Last week, I walked through 3 reasons why email marketing is not dead nor dying.  If you don’t have time to read the entire article, then simply scroll down that page and you’ll see a graph illustrating how sales from email have quadrupled since 2009.  That’s an impressive stat, and what I find even more interesting is the fact that very few people talk about email marketing.

If you follow the media, then you would think more sales are flooding in from Facebook, Twitter, or maybe mobile apps.  Instead, old faithful email comes out ahead. In some ways, little has changed about email marketing since the old “You’ve Got Mail” AOL days.  Yet, it’s still one of the best online marketing tools available.

But there is a catch. Take a peek at any email inbox and you’ll see the glaringly obvious problem with email marketing. “You’ve Got Mail” has now turned into “You’ve Got Too Much Mail!”

Personally, I can’t open and read every single email that finds its way into my inbox.  There’s just not enough time in the day.  Some of it is spam that gets deleted right away.  Some of it is interesting, but not urgent so it gets filed away in a folder that I’ll read in the future.  I’m sure you can relate.  You probably have your own system to sort and selectively read your emails.

Which brings us to the topic at hand.  How do you get more of your emails opened and actually read by your prospects and customers?  I’ll give you 4 tips, but you really only need to remember the first one, and the other 3 will naturally fall into place.


Tip #1: Focus On the 1-on-1 Relationship

The most important factor in email marketing success has little to do with the actual email.  Sure, the other tips below are important, but they are all worthless if you don’t have a strong relationship with each individual on your email list.

To prove this point, answer the following question.  If your mom sends you an email, does it really matter what’s in the subject line or how the email is written?  For me, that’s a resounding no.  Half the time my mom doesn’t take the time to type out a subject line. I’m going to open and read the email regardless.  It doesn’t matter if the email is funny, entertaining, or even grammatically correct.

The reverse is also true.  I’m on a few email newsletters that for whatever reason I haven’t yet unsubscribed from.  It doesn’t matter how enticing the email subject line is, I’m not going to open it.  I don’t have a strong relationship with the sender so there’s no urge to read his or her emails.

For this reason, whatever you do with email marketing, you have to put the relationship above all else.  Always ask yourself if the email you’re about to send is going to strengthen or potentially weaken your relationship.


Tip #2: Use a Personal ‘From’ Name

This tip is really a follow up to Tip #1.  In order to build a strong personal relationship, I recommend you send your emails from a person, not a company.  No one wants to be friends with a company.  This is just another way of saying people want to do business with people.

That’s why our emails are sent from Phil Frost, not Main Street ROI.  Main Street ROI doesn’t have a wife and a daughter.  Main Street ROI didn’t run the marathon in huarache sandals.  Main Street ROI didn’t stay up late cheering for the Red Sox in the World Series. See my point?

I bet even if this is your first time reading one of my articles, you have some sort of connection with me after reading the 3 personal facts above.  That’s never going to happen if you send your emails from a faceless corporate identity.


Tip #3: Use a Benefit or Curiosity Subject Line

OK, now we’re getting into the nitty gritty tactics of email marketing.  Again, if you don’t have the relationship, then this tip is not going to work.  Or at best, it’ll work once or twice, but that’s it.

All emails should either focus on a benefit or on piquing curiosity.  During our Main Street Inner Circle member’s only training last week, I mentioned one of the best subject lines is “Frankly… I’m Puzzled.” That’s a great example of a curiosity-provoking subject line.

If you saw that in your inbox, then I’m sure you would be compelled to open up that email.  You’re almost forced to open it or else it’ll eat away at you not knowing why the sender is puzzled.  That’s the goal of a curiosity-provoking subject line: make it nearly impossible for your subscriber to ignore the email.

Also, you must always make sure the rest of the message is congruent with your subject line — or else you’ll damage your relationship with your subscribers.


Tip #4: Write Like You Speak

Finally, when it comes to the body of your emails, it’s important to write like you speak.  Avoid big words, industry jargon, and long run-on sentences.  Think about the types of emails you send to your friends.  Are they filled with long paragraphs and words most college graduates would need to Google to understand?  Of course not.

So again, it all comes down to building your relationship with the individuals on your email list.  If you do that, then you’ll have a much easier time cutting through the inbox clutter.