First Dates & Open Rates – The Surprising Similarity Between Romance And Email Marketing

The average professional will spend 28% of their day working on emails – that’s a lot, right? Well, when we look at the volume of emails compared with the time spent reading and replying to them, it’s really not that long at all – which is why it’s so important to create emails that will stand out in an overcrowded inbox.

When done correctly, email marketing can be hugely beneficial. With the ROI of email marketing reaching up to 4,400%, it’s no surprise that 87% of B2B marketers say it’s one of their top free distribution channels. So don’t miss out on all the fun: it’s time to send your email marketing to the next level.

First impressions count

Your subject line: the first (and sometimes last) thing your audience will see. The words that can make or break your email. Your subject line forms the first impression of your email and is a big influence over whether or not it gets opened, making it fundamental to the success of any email marketing campaign. This is especially true in the B2B world where the average open rate is just 15.1% – so, how can you make your email stand out? 

Your subject line needs to catch the attention of your audience. It should offer a teaser of what’s on offer; something of value or interest that will create serious FOMO (fear of missing out). There’s no right or wrong when it comes to choosing the style of your subject line, it’s all about what’s right for your audience. One of the best ways to check the effectiveness of your subject lines is through testing out a few different styles with your audience, and thanks to technology there’s a number of tools that can help you along the way.

From testing the appearance of your subject line with tools such as Test Subject, to checking the overall effectiveness of your copy using tools like, there’s a huge range of free and paid tools to point you in the right direction.

So we’ve looked at the subject line, but let’s not forget the preview text. If you’ve managed to catch the attention of your audience with your subject line, they are likely to turn to the preview text to confirm whether your email is really worth their time. The preview text is usually around 50 characters and is either created by you, or taken from the first line of your email – so make sure to start with a bang.

Top tip: avoid heavy use of punctuation – particularly special characters – as this can make your email appear ‘spammy’.

This one’s just for you 

We spoke about the effectiveness of personalisation in our account-based marketing post earlier this week – and yes, you guessed it, the same applies to email marketing. Research has found that including the recipients name in the subject line of an email will help increase your open rates. Think about it, if someone starts a conversation using your name, you will naturally pay more attention and feel obliged to engage.

Personalisation doesn’t start and end with including someone’s name. There’s endless possibilities for you to tailor your email content to specific people – from using AI to send emails at optimal times, to segmenting your audience to create more specific content to address different needs. The key is to make your content relevant; if it’s not, you’re likely to end up in the trash – or worse, the spam folder. 

Let’s talk about emotions

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: emotion sells. As much as we like to pretend we are totally rational and responsible decision-makers, the truth is, we are almost always a victim to our emotions. In fact, a study by the Tempkin Group found that we are 8.4 times more likely to trust and 7.1 times more likely to purchase from a company if we have a positive emotional association with them.

This doesn’t mean you need to send everyone a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates – it’s much simpler than that. Start by humanising your brand. Ditch the “noreply@” email and upgrade it to something more personal. Focus on creating content that communicates your brand’s personality and creates value for your audience. 

Top tip: avoid focusing too much on features and prices: it’s much harder to build relationships if all you are doing is filling inboxes with dull, meaningless content. 

Seize every opportunity

It’s important that every piece of content you post is aligned with your business values and goals – otherwise, what’s the point? Your emails should compliment the rest of your marketing content and support your wider efforts to achieve your targets. Each email you write should have a purpose with a clear call to action that helps you achieve your goal.

Top tip: add clear CTA buttons along with social-sharing buttons to increase engagement and encourage action.

It’s a match 

Compatibility is key – and we’re not talking about finding your next lover. In today’s society, we use our phones for almost everything and email is no exception: with 46% of all emails now being opened on a mobile device, compatibility is essential. You may have the best content in the world, but if your email doesn’t open correctly on a mobile device, it is likely to be deleted in less than 3 seconds. In some cases, poor formatting can even lead to people unsubscribing – after all, why should they waste their time opening content they can’t even view? 

Along with considering the technical elements of your email, you should also evaluate how mobile-friendly your content is. It’s worth remembering that mobile screens are a lot smaller than most, so consider using shorter subject lines, more concise messaging and make sure your CTA is obvious. Composing more ‘short and sweet’ emails won’t just benefit your mobile users; they can help make your purpose clearer and get your message across before the reader loses concentration and jumps to the next email.

Top tip: avoid using phrases such as ‘click here’ to add links into your email, make your link text relevant to the link so your audience knows exactly where they are being taken.

Now you know what makes a good email, it’s up to you how you tailor this information to suit your audience and help you meet your goals. With the average office worker receiving 120 emails per day – how will you make yours stand out?


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