Are you one of many who believe social media marketing has rendered email marketing useless? If you’re seeing low open and click-through rates on your email messages, then you may even believe you have proof. The problem is, you may be basing your assumptions on half-formed facts. Before you can abandon email as a tool for reaching you customers, you should first find out why no one is reading them. The reason may not be simply because your target audience likes Twitter better.

Personalize Your Subject Line

The very first thing an email recipient looks at—even before checking out who the email is from—is the subject line. If you’re wasting that powerful first impression on a generic subject, you’ve already lost the war. Personalization is key. Readers will be intrigued by an email that mentions them by name.

Beyond personalization, there are other ways to punch up your subject line. Make sure the most important words come first, in case the email client truncates the subject. Don’t use text-speak, all capital letters, or silly emoticons—unless, of course, your buyer persona is a thirteen-year-old girl. Excellent grammar and spelling are more likely to result in opened email, so always proofread before clicking send.

Fill in the “From” Field

A generic “from” field, or worse, an empty one, will result in deletion almost every time. If you’re not sure people want to hear directly from you, then maybe you’re not sending the right types of email anyway.

If you’re pretty confident those buyers want to see what your email is all about, take a chance and put your name on it, too. This is especially important if you’ve had personal, one-on-one contact with any of your buyers. They want to see you’re real, yes, but they also want to know they’re real to you.

Segment Your Contact List

If you’re simply blasting every email to every contact in your database, no freakin’ wonder your buyers delete them upon arrival. Do you think all of your female buyers want to read about the specials you’re running on men’s socks this week? Would customers who recently made a large purchase really consider making another so soon?

If you segment the list, fewer people get the emails, sure. But those who do receive them will be more likely to open, read, and maybe even respond. Learn where your customers are in the buying cycle and send your email accordingly. Are they gathering information? Have they spent some time comparing different products? Would a discount coupon push them over the edge into buying? You should know these things before you email. Reach out and meet those buyers where they are.

Mix Up the Send Schedule

How many messages do you send to your buyers each week? Are they already rolling their eyes when a new email hits their inbox? Sending too often or to regularly will dull the excitement of your message and eventually result in the dreaded unsubscribe. If they’re still on the list, you’ve still got time to fix the issue.

Instead of a constant barrage of emails, send only when you have real information for your customers. Segmenting your contact list can help a lot, but you still need to use good judgment before putting together yet another email. Are you sharing news once per week? Consider sending every other week or even monthly. That way, when you do have special sales or contests, your readers will be more likely to open your messages.

Test, Test, and Test Again

If you really want to know what works, then you need to test your emails. Create two subject lines and then see which receives the most attention from your buyers. Then test the body of the email. Do people respond more to a light, teasing tone or do they want something serious? After testing the whole audience, then test on your segmented contacts. You might find a little sarcasm goes a long way with your younger customers while professional is the way to go with your older demographic. You can’t know any of these things if you don’t test.

Are you ready to see your email open rates skyrocket? Try putting these tips into effect one at a time and watch your readership grow. And if you hit a snag along the way or need a creative boost, we’re always here to help.

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