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  • Writer's picturePaul Thienes

Get Your Email Delivered, Opened and Read With These 5 Tips

Updated: Jan 22, 2019

Back in the olden days, marketers communicated with their customers via snail mail.  This was a very expensive and somewhat dicey proposition – paper and postage costs were high, and we were at the mercy of the good old USPS to get our messages delivered.  Then came the miracle of email marketing, with its amazingly low cost of delivery and the instant gratification of immediate reaction from our recipients.  Since then, we’ve binged on email by sending lots of messages, sometimes without regard for the basics of direct marketing that we used long ago when communicating was costly.

If we want our messages to be read during the all-important O-N-D holiday season, it’s time for a refresher on what makes email work.  Here are our top 5 tips for email success:

1.) Personalization and Segmentation The most important determinant in getting our emails opened is the ‘From’ line, which should create trust.  Email should be coming from a real person, such as Kathie@WineryABC, not info@WineryABC.  Remember that folks signed up for our list based on the relationship they have with us.  With some email service providers, the ‘From’ line changes each time, requiring the recipient to add each one to their safe list.  This can be a real deterrent to getting emails opened.

Personalization includes addressing the customer by name, and signing off with our name as well.  We’ve gotten pretty good at starting with ‘Dear Kathie,’ but we’re not as good at saying ‘Cheers from Paul.’  None of us like one-sided relationships, so let’s end the message with our name.

The list is the most critical component of direct marketing.  Let’s make sure that we send our message only to the readers who are interested in our topic.  Don’t send cat food coupons to dog owners since that will cause them to unsubscribe.

2.) Subject Line The subject line is the #2 determinant on whether our email gets opened. 

First and foremost, stay out of your recipients spam folder.  Improve your chances of getting through spam filters by avoiding use of all caps, special characters, emojis and exclamation marks.

Don’t repeat the winery name as it is included in the ‘from’ line, and therefore would waste valuable email real estate.  Start with a verb to tell readers what we want them to do – Try This… Join Us…  Don’t Miss…

There are mixed reviews on including the recipient’s name in the subject line.  Some say it makes a dramatic difference, others say it’s TOO personal.  Test to find out what works best.

3.) Design a Template Invest in designing a great email template so that it’s ready to go when we are.  This will save a lot of time if all we have to do is pour in the new copy and images.  Make sure the template is mobile-friendly.

4.) Copy Pointers Briefer is usually better.  Reading our email shouldn’t look like too much work.  When there is a lot of material to convey, use short snippet and then a link for ‘Read More’ to direct the reader to our website.  Use exclamation points sparingly!!!!  Everything can’t be that exciting.  Use ALL CAPS sparingly – this is the equivalent of shouting.  Remember that $20 looks less expensive than $20.00.  We also need to convey our unique brand message, so we need to be sure to reflect our unique personality in the tone of our content.

Proof like our revenue depends on it – because it does.  Have a second person proof email drafts to be sure that there are no typos.  Test, test, test to make sure that links are working.  Ideal email systems provide the capability to edit links after the blast has occurred to correct undiscovered errors.

5.) Images and Links Use ‘make you want to be there’ images, and be sure to size them so that they aren’t so large that download times kills reader interest. 

Provide a link to view the email in a browser window, and another link to forward to a friend. Have multiple links to your purchase page, and multiple links for the Call to Action.  Images should all be links to the pertinent page on the website. 

Ready-Set-Go - let’s get our emails read!

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