5 Elements That Make or Break Your Email

No matter how brilliant the message you created, it is likely that less than half of your email recipients will actually open it. With those odds, you need an attention-getting strategy.

Email inboxes are more crowded than ever, so be sure your email stands out among all the others. Emails need to be succinct and compelling every step of the way. Even worse than being ignored, is being pegged as spam, since you won't get any future messages through.

Before you send out your next e-marketing piece, consider the five elements recipients use to decide whether to read your email.

From name – The Email Sender and Provider Coalition says that 73 percent of email subscribers click "Report Spam" or "Report Junk" based on the "From Name" alone. Readers should immediately recognize who is sending the email and it should be a name they trust. They won't recognize Jack Jones, even if he's your marketing director – but they'll recognize your company's name.

Subject line – Next the reader will judge the email based on the subject line, and 69 percent of subscribers click "Report Spam" or "Report Junk" based on this line. It's important that a subject line be specific and useful. Consider "Top 5 Best Practices for Email Marketing" versus "Improve Your Emails." The former is concise and specific while the latter is far too generic. Take the time to think of relevant subject lines that your readers will enjoy rather than rushing to come up with one right before the email is sent.

Preview Pane – More than 70 percent of email users frequently use their preview pane, which makes this four inch by four inch space prime real estate. Make sure this small instantly viewable portion is engaging enough to compel the reader to scroll on.

Relevancy – A table of contents at the top of the email gives readers a clear idea of what's featured and if it is relevant to them. They can click an article name to jump down to that particular section.

Engagement – Only 11 percent of those who open your email will scroll through the entire email. Your tried-and-true customers, the ones who trust your company and look forward to getting your emails, are the ones who read all the way down. So make sure all of the important information is at the top. One tip: have a fun, engaging survey question or giveaway as a constant section of your email at the bottom to encourage readers to get there.

Email marketing is about creating and building relationships. Remember that subscribers are in the driver's seat. With a click of "Report Spam," they can halt unwanted email messages and stop your ability to market effectively. But with the right strategy, creating an engaging and effective email will help increase your relationship with your recipients.