People spend only about 2 seconds to whether to open an individual email or ignore it (or delete it). They make that decision based on the 5 basic elements of an Inbox display:
Recipients take in those five factors almost instantly and make what appears to be a snap decision about whether the email is worthy of attention.
What's actually happening, though, is that recipients are asking themselves nine specific questions each of which influences the "snap" decision:
- Am I busy right now? Emails sent during peak work hours are less likely to be opened at the beginning or the end of the day.
- Do I know this person? Emails from apparent strangers are less likely to be opened than emails from people whom the recipient already knows.
- Does this person work in my company or network? Emails from unfamiliar address are less likely to be opened than internal emails or those from known.
- Is this professional or amateur? Emails from generic email servers (like Gmail) or off-brand URL addresses (like ".us") are less likely to be opened than those from unique ".com" or ".org" addresses.
- Does this person know me? Emails that begin with "Dear..." or "Hi..." are less likely to be opened than emails that simply begin with the recipient's first name.
- Is this relevant? Emails with generic-sounding subject lines and teasers are less likely to be opened than those that immediately tie into the recipient's job and goals.
- Is this SPAM? Emails with subject lines and teasers that that contain SPAM words like "free" and "guarantee" are less likely to be opened than those that don't.
- Does this sound salesy? Emails with subject lines and teasers that are sound like something a salesperson would say (like "What if I could save you...") are less likely to be opened than those that don't.
- Will this email be interesting or boring? Emails with subject lines and teasers that are run-of-the-mill are less likely to be opened than those that seem intriguing in some way or another.
You can greatly increase the likelihood that your email will be opened by carefully crafting your emails to create "YES" answers to as many those questions as possible.
Stay tuned, because I'll be explaining how to do this in future posts. I also discuss email issues like this in my free weekly newsletter.