Thinking outside the inbox: why you need an email strategy

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Growing up, we’re always told not to judge a book by its cover — meant to be taken both literally and figuratively. But, when it comes to reading, we still blindly ignore that lesson by quickly judging every book by its “cover” or title.

Think of emails as a trimmed down version of a book—they can be serious, funny, or an absolute waste of time. Every book has a cover, but with emails, the cover is the subject lineThe first impression and defining moment where a recipient will either open your email or toss it in the trash. That’s why it’s important to craft a subject line that is compelling, while maintaining your brand’s voice and tone.

There are many subject line techniques that you can use to draw people in. Some focus on creating a sense of urgency — giving the recipient a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out), some are more personalized, while others pique reader interest — leaving them wanting more.

As we hear all the time now — in 2019, our attention span is a little lacking. In fact, it’s been compared to being less than that of a goldfish. A GOLDFISH! Wait, where was I? Right, attention span. An important rule of email writing is being able to quickly grab your reader’s attention.

It’s a delicate balance of being both appealing and informative. If you want your reader to understand the message behind your email, it’s important for them first to read the damn thing. You shouldn’t beat around the bush with a cryptic subject line, but also don’t give everything away. Email marketing is similar to fishing — you first have to get them to take the bait (subject line), hook them to read more (opening), then reel them in as fast as you can with your content.

“Email is still the number one most effective one-to-one communication channel for marketers.” — Adobe

According to the Radicati Group, there are roughly 3.9 billion email users worldwide. That’s over half of the world’s population! Imagine the possibilities of an email campaign coupled with a strong strategy—they’re endless!

Quick recap, for the forgetful:

Subject Line

  • Your readers’ first impression.
  • Avoid being gimmicky.
  • Instill a sense of urgency and curiosity.
  • Personalization is helpful.
  • Build anticipation of what’s waiting behind the subject line.

Grabbing their Attention

  • Keep things short, sweet, and to the point.
  • Emphasis on “to the point.” You have minimal time to engage and inform before the reader loses interest.
  • Find the balance between being engaging and informative.

Emails are Effective

  • The most effective one-to-one communication channel for marketers.
  • 3.9 billion email users worldwide.
  • Relevance is key — whether that is demonstrated through a strong subject line or the opening paragraph. Misleading subjects can lead to credibility loss, not only for your email, but also your brand.
  • One crucial tactic that brings an email strategy from “good” to “great” is staying true to your brand’s voice.
  • As strategies change and evolve, the important thing to remember is to be genuineeffective and creative. (Remember you’re writing for the attention span of a goldfish.)

Jordan is an intern with VERB Interactive — a leader in digital marketing, specializing in solutions for the travel and hospitality industry. Find out more at

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