How To Write Emails That Get Responses

A guest blog by Natasa Djalovic (Marketing Manager at Autoklose)

Photo of a woman working on a laptop trying to get email responses
Photographer: Christin Hume | Source: Unsplash

Email marketing is one of the most affordable marketing tactics. We’ve all read that for every 1 dollar you invest, you get $44, which is awesome, but many marketers complain that IRL the situation isn’t nearly as great. Are the rumors that good ol’ email is on its deathbed true? By no means! The culprit behind ending up in spam and not being able to get email responses usually hides in plain sight.

A Brace Yourselves meme announcing a pointless email is coming

Sometimes it’s your ineffective subject line, deceptive copy, or the lack of CTA that puts your recipients off engaging with you any further.

Here’s how to fix it and have get email responses until your inbox overflows.

 

1. Create a Click-Worthy Subject Line

Your target audience consists of busy professionals with hectic lifestyles who, BTW, suffer from information overload. This means that you really have to make one heck of a first impression to get them to actually notice your email in their crowded inbox and feel compelled to open it.

Some of the tips for crafting and polishing a killer subject line include:

 

1. Less about me and more about you

Emails with subject lines such as:

2x your CTRs

or

Get 200 demos in a month

are telling your customers something of value is inside and if you don’t click on it you are missing out (FOMO).

An animated gif showing Jennifer Lopez throwing a stack of papers away, with the text Too Long, Didn't Read

 

2. Keep it short and sweet

Unless you opt for the KISS approach, it will be a kiss of death for your open- and click-through rate. Elaborate subject lines, which are longer than 50 characters won’t be displayed on mobile displays properly and in their entirety.

And if we bear in mind that most people check their email on their smartphones, it’s self-explanatory why using fewer words is essential. It would be a shame not to be able to finish your tho… 😉

Tips for irresistible subject lines

This example sums it all up and tells your audience what they can expect if they open your email.

 

3. Spark curiosity

While it’s not a good idea to deceive your recipients and lure them into clicking on your email only to discover that the subject line has nothing to do with your offer, intriguing them can do wonders for your open rate.

An animated gif showing the character Kramer from Seinfeld reacting shocked

Not many salespeople know this closing trick…

Of course, make sure to actually offer your prospects something useful and valuable. So, tease them, but deliver.

 

4. Ask a question

This one usually works best when it’s paired with pain points and issues that your audience experiences. Yes, we advise you to play on their vulnerabilities and capture their attention immediately by mentioning something that has been giving them much trouble.

Struggling with poor deliverability rates?

Such a subject line uses the power of negative emotions and reminds your prospects about their problems, but also implies that your email offers a solution. The trick is to live up to their expectations and offer something of value. So, don’t try to oversell yourself, because you can only fool people once.

 

5. Use numbers

Lists indicate that your content is easily digestible and scannable. Nobody wants to read chunky paragraphs and waste time trying to make sense out of the main point. Numbered lists are much easier on the eyes and brain, and they allow your recipients to quickly find the information they need within the body.

7 tips for improving your deliverability rate

This subject line shows the recipient exactly what’s in store for them. It states what your email talks about and promises your prospects content that their brains can easily process.

 

6. Make each and every prospect feel special

It’s no secret that successful companies who want to get email responses use sales email automation for their email outreach. But that doesn’t mean that your campaigns have to be generic and sound as if C-3PO wrote the copy or else you’re doomed!

An animated gif of Taylor Swift accepting an award, subtitled "You made me feel so special right now! Thank you!"

Autoklose, the intuitive sales automation platform, offers personalization tokens which will help you build rapport with your audience and make them feel as if they’ve just received a carefully penned 1-on-1 email. Moreover, you don’t have to use only predefined tokens – Autoklose lets you create your own and personalize your campaigns to your heart’s desire.

Mike, you’ve left an item in your shopping cart

Awww, a big company like XYZ thinks about you and reminds you to complete your purchase. How sweet is that?

And this is just the first layer of personalizing. To make it even more likely to get email responses, opt for an even more advanced approach and go well beyond the first name and location level.

 

7. Be witty and controversial

You can bet that a funny subject line with a punch will catch the eye of your prospects.

An animated gif showing the character of Lisa Simpson, subtitled "There are gonna be a lot of heated blogs on this topic."

Let’s admit it – people also love shocking news, gossip and attention-grabbing headlines.

However, you should know and understand your audience very well if you plan on using this approach, because when you’re using such potentially flammable subject lines, the situation can quickly escalate out of hand.

Why your subject lines suck

This isn’t the most controversial example, but it still catches your audience off-guard and invites them to think about what they’re doing wrong.

It’s worth noting that you should stay away from politics and religion as these two topics are too sensitive and can lead to a huge backlash.

You can find this topic discussed in more detail in this blog post Crafting Killer Subject Lines.

 

2. The Anatomy of the Effective Email Body

Now that you’ve got your prospects to open your email, it’s time to show them what you got and make sure that they don’t regret their previous decision.

 

1. Tweak your preview text.

This is an additional chance of extending your message beyond these couple of words from the subject line. Use it cleverly to emphasize a sense of urgency and include the main takeaway of your email.

 

2. Don’t talk your recipients’ ear off.

This is an email, not an ebook, and you’re trying to make a point and get your message across in an effective way. Don’t get carried away trying to cram an overload of information in your email. Besides, the most important element of your message is your CTA, so don’t bury it under an avalanche of text.

 

3. Don’t use industry jargon and sound as natural as possible.

People want to receive simple and to-the-point messages. Leave your hi-tech phrases for industry events and meetups.

An animated gif showing the character of Alan from The Hangover doing intense calculations in his mind, representd by floating scientific formulas.

It’s also worth noting that your email should look like as if it’s written for your friends and family – don’t use caps lock, don’t capitalize every letter in your subject line, and forget about spam words.

However, given that even “free”, “discount”, or “amazing” trigger spam filters, it’s a good idea to check out a list of the most common spam words. Or use the Autoklose Template Analyzer which highlights every single spam word or phrase within your email message and improves your deliverability rate.

 

4. Don’t brag about your product’s features.

Your prospects don’t care about the technical specs of your latest product. They want to know how it can help them and make their life easier. Switch from talking about the features to describing all the benefits they can experience if they opt for your offer.

 

5. Beware of the clutter.

No matter how much you want to let your prospects realize that all your products and services are just perfect for them, stick to a single offer within your email. Several different offers will turn your message into a hot mess and your recipients won’t know what exactly you want them to do.

Similarly, by including more than one or two links or images, you’ll actually catch the email service provider’s attention and the risk that your message will end up in spam. Only commercial emails and promotions have tons of images and links within their body, and you definitely don’t want Gmail to put you in that category.

An animated gif showing the character Kip Dynamite seated behind a computer typing. Superimposed text says "Blah Blah Blah E-Mails lie."

 

6. Do follow up!

All these tips listed above won’t help you get email responses unless you are persistent. One or two messages won’t make the cut, which means that the reason behind your poor response- and click-through rate might be that your recipients simply forgot or were too busy – and you failed to remind them to have a look.

Check out this no-nonsense guide on how to follow up effectively.

 

3. Make your CTA’s shine

As we’ve mentioned, a CTA is crucial to ensure you get email responses, so it’s important to make it as prominent and powerful as possible.

 

1. Do use imperatives and action words

You need to encourage and prompt your recipients to click on that button and sign up, download, buy, read, or subscribe for your product or service. So be straightforward about it and tell them what you want them to do loud and clear.

An animated gif of the characters of Spongebob and Squidward arguing. Spongebob used the word 'imperative'.

 

2. Use positive reinforcement

Tell your audience what will happen if they click on that CTA button, i.e. how they will benefit from it.

Buy now and get free shipping

Subscribe and receive a gift

Sign up and boost your open rate

 

3. Make it stand out

Much has been debated over the best color for CTA, but in the end, it all boils down to opting for a color which will increase the contrast between your CTA and the background. A contrasting color is always a good idea as it distinguishes your CTA from your brand’s color scheme.

 

4. Place it high in your email

Sometimes people get distracted or simply stop reading your email because it’s not engaging. To prevent that, place your CTA high in your email body so that it can attract your recipients’ attention immediately and get them to engage with your content.

 

How to get email responses, in a nutshell:

If you want to get email responses from your recipients, you should treat them like real people, and not just ATM’s who will pay for your product and service. These tips will help you humanize and personalize your email outreach and make it engaging.

 
A little about Natasa:
Natasa Djalovic. Marketing Manager at Autoklose. Avid meme & GIF promoter, cat lover, with content superpowers (psst, do not tell anyone).

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