Whether your business is large or small, communicating effectively with your customer or potential customer base is essential. Keeping your customers informed, offering special sales and other incentives to visit your brick-and-mortar or electronic storefront—your website, includes keeping your customers both interested and reading your correspondence. As you create or fine-tune your email messages, keep some simple guidelines in your formatting and approach to keep your readers reading and, hopefully, responding favorably.
Most readers first look at the sender’s name; if they recognize it and want it, they will be more inclined to open and read it. Immediately after someone enrolls to receive your emails, present an information page that notifies them that they will soon receive an email from such-and-such business name. Invite them to check their inbox email. Also remind them to check their junk mail folder. If they don’t receive the introductory email within X minutes, add the domain to their safe sender’s list and re-request the first email.
By providing all that information, they know how to identify your correspondence and how to correct non-receipt. Most who want the email and don’t get it the first time will follow the steps you outline to correct it.
Once the reader recognizes your email and opens it, ensure you use catchy but not cutesy subject lines. That is often the first line consciously read, and if it’s not enough to entice the reader to continue right then, who knows when or if your email will ever be opened again.
Keep separate focus areas separated and indexed. Use bold headlines and bullet points to both catch the reader’s eyes and to make information easy to find. Also, if you archive ezines and newsletters on your website or on blogs, the headings and list formatting will catch the attention of search engines much more favorably than paragraph separations only.
Keep each physical line short. Usually an average length of about 65 characters is great. Your reader often doesn’t need to make a special effort to read continuously, and that helps keep the reader’s attention.
The more frequently you contact the reader, the shorter your emails should be. You don’t want to bore your reader nor do you want to make information hard to find. Both aspects will eventually cause your reader to leave your email list, and you’ve lost a customer.
Always include a direct link to your website. If you have a Customer Service Department or a business voicemail service, leave contact phone numbers. Always include a business email address whether it’s through your website or a generic business address at a free email service but disguise them. For example, instead of using the “at” sign, which is a sure signal of a probable email address for spammers, note it as “businessemail – at – website.com” or something similar. Do not leave your personal email address, however. Your ezines are business correspondence, not personal.
Depending on laws and statutes where you live, you will probably be required by law to include a physical address or mailing for the business. If your business is based in another state, that would be the address of your resident agent. If it is your home address, determine if a private mail box or PMB address will suffice in your state.