.
The first paragraph is key to gaining their attention. When I was in college it was always important that you started off a paper with a strong opening, as that created awareness for what your topic was, but also provided interest to your reader. If you can hook them in the beginning, then they are more likely compelled to continue reading.
After having written hundreds of E-Newsletters of varying lengths, I like to try and get all my information delivered to my reader in three, succinct paragraphs. I have a strong opening, a middle paragraph that educates the reader and a closing that wraps up the article, but also drives them to my website to learn more. Driving traffic to your website should ultimately be the goal of your E-Newsletter. I often wrap up an email with an opportunity for the reader to learn even more about the subject at hand, by placing a call to action at the end of the article.
Remember to keep your emails short, sweet and to the point. In today’s fast-paced society, people don’t have the time to sit for ten minutes reading an E-Newsletter. Don’t pack any punches; be straightforward with your content. Once your readers know what to expect in terms of length, you should notice more opens, reads and clicks to your site. And just remember, catching their attention is the first step in catching their business.