I'm betting the email I sent to my subscribers for this post gets a high open and click-through rate.
Why? Because I asked a question that we ALL want the answer to. And that, I've learned, is the primary motivation for getting my emails opened and read.
I should back up a bit and also state that for me a 30% open rate and 20% click-through rate is pretty good. You might do better than me, but I doubt it. You see, whether somebody opens, reads, and clicks through to my blog is impacted by a number of factors outside my control.
Timing has a lot to do with whether you open my email. Are you in the middle of a really important project or proposal? Are you distracted by a personal issue? Are you on vacation? You'll probably skip it.
Did you receive it late in the day? Did it arrive on Monday or Friday? Did it arrive with a huge batch of other emails? You'll probably skip it.
Does it come from someone who's tricked you before? You'll probably skip it. For example, yesterday I received an email from someone named Bibba Valenza with the subject line, "Radio TV Interview Request." Hey, I want interviews, so naturally I would open it! But it's bogus (you already figured that out, didn't you?). This dweebo doesn't want to interview me. He/she/it wants to sell me an ad listing in a directory. Yeah, deception ALWAYS makes me want to business with you.
Does it ask a stupid rhetorical question like, "Would you like to make $100,000, GUARANTEED?" You'll probably skip it.
Or does it address a problem you've been wrestling with? Does it ask a question that you've also been asking? You'll probably open it.
Does it spur genuine curiosity? Does it sound like a quick, but valuable read? You'll probably open it.
And most important of all, does it come from someone you know, like, and trust? You'll probably open it.
Oh, and lists work well, too.
Your subject line must be informative, interesting, urgent and specific to the person reading it. It makes no difference whatsoever whether YOU find it interesting. If you don't get what I mean, go watch my YouTube video about Two Hat Marketing.
And, as examples of my own, here are the subject lines of my all-time top five most opened and read emails:
bet you don't know the answer to these three questions
2. Nine reasons your marketing doesn't work
3. The three most important words in marketing
4. Can we learn a marketing lesson from a bank?
5. Do not make this stupid marketing mistake
BTW, you may not notice this, but all five have been in the last four months. I've been writing my blog for almost four years, so you see, I'm learning, too.
As an extra thought, I've also learned your From email should be friendly and seem like a real person. I know I've been guilty of not following this myself, but coming from firstname.lastname@example.org is way better than from email@example.com.
And, if you've got some other helpful, non-deceptive tips for getting your emails opened and read, please comment below!