Whatever industry you’re involved with – carpentry, SEO, cars, insurance… – reaching out to people through emails is probably the important part of your daily routine. But the problem is, many people open their email expecting a response from someone, or messages that bear good news, and what they usually see instead is an avalanche of spam or newsletters, and they quickly scan through them to decide which ones they will read. So, if your email doesn’t grab their attention right away, they are lost to you.

Here are some tips to prevent that from happening.

1. Great headline

It takes people about 3 seconds to decide whether they’re going to read your email or delete it. That’s why the subject of your email must be perfectly crafted. If your email contains an offer that could benefit the recipient in some way, include it in the subject; if not, try to make it seem painless for them by using something like “A quick question”, or a specific reason why you’re contacting them. Think news headlines: short but catchy and to the point. And don’t try to create a false title just to grab their attention – this will just irritate them.

2. Short body

The length of your email is the next factor that will make or break the success of your email. Nobody has time to read a novel, so keep it short and sweet. By short, we don’t mean one sentence; include all the relevant information and the reason why you’re reaching out to them, but don’t stuff your email body with unnecessary information.

3. The first paragraph

The introductory part of your email (if it’s longer than 100 words) should be appealing enough to keep the recipient interested in the rest of your email. It works best if you dedicate it to the person who is reading it.

4. Do your homework

Do the research beforehand to find out more about their business (or website). 15-20 minutes of reading (their website, social media profiles) is usually enough for you to be able to personalize your email, and to come up with an angle where helping you will help them too. Sending out non-personalized emails to the people you’re trying to make to look at your offer, is not a good idea, especially not if you’re asking them a favor. Don’t neglect to mention what’s in it for them, even though it may look obvious to you.

5. Keep it focused

Never ask more than one question or favor per email. If you have multiple questions, pick the crucial one and concentrate your initial email around it; if you get a response, you can follow up with next issues. One question/favor/offer has much better chances to be responded to.

6. Include a call to action

Specifically ask for a response if you want to get one. This will significantly improve your response rate, because it’s harder for the recipients to ignore you.

7. Don’t give up

If this is an important contact, don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a response right away. Wait for one or two weeks, and send it again; quote the whole thing with a small question like “Any thoughts?”, or “I was wandering if you’ve read the email I’ve sent you”. You have to be persistent, because it can take between 4-9 attempts before your prospects decide to return an email.

You probably won’t nail it with your first attempt, so test the template you’ve made: make changes in the subject, opening line, call to action to see what works best. Record the results and tweak the lines until you refine your emails; it requires work, but a carefully crafted email template can prove to be the most powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal.

Jeff is a SEO expert and he knows how rewarding email marketing can be. He’s also associated with http://www.serijskiubojica.hr as their consultant for search engine optimization and social media marketing