You may have heard rumors that email is on its way out. But make no mistake about it: email is still king when it comes to business communications—especially direct-to-consumer marketing.
Sure, text and group channel communications like Slack have made significant headway. But good ole email is still the way most people reach out, respond, and build relationships when they want to connect with new and existing clients.
The downside to this is email is everywhere. And it’s created a phenomenon known as “email blindness,” which is similar to the “junk mail blindness” people developed with its predecessor, snail mail.
Think about it: How many times have you emptied your (physical) mailbox, sorted what was important and then discarded the “junk” mail without a second thought?
Over the past two decades or so, we’ve adopted the same process with our email inboxes.
First, email providers started filtering annoying spam messages (and try to find anyone who didn’t celebrate that advancement!). Then Gmail, the world’s largest email provider, decided to further filter messages into “social” and “promotions” tabs to save you from doing it.
Now, fewer messages than ever are making it through the spam, promotions, and social filters and landing in your main inbox. And if an email actually does make it to your inbox, it still has to make your cut.
Will be one of the emails you delete immediately because it doesn’t appear important? Or will it be one of the thousands that sit unopened forever?
Getting Your Message Across
One of the most common business challenges you’ll face—and what’s keeping you from reaching more clients faster—is identifying how to make the email experience better for the people on your list.
As a coach or consultant, you have to deliver content your recipients want to read. An irresistible subject line might get them to click, but if what they get inside is always disappointing, they quickly develop email blindness to your emails.
So here are 5 ways to improve your email content and get more people to read what you’re sending them.
1. Make it personal
The biggest mistake marketers, salespeople, and business owners make when they email potential clients is sending cold emails.
If you don’t want to run the risk of falling victim to email blindness, make it a rule that you never send an email without a personal element to it. That could be anything from including your name in the “from” field to mentioning a mutual friend who encouraged you to send the email.
The easiest way to do this is simply add a sentence about how you met or why you’re contacting them, even if it was just from an introduction through their network of contacts. For example:
“Hi, Tom! I’m reaching out to you because Sarah mentioned you’re looking for someone to help you with your email marketing.”
Look at every single email you send to new contacts and ask yourself if the recipient will instantly know who you are. If the answer is no, you’ve got some work to do!
2. Be concise
Nothing makes a reader tune out like a wall of text or an email that looks like a small novel.
You have only a few seconds to capture your contact’s attention, so use it wisely.
And how many times have you seen an email come in that looks like this:
“Hi Rachel, I came across your article in Forbes and thought you might be interested in our service. If so, please let me know…”
Pretty boring, right?
Boilerplate text is easy to recognize and using it is a surefire way to make your new contact feel like you don’t care about them.
Here’s a better idea: Start with a personalized greeting, especially when you’re reaching out to someone for the first time. This reminds the reader who they’re speaking with and keeps things on a more conversational level.
3. Add a call to action
This is especially important if you’re using email as a lead generation tool or for outreach purposes. But it’s also good practice when you’re reaching out to someone for the first time–or at least after they’ve taken an interest in what you have to say.
A call to action is a sentence or statement that clearly tells the recipient what you want them to do next. It could be a prompt to book a call with you, or simply telling them to reply if they’d like more information about the subject of your email
No matter what the email’s intent, it’s smart to give clear guidance on what you want the reader to do next.
4. Keep the reader in mind
Before you compose your email, think about who will be on the receiving end. What are their circumstances? Are they a busy executive? A stay-at-home mom? An entrepreneur who’s juggling everything in their business? Whatever their situation, it’s important to write your email in a way they can relate to.
This also means keeping your tone and language appropriate. Use words that your audience would use themselves. That means using everyday language you’d use in a face-to-face conversation. (Yes, even slang sometimes!)
5. Use images and videos
The internet has an endless supply of content, and it’s all competing for your reader’s attention. You have to get creative to keep your reader’s interest. One way to do this is to occasionally add an interesting picture or gif to keep your reader curious and entertained.
You can use infographics or videos, too, but don’t use them just for the sake of using them. Choose ones that are relevant to your message. If you’re adding a video clip or a snippet from an article or blog, make sure you include a link to the full video or blog.
Even though text messages and messaging apps are popular ways to communicate with friends and family, email is still the most effective way for you to connect with prospects and existing clients.
If you’ve been working on building your email list and staying in contact with the people on it, give these email tips a try. You just might find you get better responses, avoid spam and other filters, and get more leads for your coaching or consulting business.