1. Don’t forget to delete “display images” at the top.
Why? Because otherwise, it’ll land in your customers’ inbox, showing “Display images…” as the subject line. And not only will it look obviously like a mass email, it’s also not a very great way to excite anyone to click into your message. And like it or not, that’s your job: First to encourage a click into your email, then to encourage them to read the first sentence, and then to encourage them to read the next sentence.
Remember: People have zero attention spans these days. Think about how many emails YOU delete sight unread.–
2. Violate the reader with your subject lines. (Not like THAT.)
As we’re talking about in our Six Appeal Process class right now, brains love surprises. To the brain, a surprise means you weren’t prepared for something. And if you weren’t prepared for something, then you must not know something. So your brain kicks into high gear and sends your attention span reeling for more.
Translation: Your subject lines don’t need to shock and awe, but an element of unexpected that tickles curiosity is a good strategy, because it’s difficult for the brain to ignore it. Surprise happens when a human’s guessing mechanism fails. You need to break the pattern.
How does one do that? Violate the reader. Not like that, you guys. But violate their schema of what they think is going to come next in a line, a sentence, a paragraph, and even a word. When you help others view everyday or complex concepts in a new light, it’s like they’re seeing things for the first time, like a child. And it gives them a reason to pay attention to it.
3. Don’t make it hard for people to read what you wrote them.
There are a few things that fall under this umbrella:
Making sure your emails can actually be read on those brilliant devices called telephones.
Yes, telephones, with a T – forget about “mobile devices.” Hey there Maryann, do you know where I left my mobile device? Said nobody ever. It’s called a phone, and 66% of Gmail is read on them. Jesus christ, right? So make sure that 66% of the people reading your emails don’t have to scroll up, down, left and right to finish the sentence. If it’s annoying to read your emails, nobody will. Fact.
Don’t be stingy with white space – it’s free.
When people see huge chunks of text, their brains register it as “work.” (We’re talking a lot about brains today, okay?) And who the hell wants to do more work? …especially if they’re expecting your email to be yet another promotion. People do not want to feel sold to as it is; they’re even less enthusiastic about doing WORK to figure out what you’re saying in order to then feel sold to.
Try ditching all of these “templates” with all the colors, zig-zags, sidebars and extra columns.
Unless you’re J. Peterman and you’ve got a fancy ass design team, stick with a regular, plain white email. Know why? Because it makes things more personal, more human, more readable, more inviting, and less like some kind of advertisement. Sign up for Paul Jarvis’ Sunday Dispatch and you’ll see how sometimes, simple can be GORGEOUS.