Tuesday, May 3, 2011

How to make sure your emails get opened

Elvis stands at the front of the stage... 

He flicks his hair back, jiggles his hips and asks the audience (mostly made up of screaming girls)... 

“Who wants to come up here with me for a slow dance, u-huh?” 

The crowd goes wild, everyone screaming for Elvis to ‘pick me, pick me!’ 

That crowd is your inbox. 

Every email in there is screaming for you to ‘pick me’! 

And let me tell you... 

Just like one fan wouldn’t think twice about elbowing another out the way to be picked... 

Neither will one email pull any punches when it comes to edging itself out in front so that it gets picked first. 

But you know that, right? 

You know that because you’ve got your own inbox. 

And I bet there are a ton of emails in it all jostling for your attention, just like this one was a minute ago before you decided to open it. 

So, you’ve got your busy inbox and I’ve got my busy inbox and you can safely assume that all of your customers have got their own similarly busy inboxes. 

Here’s the thing then... 

Respect that. 

If you send an email to your customers make sure it’s worth opening. 

Two reasons... 

The first is from your customers’ viewpoint: 

I mean, imagine how peeved you would be if you loaded up your inbox and it was flooded with 50 emails all vying for your attention and you opened one particular email only to find that instead of telling you anything useful, it just told you there would be no email. 

There’s no link to an interesting article in the meantime or anything like that. Just a wasted email saying there will be no email. 

Polite? Come off it. Politeness would have been to mention it in the last email you sent and not waste someone’s time clogging up their inbox with an extraneous email. 

The second reason is from a business point of view... 

As you know, when you send out an email to your customers, you’re fighting against who knows how many other emails. 

By placing your email in the mix, you’re making a claim to your customer that your email is worth opening - otherwise, why would you send it? 

If your email is lucky enough to be opened, if it fights its way to the top of the pile, you sure as heck want to make sure your customer gets something out of it. 

Because if they don’t, in that readers mind – and it might even be on a totally sub-conscious level - you get a black mark against you.

Next time that customer is scanning their inbox they’ll see an email from you in the mix and as they consider which email to open first, as they scan over yours they’ll remember that black mark... 

They’ll remember the time they needn’t have bothered opening your email. 

And you don’t need me to tell you: too many black marks and your emails won’t even be considered. 

So, you can see from both a customer and business point of view that it’s so important to respect peoples’ inboxes. 

When you choose to communicate with your customers, make sure you’re communicating something useful to them. 

But don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to overdo it and flood them with information. 

It’s like I said on Wednesday when I showed you the email I’d received from a record company that gave me too many options... 

They invited me to listen to the bands’ album for free, buy the album, see them at some free shows and then book tickets to other shows. 

I’d have been much happier to have opened my inbox and found a nice simple email informing me I can listen to the new album for free at XYZ. 

So, when it comes to emailing your customers... 

In fact, when it comes to emailing ANYONE... 

To maintain a good relationship with the recipient make sure you get the balance right. 

Keep your message brief and make sure it’s useful. 

Do that and the emails you send will always be the ones that get opened.

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Thanx :)