What’s In It For Me: Three ways to get your emails read

radio signalThe most popular radio station in the world is WII-FM. WII-FM stands for “What’s In It For Me?” If you do a serious amount of business correspondence or email marketing, this topic needs to stay forefront on every piece of email your write.

I am going to give you three ways to get your emails read, and acted upon.   Here is a copy of an email I received this week:

From: Mike <last name withheld to protect their identity>

To: Chris Mitchell <chris@258marketing.com>

Subject: Follow-Up

Hello Chris –

Do you think you can take a look at what we can do for you?

This email is from a vendor who is trying to sell me his direct mail service for my clients. I haven’t heard from him in 10 months. I haven’t done business with him. He’s out fishing for business. Let’s dissect the problems with this email:

1) Subject. “Follow-Up” isn’t a subject.  It’s extremely vague. It doesn’t get my attention. And there is no benefit.

Lesson: Every email subject line needs to show a benefit. Whenever you are writing an email, especially one of a sales/marketing nature, the subject is going to get displayed in a recipient’s in-box. You get about 2-seconds to make an impression. Your subject line is the only thing they see.  In 2-seconds you are judged – your email will be opened, skipped, or deleted.  Remember – your subject line is your 2-second permission to get the next 30-seconds (when they open your email) to get your point across.  If you fail with the subject line, your email will rarely get opened.  Make your subject lines compelling.

2)  Content.  “Do you think you can take a look at what we can do for you?”  I’m going to translate this:  Can you drop what you’re doing right now?  Can you remember what we talked about 10 months ago?  Can you spend some money on my services?  The answer is no.  You’ve given me no reason to do this.

Lesson:  In your content, always frame a benefit.  Will I save money?  In my case – Will it be of value to a specific client?  If so…which one?  Why should I take action now? The content of your email has to include “what’s in it for me?” or it will be ignored.

What is the valid business reason for getting this email?  Have a valid business reason included in each piece of email correspondence you send.  The word “because” is a very important word.  It’s what is called a “trigger” word.  It triggers response.  According to copyblogger’s Brian Clark:

One of the most important characteristics of compelling, persuasive content is specificity. The more specific you are, the more credible your points, arguments or sales pitch.

There are many ways to be specific in your writing. One of the best is simply giving a reason why. And the most effective transition word when giving a “reason why” is because.

3)  Contact information.  In this particular email, there is none, except a return email address.  Another major mistake.

Lesson:  There is something in emailing called a signature.  It’s automatic.  It can be added to every piece of email you send, and includes your name, title, company, phone and fax number.  If you don’t use it, please start immediately.

Don’t make anyone look around for your phone or fax number.  If, after reading your email, they are compelled to call you…please make it easy.

HERE’S A TIP THAT JUST MADE THIS BLOG WORTH READING TODAY:  One more thing about automatic signatures.  Add a link to your website and blog in your email signatures.  You will be suprised at the number of people who will visit your website or blog using this technique.  Who knows?  One of them just might become your next customer.


Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency that plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. He is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.

website: http://www.258marketing.com
email: chris@258marketing.com


2 responses to “What’s In It For Me: Three ways to get your emails read

  1. Hi Chris

    Just LOVE your company name. Clever, smart and cool all rolled into one.

    This particular article is full of good advice, in particular, the subject line. I plan to action this first thing tomorrow…..

  2. 258marketing

    Thanks for your comment Richard. I appreciate you taking the time to read, digest, and put some of the ideas into action.

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