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It should be no mystery what the most important thing is when it comes to email marketing campaigns: getting people to read them. According to statistics, 55% of people don’t open their e-mails regularly: So when they do check, they focus on the emails that are worth reading. You may have precisely the product your customers need and you may offer the best prices, but if they aren’t reading your emails and acting on them, then none of that really matters. So how do you get people to read emails?

Subject Line

The first thing would obviously be the subject line. As we mentioned: people will read what they want to read, when they want to read it, so it’s important that your subject line makes customers want to read the content.

In terms of what they subject line says, remember that the point is for people to read your email, which will then inform them about your product and offers. The best advice here is to tell them what the email is about in the subject line, don’t try to sell it to them. Telling them allows them to decide if they are interested in your offer, while trying to sell to them immediately might deter them from reading altogether.
The ideal subject line will be:

  • short and to the point. six to ten words, or 50 characters or less.
  • free FROM CAPS and multiple exclamation marks!!! (Caps and exclamations can get filtered out as spam and they come off as a bit aggressive).

Optimise for mobile

It’s important to remember just how important mobile devices are now.

Surveys have shown that 41% of people now read emails on their mobile device first and 42% delete the emails that don’t display properly. This means that the first step is making sure that your e-mails are mobile optimised (7Sheep will do this for you automatically with our drag and drop builder). Keep in mind that in terms of the subject line, most devices display less than 40 characters for the subject line preview (iPhone displays 38, Android – 33, Windows7 – 38).

Things to remember:

  • Optimise design for mobile
  • Ensure 1 column design for HTML e-mails
  • Fewer than 40 characters are available  in the subject line preview
  • Ensure that your font is no less than 11pts
  • Don’t go overboard with photos.


Although you are marketing to a list of contacts, you want your message to come off as a one-on-one interaction with one individual customer or persona. This will make your email the first one that customers read after they respond to the urgent or personal messages they received because it will feel more familiar to them.

  • Use first names or salutations with care.
  • Reference their company or organisation.
  • Include information that is relevant and aimed at your lead and not just a generic spam mail.

To the Point

Next, you want to keep the message short and stay on topic. Despite treating this as a one-on-one conversation, you don’t want the customer to feel as though they’re wasting time, so tell them what your offer is quickly and directly.

  • Don’t waffle!

Call to Action

Make sure that your email includes one call to action. You don’t want to send them on a wild goose chase so you need to make sure that your email concludes with one request to click, respond, or anything else that will lead them one step further in your sales funnel. This is also something that you can track…

This is especially important considering people reading e-mails on their mobile phones.

  • Ensure a clear call to action.
  • Ensure there’s an inherent benefit to following it.
  • Make sure you’re set up to track and analyse your results so you can have a better iteration of a campaign next time.

Exclusive Offers

Another tip includes making offers that are exclusive or limited to the first customers who sign up (which has been shown to improved click-through participation by 15%) but this is starting to be over-used so you should be careful. Again, just keep in mind: one persona, on topic, one call to action. Try to express this in your first sentence and then elaborate in a brief message.

  • Tailor your offers to your lead.
  • Give offers to first time clients and see a greatly improved click-through performance.

Keep your data clean

Similarly, you will want to keep track of your bounce rates. Too many hard bounces might mean that you are doing something wrong and that your messages are being filtered into spam. As mentioned previously, sometimes the way you present your content can cause a message to be filtered as spam. Make sure you do a quick check to ensure that your message does not fall into this category because of content or because of technical issues.


Lastly, it’s worth discussing how often you should send an email campaign. Regardless of how interesting and appealing your messages are, too many or too few of them will result in disinterest. To find the balance, you may have to do a bit of outside research based on your company, industry, etc. Some studies have shown that companies who send between 16-30 campaigns per month will see the greatest open rate, which is around 32.4%.

Furthermore, companies with 11-25 employees will have their highest open rate when they send 31+ campaigns per month while companies with over 201 employees had their highest open rate at 32.2% when they sent only 3-5 email campaigns. These differences are why it’s important to do some research about your specific industry when it comes to the optimal number of email campaigns, but the advice given here about optimizing content will apply regardless of the industry.


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