subscribersWhy should people open your email? In fact, why should they even give it a moment’s notice as it passes through their inbox?

One of the first lessons business owners learn is that their customers only care about one thing – themselves. And that doesn’t make them selfish or aloof; think about it – we all play the role of customer at some stage. When shopping for something, we look for stuff that benefits us and that will have a real impact on our lives.

Too many email marketing campaigns focus on the business behind them. They shout from the rafters about how wonderful the company is, how long it has been in existence and how many happy customers it can call on for testimonials. But what’s in it for the subscriber?

In this post, we’re going to look at the ways in which businesses can increase engagement with their emails by making the benefit to the customer abundantly clear. And you’ll be glad to hear there are no slight of hand tricks involved – it just requires good, old-fashioned common sense.

The importance of the subject line

Ok, we’re heading into email marketing 101 territory here, but if you want to capture the imagination of your subscribers, you need to reach into their deepest desires.

Check this out:

Subject line

Now, perhaps they got me on a particularly bad day, but I immediately opened the email because the subject was, well, me. It also asked a question that was strong enough for me to seek an answer. Few marketing emails get opened if they fall at this first hurdle.

The main benefit of your new product, service or special offer will have been devised in order to solve a problem for your customers. Use whatever the problem is to create an emotive, pointed question in the email subject line.

Deliver above the fold – immediately

There’s nothing worse than a long preamble on an email. I knew this particular e-shot was trying to sell me something, and every piece of content above the fold (i.e. the first visible section of the email) told me exactly what I could be in line for:

Here’s why this email works particularly well:

  • The pre-header text describes a limited time offer along with a link to the corresponding landing page on their website;
  • the presence of the account login button reminds me I’m already a customer;
  • the heading couldn’t be more blatant in targeting one of my desires;
  • clearly, these guys are willing to talk to me, hence the inclusion of a telephone number.

It delivers on the promise of the subject line, too. Are you sick of being overlooked on search engines? The people behind this email clearly have a solution for that and they’re personable enough to have a chat with in this digital age.

So, what is in it for me?

By this stage, I know there’s an offer on the table that I’m very much interested in, but I need further clarification. What do I get out of it? Thankfully, the email campaign expresses three clear benefits:

Note that the text is nice and short, the imagery attractive and the headings no-nonsense. A quick scan is all I need to receive confirmation of the main benefits.

The call to action

We’re forever told in email marketing that there should only be one call to action (CTA). This isn’t always strictly true. When an email is well constructed and has the audience at its heart, the inclusion of more than one CTA is no bad thing at all.

In this example, the first call to action is the telephone number (noted above), but scroll further down and there’s another. The trick at play is that they are essentially the same thing – both CTAs result in a telephone conversation taking place between customer and the business.

They’ve included their social media profile links nice and prominently, too, enabling me to get a better feel for the personality of the business before I make my final decision to pick up the phone.

The result is a business that is clearly more than just a faceless corporate entity. They want to help me and appear to have my best interests at heart.

I’m tempted. Are you?


Email marketing campaigns should be absolutely explicit with the benefit on offer, and the above example shows just how simple a feat this is to achieve; all you need is clear messaging, nice imagery and a subject line that screams “this email will change your life!”.

Before you start building your next e-shot, ask yourself: what’s in it for the subscriber?