Sunday, March 26, 2017

1 Important (Simple) Thing about Email Many People Overlook

Titles are (nearly) everything!

This applies to everyone who writes emails--not just marketers.

Many people think this only applies to marketers, but they couldn’t be any more wrong about that.  This applies to everyone who uses email.
Most marketers talk about “open rate,” trying to find ways to get more people on their “list” to open emails they send to them.

This is important, because marketers build a “list” to be able to sell or influence people, but if none of the people on the list is opening the emails, it’s tough to have any effect, no matter how good the info within the email is.

Recently, I’ve noticed a few benefits of writing good titles… and maybe more importantly, the downsides to writing insufficient (or even poor…really rotten) titles in our emails.

However, none of us write emails (or blogs, articles, etc.) hoping that we’re writing for nothing.  We (usually) want people to open up the email and read it.

At this point, it’s only fair to ask me…

What makes a good title?

In my opinion, a title should accomplish, at least, one of these things:

1. Make people want to open your email and read it
2. Make people understand what they’re going to read before opening it
3. Make it easy for people to find your email again when they need it later

Let’s take a closer look at each of these.

1. Make people want to open your email and read it
This is the one that probably needs the least amount of explanation of its importance but maybe the most about how to accomplish this.

Sometimes, you’ll want to provide a perfect summary within your title.

Example #1: Proposal: Making better email titles in company emails
Example #2: Article Summary about Email Titles + My Ideas

Any doubts about what you’ll be reading with these titles?
Other times, you’ll want to give just enough in your title… to provide some intrigue.

Example #1: 3 Simple Things That Will Make You More Money from Your Emails
Example #2: This will make you think!
Example #3: I just learned this great easy way to make extra cash

Think anyone might see these titles... and want to learn more?

2. Make people understand what they’re going to read before opening it
This is really just a repeat of “Part A” of the previous section, but I’ll spend a few extra words on this here… specifically about a select group of people.

This is really important for people who “forward” stuff.

Okay, you are forwarding this email to me, because…
--You want me to read it?
--Is it just for “my records?”
--Do you want me to respond to this for you?
--Do you want me to respond to YOU about this?
--Do you want me to take a certain action?
--Because you didn’t read it and are sending it to me “just in case?”

Have you ever received an email that was forwarded to you?

It amazes me how many people will forward an email to me without clarifying anything… and later tell me that “I sent it to you.”

To which I (often) respond, “Really?  When did you send it?”

After poking around, I realize that they DID send it, but I had NO way of knowing it… because they simply forwarded an email with a bad title (i.e. an email title that gave me no chance of realizing anything they wanted).

Example-Bad: RE: Summary about Email Titles
(Ever have 6 email replies in a row that pretty much look EXACTLY like this?)

What makes this example bad?

The reply asks a question about when we can meet to discuss this more?  It’s easy to miss, overlook… or forget later, which leads me to…

3. Make it easy for people to find your email again when they need it later
This is the most overlooked reason why it’s important to write a good title on our emails.

How often do you need to reference an email later?

Sometimes, we’re busy and see an email in our list and know that now is not the time to open it.  If we know what it’s about, it will be easier for us to remember to return to it later.  We won’t have to remember to “check your email.”  We’ll simply be returning to helping you, which happens to be in the form of answering that email… about that topic you mentioned in your (easy-to-reference) title.

Example #1: Summary: Meeting: Making Better Email Titles
Example #2: Idea: Another Way to Make a Better Email Title
Example #3: URGENT: Emails in Danger of Wasting Time

In Examples #1 and #2, you know what you’re going to get, and if the topic is important enough, you’ll be able to find them later (without having to re-open each individual email while you’re searching).

In Example #3, is there any question about whether the sender thinks it’s okay for you to “wait ‘til later” to respond?

Don’t be lazy about spending time making good email titles.  Take an extra moment or two thinking about your titles when you send an email to someone, even when you reply to it.  You’ll be glad you did.  Much more often than not, it will save you time and hassle later.  I guarantee that!

Of course, it helps to write a good email, too, but does it really matter nobody reads it?

How do you get people to open your emails?

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