Marketers who rely on using emails to connect with customers will be pleased to know that a recent study reported that email usage in the U.S. is expected to continue growing. One of the main reasons cited are commercial accounts that require contact with customers via valid and secure email accounts.

Globally, the number of email users in 2015 was nearly 2.6 billion. That number is expected to top 2.9 billion by the end of this year. Another study estimates that by the end of 2019, more than 246 billion emails will have been sent and received compared to 205 billion in 2015.

How To Leverage This

Email is evolving like all other forms of technology. Emails will become more interactive which is a plus for marketers.

But as the volume of emails continue escalating and inboxes take in more mail, so, too, will a customer’s ability to take command over what they see or open first. This is where a strategy to induce a recipient to open your email are even more critical than before.

The Hook

Remember those sayings about how we form an impression about someone we’ve just met in so many seconds? The sayings only varied in the number of seconds it took for us to make a judgment – 7, 15, or 30 seconds. The point was that it only takes seconds to form an impression.

The same is true of emails which is why the subject line is so critical. An enticing or appealing one will cause a reader to continue. A bad one will stop the recipient who will delete the email and maybe even mark it as spam.

The best subject lines are ones that appeal to the reader’s own interest. That’s why collecting as much information about customers, their interests, likes, preferences, etc. are important.

If the customer purchases pet food from you regularly and it’s among the products on special, frame your subject line around that. Writing “Just for You” on the subject line wouldn’t have as much appeal to that pet owner as “More Bones for Fido” or something that’s customized.

If you’re aware that your customer uses coupons, mentioning that offer on the subject line would likely get your customer to open up the email, continue reading and searching for coupons. But as mentioned above, if you know what your customer’s interests are, your subject line can be even more targeted.

Whenever you can tie subject line to a sense of urgency with one that’s also tailored, you have a winner. So, something like “More Bones for Fido Until This Friday” will likely generate an even quicker response.

Guarantees or promises also have a good track record of generating open emails. If you employ something like that, however, be sure you can fulfill what you’ve promised or your next one will end up in the trash or spam folder.

Categorize your customers by interest, product or whatever fits best in your industry. Toss subject lines around with your team and challenge them to come up with lines that lead to high open rates. Monitor your open rates based on these subject lines so you know what’s most effective and those that require tweaking.

-5WPR CEO Ronn Torossian

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Ronn Torossian is the Founder & Chairman of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently owned PR firms in the United States. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth and vision, with the agency earning accolades including being named a Top 50 Global PR Agency by PRovoke Media, a top three NYC PR agency by O'Dwyers, one of Inc. Magazine's Best Workplaces and being awarded multiple American Business Awards, including a Stevie Award for PR Agency of the Year. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected public relations executives. Throughout his career he has advised leading and high-growth businesses, organizations, leaders and boards across corporate, technology and consumer industries. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications. He has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly in the media and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. Torossian's strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, a Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, and a recipient of Crain's New York Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Outside of 5W, Torossian serves as a business advisor to and investor in multiple early stage businesses across the media, B2B and B2C landscape. Torossian is the proud father of two daughters. He is an active member of the Young Presidents Organization (YPO) and a board member of multiple not for profit organizations.