How to get your email opened – top tips from Australia’s top marketers

by K B on November 12, 2010

It’s often enlightening to do random and off topic things just because you can. Yesterday I could and I did. I had a day as the roving Tweeting reporter at EMSA10, an email marketing summit run by the lovely team at Vision 6. I sat in the serenity of the NSW Art Gallery and listened to some industry leaders on email, brand and social media marketing, and how they all connect. Many of the pearls I picked up from email marketers would actually work well for any job seeker emailing an employer directly. So for some proven tips to make an employer instantly open your email, read on….. That’s my average attempt at a direct call to action. The tips are actually better, so please persevere.

1)      Julian Peterson, Marketing and Online Director from Time Out Sydney said they send out their weekly email at a specific time on a Thursday, because that’s when people are starting to plan their weekends. Lesson here for job seekers – think about when people might be the most receptive to reading your email. You really don’t want to be in the middle of the Monday morning minefield.  Fun o’ clock on Friday might work better.

2)      Confine your creativity to the email not the header, suggested Julian. Enticing headers do not work for Nigerian spammers, so the same won’t work for you. Avoid extra exclamation marks, or headings that may suggest secret packages are on the way.

3)      Email is incredibly intimate said Jamie Madden, Creative Director of Cirul8. You are marketing in the same space that people receive information from friends and family. The message for job seekers – adopt a friendly and personal tone, without being too casual.

4)       David Smerdon, Digital Strategist from Clemenger BDO, suggested good emails and marketers need to have a call to action to a deeper place of engagement.  I don’t think he was talking marriage proposals. Perhaps for job seekers this means to think about the next step – where do you want this email to lead – a coffee, a telephone call, a lunch….

5)      A big theme of the day was preferential marketing – to try to understand readers’ preferences and deliver only information they need to build a relationship or make a decision.

6)      Allow people to unsubscribe easily. I forget who said this, but it’s a very useful, if slightly strange sounding, suggestion. Emotional blackmail never really works as a job seeking strategy. You don’t want to appear too needy. I’ve always found that if you make it easy for people to say no, they usually don’t. Or if they do, you usually get an honest explanation as to why.

7)      You might not be as sexy as you think you are. This gem came from Blair Cooke, Database Marketing Director of Fairfax Digital. He said marketers often rush to the proposal, before setting up the first date. As a job seeker or as a direct marketer, you may need to woo your recipient before getting down to the main game. I’ve rarely seen an unsolicited email lead immediately to a job offer.

8)      Do you truly know who you are? I thought I did but Jack Perlinski the Director of Brand Strategy at DAIS made me question it. He suggests that if you speak authentically and are sincere, others will respond.

9)      Jack also said that brand desire has moved far beyond ration, to the rationale. As a country that now spends $130 for every $100 we earn, marketing is (more than ever before) not about what people need, but what people want to make them feel more desirable. As a job seeker, if you are approaching people out of the blue with your compelling offer, you may need to think about shifting the boundaries of your discussion. Think beyond a job title that may exist in the company at that moment. To become desirable you could try to paint a picture of the future landscape of your industry, and how much prettier that picture would be with both of you in it.

10)  Email marketing is only spam when it’s done badly. That kind of just about sums it up. Perhaps I should have written this as my first tip.

K B

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