How to Write Irresistible Email Campaigns

How to Write Irresisitible Emails

Have you ever sent out an email campaign with great excitement and a sense of anticipation as you wait to see just how many of your clients take you up on your latest offer?

Three days later the open rate is disappointingly low, you feel like your hard work has gone to waste and you’re left feeling disheartened and bemused.

If you can relate to this scenario here’s what you can do to re-charge your email campaigns and achieve that high open rate you’re looking for!

Email Headings & Spam Filters

As with blogs, first impressions really count.

How are you going to entice clients to read YOUR email or YOUR blog when they’re already overloaded with information, articles, offers, invitations, etc?

MailChimp recently tested more than 200 million emails to find out what might entice a high open rate and what might trigger a low rate.  Results ranged from an open rate of 93% to as little as 0.5%.

After analysis MailChimp drew up a list of key words which they felt contributed to a low open rate:-

  • Help;
  • Free;
  • Percent Off;
  • Reminder.

Why did these particular words affect the overall success of the email campaign?

They triggered the recipients’ spam filters.

HubSpot identified similar words and compiled a comprehensive list according to business type, “The Ultimate List of Email SPAM Trigger Words“.

According to MailChimp, spam filters will also be on the alert for certain types of campaign headings which:

  • Talk about lots of money (.193 points)
  • Describe some sort of breakthrough (.232 points)
  • Look like mortgage pitch (.297 points)
  • Contain urgent matters (.288 points)
  • Contain a money back guarantee (2.051 points)

You’ll see that points are ‘awarded’ against each type of subject matter; if your email marketing campaign reaches a certain score it will be consigned to the “Junk” folder!

Spam filters will also be on the alert for certain kinds of font or the content (or lack of) in your email campaign. Avoid any of the following:

  • The word “Test” in the title when sent to multiple recipients in the same company.
  • Coloured fonts, such as bright RED or GREEN.

So now that we know what NOT to write, let’s take a look at what you can write and how to write it to ensure a high open rate.

1. Short, Snappy Email Titles

As I mentioned above, headlines are as important to an email campaign as they are to a blog.

HubSpot pointed out that,

An email subject line is similar to writing a call-to-action; using verbs helps create the sense of urgency and excitement you want them to feel when reading your subject line.

2. The Personal Touch

In subscribing to your blog or website for regular updates and newsletters, your clients have given you their email address in exchange for reliable, informative content from a trustworthy source.  Make sure you indicate how much you value that trust by ensuring that your emails come directly from you.  If I were to receive a generic looking email from “”, my first impression would be that I was just a number to this particular company and it certainly wouldn’t make me feel valued enough to read any further than the title.

Ensuring that the “From: … ” field in your emails is set up with your own personal name will give clients a sense of value and will also prevent the email from being filed immediately under “Trash”!

3. Appeal to the Emotions

Last week Rebekah Radice flagged up an article called, “4 Emotional Triggers that Increase Email Click-Through Rate” by Russ Henneberry from Digital Marketer. He identified four emotions that would just about guarantee a high open rate if included in the title of an email:

  • Gain – i.e. a recipient is going to gain something worthwhile or valuable to them if they continue to read your email.
  • Logic – i.e. having used emotional content to gain someone’s interest in a product or a service, you need to nail the sale using statistics, research or case studies based on logic.
  • Fear – there may be limited situations that this can be used but Digital Marketer flagged up an example used by an insurance company
  • Scarcity – i.e. enticing a recipient to act NOW and not later otherwise they will miss out. Don’t be tempted to use “URGENT” in the title of your email, however as it may get picked up in the spam radar!

Russ wrote the following email title to illustrate the points above:-

“Until midnight tonight [SCARCITY] and for less than it costs to fill up your gas tank [LOGIC] you can learn to stop a used car salesman from ripping you off. [FEAR]”

Jonathan Morrow from Copyblogger reiterates how the use of emotive, enticing or thought-provoking language will compel a recipient to click through to read the body of an email.

Copyblogger Jonathan Morrow

COPYBLOGGER: using emotional content will compel a higher open rate

4. Segment your Client List

Divide your client list into segments according to what kind of business they have.  For my own business I have segments for Lawyers, Freelancers and Alternative Therapists.

Make sure you send targeted emails or newsletters that are appropriate for each segment instead of sending one generic email to everyone. As you can imagine, what interests a lawyer will be entirely different to what interests an alternative therapist so by sending out a ‘one size fits all‘ email will risk me having clients hit the unsubscribe button.

When considering the content of your email, always bear in mind the type of information your client will be pleased to receive.  Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and imagine what would entice you to open an email.  More often than not an email offering something newsworthy, informative or problem-solving with respect to their particular line of business will have a high open rate.

This infographic from Inbound Marketing Agents summarises my point succinctly:


LEAD NURTURING: targeted emails

If you’re not using any sort of email marketing software as yet, here are some suggestions as recommended by Forbes:

  1. MailChimp
  2. Constant Contact
  3. Vertical Response
  4. Infusionsoft
  5. Campaigner

Of course, there is much more to a successful email campaign or newsletter and I’m delighted to be offering a free eBook this week which will ‘dot the i’s and cross the t’s’ and get you sending out irresistible emails!  Just click on the link below to receive your copy.


Please feel free to share with your friends and, of course, let me have your comments as I really look forward to reading them!


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