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Four Simple Steps to Better Emails

June 30th, 2014 | Posted by GovDelivery in Community Management/Engagement | Email Communication

By Angela Marinello, Implementation Specialist at GovDelivery

Vector check mail envelopeWe know that email is at the core of an effective communications strategy, but in the age of digital overload it’s tough to make your emails stand out in a crowded inbox. So, how do you craft more engaging and effective emails for your stakeholders? Here are four quick and easy tips to get you started:

1. Limit excessive ALL CAPS and punctuation

Unless you’re a long-lost relative who recently deposited one million dollars in an offshore bank account that can only be collected by clicking on a mysterious link RIGHT NOW, please, don’t use all caps. And that goes for excessive punctuation, too!!!!!! It’s easy to get lured in by the idea that using capital letters and exclamation marks in your subject line will make your email look extra exciting. In reality, however, all it really does is make your email look extra suspicious. All caps and crazy punctuation scream junk email, and by using them you run the risk of having your messages sent to the trash folder and never reaching your stakeholders. You want your email subject lines to stand out, just make sure they stand out for the right reasons.

2. Avoid cheap phrases

Another thing that may work against how stakeholders perceive your message? Words and phrases like “Free”and “You’re a winner!” People’s inboxes are inundated daily with all kinds of special offers and deals from private sector companies trying to get them to buy something, don’t mistakenly let your message get lost in the fray. The subject line of your email should reflect the content within it, so pick one of the most important points from your message and base your subject line around that. Don’t resort to cheap gags or misleading offers to try to “trick for the click.” Let your information do the talking.

3. Make your identity known

We all know the subject line of an email is valuable real estate, and keeping that subject line short, sweet, and snappy is essential to increasing opens. Every letter counts, so you have to save space where you can. Making sure that your emails are always sent from an email address that includes your organization’s name so you don’t have to waste space identifying yourself in the subject line is one of the simplest steps you can take towards crafting better emails. Additionally, people are more likely to open an email that they know is coming from a reputable organization with a name they recognize.

4. Encourage engagement

While email open rates are a useful statistic, especially for “awareness” campaigns like weather and traffic alerts where you just need stakeholders to see your message, they don’t tell the full story in all situations. Just because someone opened your email doesn’t necessarily mean they engaged with your message in a meaningful way. Luckily, there’s a way to get a more meaningful metric. Rather than including the entirety of information in the body of the email and hoping that click rates translate into actual reads, try only including one or two sentences in the body followed by a hyperlink or button for your stakeholders to click if they want to read more. The number of people who click on that link will reflect the number of people who are interested and engaged with your message more accurately.

Those are just a few of our ideas for making your organization’s emails more effective. What tips and tricks do you use?

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