A great deal can happen in three seconds. The Earth moves 89.4km around the sun. The sound of thunder can travel 3,300 feet. And someone on your marketing list decides whether to read, save or delete the email you sent them.
Actually, the fate of an email is decided in less than three seconds – the average email recipient decides whether to read or hit delete in 2.7 seconds. That’s how long they spend scanning the sender and the subject line before deciding if they want to find out more, if they are going to trash your email, come back to it, flag it in some way or read it. So you need to be sharp as to why you are sending it – in writing, in what you are sharing, and in your purpose.
Here’s what you need the recipient of your email to do:
- Open it
- Read it
- Do something – sign up for an event, download something, learn something, or be reminded of something.
The first hurdle is to share emails that people want to open and want to read, so they don’t simply hit ‘delete’ in those 2.7 seconds.
In order to get someone to open, read and act on your emails, you need to be targeting the right audience, have relevant content and be persuasive. In our Tribalist list-building course, we talk about the importance of sending emails from the most relevant person within an organization, and how to profile different audiences. We also talk about the need to send emails from a person, not from the business or a strange, impersonal or generic email address. Think about your own habits as an email reader. When you get an email from someone you know or trust – someone you work with, an authority you respect, or a family member – you make the decision to open it based on who sent it. So if you can use a name that is recognized, or has had a relationship with or been a point of contact for the recipient, then that’s a great start.
The next most important thing – the first piece of true copywriting – is the subject line. In summary, keep the subject line relevant and short – some people say five words, others say 50 characters. It’s important to remember how many people are opening emails on smartphones now. Though even if they are opening them on a laptop or PC, shorter subject lines are easier to process, get to the point and are more successful. So the subject line has to be direct, brief, relevant and compelling.
Your subject line sets the stage for that moment the reader decides whether the email is intended for them, if it’s something they should open.
Email is direct, cost-effective and – when it’s used correctly – is powerful. Want to find out more about how you can use email for sales? Sign up for our intensive list-building course designed for technology marketers and start-ups, Tribalist – next program starts October 11.