Aug 15, 2005

How To Survive the Inbox Whack-a-Mole Game

See that button to the right? That’s the "Junk" button. Everytime you send your email campaigns, that’s what you’re competing with. Your recipients hover their mouse over that button and play "whack-a-mole" as spam fills their inbox. You have a fraction of a second to convince people that your email is worth NOT junking.    

Take my inbox, for instance. On a recent day, this is what came in. I’m sitting at my desk sipping coffee, with one finger on the junk button. Which messages should I keep, and which ones should I trash?

Can you tell, in the blink of an eye, which ones AREN’T junk?



In the example above, 4 of them are emails that I actually opted-in for, so I didn’t junk them.

Truth be told, I only actually read one of them.

How are you going to convince people not only to keep your email out of the spam folder, but to actually open and read your email, too?

  1. Write a better subject line. Use something familiar to your recipients, like your company or publication name. Something they saw when they first opted in. Remember, relevance trumps wit, when it comes to subject lines.  Don’t be too catchy, and don’t use ALL CAPS. Avoid "spammy" words, like "free, limited time, open now, your reply is needed, and enlargement."
  2. Make it clear where it’s from. Put your company name in the "From" field of your emails. Don’t change it, because your recipients might have added that name to their address book to "whitelist" it from their spam filters.
  3. Send something actually worth reading. Fill your emails with useful info, funny stories, and fascinating how-tos. If you can’t think of something worth reading every month, send your newsletters once a year. Don’t "train" people to junk your emails every time they get it.