A lot about how people communicate has changed, and quickly—email, texting, social media, gifs, memes, you name it. Competition for consumer attention is high. And while email strategies that worked previously may not work today, don’t let anyone tell you that email marketing is a thing of the past. The key is crafting an email that will get read.

Email is a big part of our daily lives. With 3.9 billion daily users worldwide and a projected 4.3 billion users by 2023 (Statista 2020), email can play a vital role in your communications strategy. It’s a great tool to foster customer relationships, increase website traffic, and influence purchase decisions. In fact, one study shows that 59% of consumers say email marketing influences their choices. But, they have to read it first.

Let’s look at a few ways you can increase the chances your email marketing reaches its intended audience and, most importantly, inspires an open and gets read.

Create valuable content for your audience.

Think of an email you recently received. Why did you open it? What made you click through to read? It was probably something interesting, maybe there was a discount, or perhaps it made you laugh. See, although your ultimate goal is to sell your products or services, it’s not about you. It’s about your customer. By focusing on a mix of engaging content and sales and product information, you become a valuable resource to them.

Keep your email concise, to the point, and link to more information on your website. Always include a call to action to let your reader know what to do next. Do you want them to watch a video? Download a recipe? Letting them know what their next step is will lead to a higher conversion rate.

Stay on brand.

When designing your email, make sure it’s consistent with your brand. Use colors and imagery that people will see when they click through to your website to create a seamless brand experience. Don’t go crazy with the fonts; just because there are unlimited ones to choose from doesn’t mean you need to use them all. And don’t forget to proofread!

Craft compelling subject lines.

Your content and design might be incredible, but if the subject line doesn’t spark interest, there’s a good chance no one will even see it. To increase open rates and click-throughs, start with the subject. A few things to remember:

  1.  Keep it short. Subject lines can be cut off, especially on mobile devices, and with 77% of email opens happening on mobiles, its best to stick to fewer than nine words and 60 characters (MailChimp).
  2. Be honest about what’s inside. If you offer something in the subject line, make sure you deliver.
  3. Create a sense of urgency or importance. Is this a limited time offer or for valued customers only?
  4. Ask a question. Asking questions is a great way to pique curiosity and encourage an email open.
  5. Stay away from all caps and too many punctuation marks. Both of these can lead to spam flags by email providers.

Build a quality contact list and keep it up to date.

To build your email database, you need to give people a reason to sign up. Describe what people will get out of subscribing to your email and then provide them with plenty of opportunities to do so. Include CTA buttons throughout your website, post about your email newsletter on social accounts, and include links in your blog. And always get permission to email your database first.

It might seem like growing your contact list is the best way to make sure it reaches the most people, but this isn’t the case. Keeping your list organized and up to date is crucial to a successful campaign. Regularly remove bounced and unengaged addresses. There is no point in sending an email to people that aren’t going to receive or open it. Your overall deliverability will be affected, and your data skewed.

Track and measure metrics.

A good email program will include tools to track and measure your results. Analytics provide valuable data and insight, and any good program will make it simple for you to track the following:

  1.  Click-through rate – the percentage of recipients who clicked on one or more links within an email
  2. Conversion rate – the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a designated action (filling out a form or making a purchase)
  3. Bounce rate – the percentage of total emails sent that couldn’t be delivered
  4. Overall ROI  – the overall return on investment for your email campaigns (total revenue divided by total spend)
  5. Open rate – the percentage of recipients who open an email
  6. Unsubscribes – the percentage of recipients who unsubscribe from your send list after opening an email

Creating an effective email campaign is ultimately a mix of all the above. A healthy database and tracking the right metrics help ensure your email gets delivered. A compelling subject line increases your open rate. And knowing your audience and providing valuable content positions you as a trusted resource, they look forward to seeing in their inbox.