The State of Email Or How to Catch the Lizard Brain

Doesn’t it seem like email is always being declared dead? Just like paper books, people keep State of Emailwanting to bury them; yet, like paper books, email lives on and thrives. Why? Because as long as we still depend on email for work, it is a great way to reach us. But, email marketing is different and trickier in 2016 then it has been in the past. Let’s discuss how.

1. An email address isn’t just an electronic mailbox – When the post office delivers snail mail to your house, it arrives in one big box. But for users of many email clients (such as Gmail which comprises almost 10% of all email traffic) incoming email gets automatically sorted into a bunch of boxes (primary, social, promotions, etc.). How much do you wish the post office would start separating junk mail from bills for you? In terms of email marketing, where your business’s email lands determines its fate. A great trick I have seen employed by marketers is to tell people in their first email to make sure that their emails go to the general mailbox so they don’t miss anything (“If you use Gmail, put us in your Primary tab”).

2. The subject line is everything – In a world where people are constantly overwhelmed by email, the subject line has to be compelling enough to induce users to open the message and you have milliseconds to convince them. If you aren’t spending much time thinking about subject lines, start! The psychological research on this is clear: if you want people to click on your email, you need to find a way to appeal to their “lizard brains.” This means writing subject lines that are more raw, emotional, and instinctive (For example, NOT… “Make the most of your new retirement plan,” BUT… “Are you saving enough for your future?”).

3. The more targeted the message, the better the likelihood of success – What do you know about the customer? Have they purchased something in the past? Did they sign up to get your free ebook? Use this information to help people remember that they know, love, and trust you. The more personalized you can make that email, the better. You could write subject lines like: “You signed up 2 weeks ago—how’s it going?” Or “Can I personally answer any questions about my ebook?” It’s also best to use your brand name and/or the name of the most recognized person at your business in the ‘From’ line. Keep in mind that it’s easy to get accidentally labeled as SPAM if you aren’t being mindful. Just think about what tips you off to SPAM in your own email inbox: email from addresses you don’t recognize; deceptive subject lines; ALL CAPS or using tons of exclamation points!!!; and overusing words such as “free,” “bonus,” or “prize.” So be clever rather than deceptive.

Do you have email marketing strategies that you use to catch the attention of your customers? Post in the comments below and let’s continue the discussion.