How to Get People to Open Your E-mails

Picture this: You spend hours writing an article that you KNOW will motivate people to tears/laughter/action. You send it to your e-mail list – a group of people who have specifically asked to hear from you – and no one opens the e-mail. The article ends up unread, deep in your subscribers’ inboxes. Your words aren’t digested, your ideas aren’t discussed, and your suggestions aren’t tested.

Frustrating, no?

It’s even more frustrating if you’re an Internet marketer and your revenue relies on people opening your e-mails, reading your articles or sales letters, and taking the actions you recommend.

In most (if not all) cases, you’ll never have a 100 percent open rate – where every last one of your subscribers opens your e-mail. In fact, according to e-mail marketing company Campaign Monitor, “If you are getting an open rate between 20 percent and 40 percent, you are probably somewhere around average.”

The thing is, the more people who open your e-mails, the more chances you have to make sales.

Let’s say 5 percent of your subscribers open your e-mails. Of that 5 percent, 10 percent buy the product you’re offering. If you have 1,000 subscribers, that means you’ll make $500 for every $100 product you sell via e-mail.

Even if your conversion rate (the number of people who buy what you’re selling) remains the same, you can DOUBLE the number of sales you make if you can double the number of people who open your e-mails. Today, I’m going to give you two simple ways to make that happen.

Here’s the heart of the matter: Whenever you send an e-mail message to your subscriber list or to your friends or colleagues, they ask themselves these two critical questions before taking action:

1. WHO is this e-mail from?

2. WHAT is this e-mail about?

Test this yourself the next time you’re about to open the e-mail messages in your inbox. If you’re like most people I’ve surveyed, you ask yourself WHO? and WHAT? before grabbing your mouse, clicking, and reading each one.

The WHO? Question

Answering the WHO? question is easy, because it’s right there in the “from line.” I recommend that your from line never changes. Here’s what mine looks like:

~ Alex Mandossian ~

Specifically, I put a tilde symbol (”~”), then a space, then my first name, then another space, then my last name, then another space, then a second tilde.

That’s it.

Key Point: The reason I use the tilde in my from line is because it often puts my message at the top of my recipients’ list of new e-mails. Many e-mail programs sort alphabetically, and they give the tilde symbol an even higher alphabetical ranking than words starting with the letter “A” (like my name).

The WHAT? Question

Answering the WHAT? question is not so easy, because it depends on the way the “subject line” is written. Unlike your from line, it makes sense to constantly test your subject line copy until you find the winners.

I don’t make any claims with my subject line, because I feel the one and only job of that copy is to pique my recipients’ interest – so they open, read, and click the link in the body of the e-mail message.

The purpose of the from line is to motivate your recipients to read your subject line. The purpose of your subject line is to persuade your recipients to read the body copy of the e-mail.

It’s that simple.

What to Do Now

First, I want you to decide on what your from line will look like for all your e-mail communications. Once you make this decision, always keep your from line the same. Never change it.

I recommend using tildes or asterisks or dashes in your from line so you’ll get top alpha-numerical priority in your recipients’ inboxes. Here are a few examples:

* Jane Doe *

~ Jane Doe ~

– Jane Doe –

Second, I want you to become a student of effective subject line copy. So keep a file of subject lines that elicit your own curiosity. (Remember, that’s what you want your subject lines to do for your recipients.)

The subject lines that work best for me are brief (seven words or less). Here are some that have had good pulling power for me:

  • This ONE is for you…
  • Your presence is requested…
  • Have you seen this?
  • Will you say “YES” to this?
  • This is about our appointment…
  • It’s not your fault…
  • Who’s to blame for this?

What about you? Have you ever written a winning subject line? If so, please share it here.

[Ed. Note: Alex Mandossian knows a thing or two about success. He has generated over $233 million in sales for his clients. And in the past three years, he increased his own revenues from $1.5 million to $5 million. You can get Alex’s advice and practical marketing tips for info-publishers, small-business owners, and entrepreneurs for free at]

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