Getting People To Read Your Email

James Altucher wrote in an article that he has over 100,000 unread emails in his inbox. I don’t have that many, but then again, I delete half of them unread. I have a feeling this is true for most people who use email in day-to-day business. As an entrepreneur, getting people to read the email I send them is relevant to my interests. So I started thinking about the few companies who send me email that I almost always read. MEC, Saddleback Leather, and Chrome Industries. All three manage to hit me right in my backpack fetish. So, having a product people want is most of the job.

But there’s a little more to it than that. I’m pretty convinced that it’s the pictures. Lots of them, high quality, attractive, colourful, which those three companies are especially good at.

So good

But my email provider (Gmail), by default, doesn’t allow pictures to load.

I just signed up for a fake Gmail account to check that. Yep, it’s true. So how can you get people to click “load pictures”, after getting them to open the email at all? I’m subscribed to a newsletter about web design that Sascha Greif sends out every week or so. At the top, before any content, it says “Dude, there are pictures! Always load pictures!” Oddly enough, I clicked the “Load Pictures” button, and the “Always load pictures from this sender” button, right after that. I’ve been doing that in lots of other emails since then, as well. So, maybe just asking nicely is one way. A few weeks ago I had coffee with Matt Harris, a fellow HN reader and founder of Send With Us. His company makes bulk email templates, and has one very cool feature – A/B testing. If I was going to A/B test email, the first two questions I’d ask are:

  • Do lots of pictures really increase click-throughs?

And, sorted by demographics,

  • What’s the best way to get people to let pictures load?

Getting people to answer personal email is a whole other thing. Stand by for the next article on that topic.

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