Email marketing means that you have to gain and keep your contacts’ attention while they are surrounded by an ocean of distraction. Each email has to re-engage the subscriber, almost from scratch.

Opening an email is not enough. We no longer read emails, rather, we scan them looking for the useful parts. Yet emails are the best vehicle we have to reach out to people, so we have to overcome their difficulties and make them work better.

Different Levels of Engagement

We go through a series of engagement levels with the messages in our inboxes. These levels include deletion, opening, reading and taking action.

There are two more levels of engagement that you need to avoid at all costs: unsubscribes and being marked as spam. Every email you send is another chance to annoy a customer. You can only avoid annoying people by keeping every email relevant, interesting and useful.

Emails as Elevator Pitches

Every email is an elevator-pitch, with a difference. You have to persuade people to OPEN your email before they can read the pitch inside it.

How long does it take you to run your eye down your inbox list of unopened emails? One or Two seconds probably. How many of those unopened emails do you delete in the next two seconds? Out of 10 emails, 8 deleted would seem like par for the course: 80% of marketing email is never even opened.

Your email engagement has to be good just to get into the elevator to make your pitch.

Open rates do vary by niche as the above chart shows, with customers opening more emails from companies they feel a connection with.

If getting INTO the elevator depends on the emails that companies send. The 10 people who will get into the elevator to pitch must prove that they have something worth listening to. Only 10 out of 50 will fit in. The other 40 emails are deleted, unopened.

You have to prove that your pitch has potential just to escape the delete button.

Increasing Your Chances of Your Email Being Opened

Your emails need to be opened before you can start to increase engagement levels.

  • Previous relationship – How useful your previous emails have been
  • Subject Line – A really strong subject line can get you an “open”
  • Opening sentence – Can be seen in the preview pane after the subject line. Readers can see this as well as the email subject line. It needs to be focused on how the reader will benefit

That’s it. Of the three a previously beneficial relationship will always win.

Progressing to the Next Engagement Step

Opens are not enough. Your subscribers have to read, rather than scan your email. Your opening two lines must persuade the reader that your email is going to be worth spending 20 seconds reading the whole thing properly, rather than just scanning it in 2 seconds.

Scans are worthless. You need to be aiming a lot higher.

There are five factors that you control. It’s up to you to maximise the effect of these factors:

  • Responsive
  • Impact
  • Relevance
  • Usefulness
  • Personal


Getresponse  shows that more than four out of five people do read their emails on their phones. More than half of those will delete emails that are not properly formatted without reading them.


Responsive is NOT an option. It is the first, easiest and most important step to engaging your subscribers.


A high impact goes far beyond the subject line and first sentence. Powerful writing can stop readers who are just scanning in their tracks. If you use the right words you can make your subscriber go back and start reading properly.

Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Use emotion-laden power words. Make your email stand out. If your reader loses interest just for one moment, then he or she hits DELETE.

There are no second chances. And that deletion means that your subscriber is less likely to open your future emails.


You might rave about the latest wonder-product to hit the stores in Canada. You promote this product to your entire subscriber list. Americans or Europeans are then annoyed when they find that the supplier only ships within Canada. Who do they blame? YOU.

Segmenting your list using location. Every email service lets you do this. Or use even micro email segmentation tactics. Doing so will avoid alienating people by sending them irrelevant information.


You might be promoting eBooks about dealing with menopause symptoms. Which subscribers will find your eBooks relevant? If you send this promotion to your whole list; male and female, young, middle-aged and old, then most will mark it as spam or delete it. Segmenting your list is vital to engagement.

Emails should only be sent if they are going to be directly useful to the recipient. The usefulness and relevance need to become more obvious with every word in your email. This is the only way that readers will click through and become buyers.


Sometimes it pays to make personal contact with subscribers and to send them individually written emails. Typically these will be people who have engaged with you in the past.

Everyone likes to be treated as a highly valued VIP and your personal email may be just the ticket to re-engage with past customers.

Composing Your Next Email

  1. Design made responsive – Done.
  2. Subject line and first sentence written with impact in min – Done.
  3. Powerful language used all the way through with no padding – Done.
  4. List segmented to ensure relevance and usefulness – Done.
error: Content is protected !!