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How to Write Successful Emails (and Improve Open Rates)

Posted By Guest Blogger 14th of October 2014 General 0 Comments
How to Write Successful Emails (and Improve Open Rates)

Image created in Canva

This is a guest contribution from Luke Guy.

Email is the key to a strong online presence. Like a binder to a book, so is the email list to blog/website. If used incorrectly, email marketing can destroy your business or it can build it into an empire. Strategy combined with creativity creates amazing profits and engagement.

What’s the best way to write successful emails? You must think as if you’re the receiving email user. What would you hope to see?

As an email user I look for emails that do one of the three if not all three:


  • Connect with me
  • Add value to my life
  • Helps me reach my goals


People think because of poor content, and scams, that email marketing will die. I have received my share of spam and marketing emails, but you know what? I’m still coming back. Why?  I’m waiting on the emails that change my life. Value and connection has never came any purer than through a simple email.

I’m willing to be spammed, get boring emails, and go through tons of junk just to get that one email from a friend or blog that will connect and enhance me with information that I need.

Think about it. The same thing happens to you, but you keep coming back. It’s like eating watermelon: it’s all good when you learn how to spit out the seeds.

So what’s the major reason why people have email?


  • Talk to a friend, or a business connection
  • Stay updated with the favorite blog
  • Get notified when you receive money
  • Know when a deal is being released. “A survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that people actually like emails based on previous shopping behaviors and preferences. In fact, 81% of US digital shoppers surveyed said they were at least somewhat likely to make additional purchases, either online or in a store, as a result of targeted emails” –Business2Community

All of this revolves around staying in the loop of some kind. People want to stay connected and updated on their interest. They want to keep a hot connection with the things they love. It’s the purpose of email. It’s more personalized and private compared to Facebook.

Facebook is great, but would you want Paypal to send public updates to you, letting you know how much money you received this month? No, that wouldn’t make sense at all. Is Facebook capable of sending personalized messages with your name in it from a Fanpage of 100,000? Nope.

So by using email to connect with your readers you could turn that list into your fanbase who’s dying to get your next email. And yes it can happen just like that.

Email is still the best when it comes to delivering private and personal information. Therefore email is the way in keeping the connection constant, private, and strong. Email can either make this happen, or make you look spammy.

So what’s something you shouldn’t do in an email?

One thing, never be general. Quit talking about the ways of nature and the purpose of life when people joined the list to learn about SEO. It’s okay to slip personal things within your email, that’s great! But make sure the point is still SEO-related in every email.

Second, once you’ve made your point, end the email. Never gab just to gab. Connect with your reader, and deliver the goods.

Third, if your email address says [email protected], it’s giving off bad signal. You’re emailing them, but they can’t email you back? You’re not about connecting when you do this and I believe these addresses shouldn’t exist for any blog unless it’s a notifier of some sort.

I’ve heard Gmail has a new filter system, could it hurt my open rates?

Just in case you’re not aware, Gmail now filters all emails based on key factors. So if you don’t make the cut, your open rates could sink if you don’t land into the Primary Tab. I talk more about this here.

No matter how sincere you are with the reader, if Gmail doesn’t like your email, your open rates are going down. Some feel like this filtering system will not affect their open rates because Gmail isn’t the largest email provider.

That was true a few years, but not anymore.

According to Gigaom, Gmail dominated the world market of email and broke the tie with Hotmail back in 2012. Gmail has over 425 million monthly users as of 2012 (last update by Google). So if you’re seeing low open rates, the Gmail filters could be why.

What are things you can do to improve open rates with Gmail?

By adhering to the Gmail’s filter system, it could raise your open rates. By making simple tweaks, it could increase open rates by leaps and bounds.

For Example:

I once performed a case study of my own  in my article The #1 Reason Why Your Email Open Rates Are Diving. And within that article I discovered one little thing that was hurting most businesses who used email. I examined over 640 emails, in my case study, and found something quite interesting.

FACT: 98% of emails that were sent to the Promotional Tab had a header.

FACT: 95% of my Primary Emails had no header. (Excluding sites like Paypal and Disqus)

So by simply removing the header it could help increase open rates. The reason being is because most headers have companies brand within them. Which means that the message most likely will have a marketing agenda. Thus, Gmail sends you to the Promotional Tab.

Go figure.

So let’s say the header is removed but the email is full of marketing gimmicks. Does it still land in the primary tab of Gmail? Sometimes it does. But soon Gmail will find you and send you into other tabs. There are other things you must do to maintain a high open rate.

To increase your chances try the below:

  1. Create A Great Subject Line (64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line.) – Chadwick Martin Bailey
  2. Amazing Content With Call-To-Action
  3. Email Frequently (1-4 times a month)
  4. Personalize emails with name and relevant information This report by Experian Marketing Services shows that including personalized product recommendations into emails can generate a 20% increase in revenues.
  5. Hold the images and links I’d suggest no images and 2-3 links at the max.

By doing the technical aspects along with creative writing, your readers would become raving fans. Which is what you want.

So what does this look like? I once received an email from someone and it really impressed me. Look at it here:

Subject: How to Write Blog Posts That Generate Leads

Hey, I just wanted to share with you the latest Quick Sprout blog post. Let me know what you think.

How to Write Blog Posts That Generate Leads

Do you know why I started blogging back in 2006? It was to generate leads for my consulting company. And boy, did it work well.

It worked so well that for every three blog posts I wrote, I generated one new customer that paid $5,000 a month for one year. In essence, I was generating $20,000 for every blog post I wrote. [click to continue]



To me this does the job. I may would try to connect more with the reader, but besides that this was straight to the point. He gave call-to-action, and he delivered content that blew me away. That article was amazing and I look forward to Neil’s email.

So there ya go! Implement this and see if you’re open rates, profits, and engagements aren’t soaring!

Luke Guy blogs at Lukeguy.com. He researches email marketing and how to grow businesses doing it. He talks about other things but usually it involves emailing. If you need further help with your email challenges, you can join him here!

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Writing good e-mails and creative e-mail marketing are ceased to Internet marketing success. It helps to convert affiliate links faster into commissions. Successful e-mails also leave a positive long-lasting impression on the reader which inspires them subliminally to be a long-term reader and repeat customer.

  2. Hi Luke,

    One of the things from your post that stood out to me is that people are looking for deals. I’ve never thought of that before. Send a simple email about a special sale could get a real response.

    I appreciate the info.

    Thank you, Brian.

  3. This has been something that has always eluded me. Email Marketing. I hope I learn to crack it one day.

  4. Email marketing has lot of benefits. It is one of the best blogging technique to boost traffic and leads and no one can deny that.Great post man..i learned a lot from it..and thanx…

  5. hello darren,

    i have been writing on email writing rules and atticates for quite some time on my blog. the things you have shared in this post are truly worth implementing. thanks for such a worth sharing post.

  6. Hi Luke,

    Hows it going? Just wanted to say that I love this guest post! I had no idea about headers so thats something I just wanted to say thank you for! I just started my email newsletter and at the mo I only have 11 subscribers.

    Having subscribed to many lists myself I have seen my fair share of spam and boring newsletters so have quite a few insights into it! Another thing I would point out is not to bombard the subscriber with loads of auto-matic emails everyday for a week after subscribing unless there of epic value. On eof two is enough!

    Titles are so important and I totally agree with you buddy! when someone joins my list I send them a simple email thanking them for joining and a link to my about page. I also end them the first 4 chapters of my new book on blogging but the one thing I am proud of is the title. how does this grab you…. “.Hello; I feel like Pooh Bear.“.

    Anyway this is an epic post Luke and I loved it! thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas with us.
    Sharing in a bit.

    – Phillip Dews

    • Phillip, so glad you liked it. I’m the say way, an email for 5 days straight is a bit much. 1-2 a week is best.

  7. Must say a very nice and informative post. You have covered everything in this blog and I am gonna implement all of them while writing mails.

  8. I’ve been back and forth on this issue for a while now:

    Personalize my emails to my list subscribers or don’t personalize my emails to my list subscribers.

    Some well-known (and successful) online personalities say personalization makes emails seem “creepy.”

    Do you recommend including the ‘First Name’ field in opt-in forms and personalizing emails to your list?


  9. Hi Luke

    Great post, I enjoyed reading it.

    Trust and familiarity, I think, are so vital when it comes to emails and open rates. As you say, making that connection, together with email frequency, are what boosts the chances of your emails being read.

    When people look forward to seeing your name appear in their inbox once, or twice, or thrice a week, then they are going to open your emails regardless of how good the headline is. The key being the connection, and the bond, you form with them in the initial stages.

    When reading your guest post I couldn’t help but think of email specialist Ben Settle and what he refers to as ‘infotainment’ when it comes to email writing. Infotainment emails being fun to read but also delivering value, thereby satisfying the readers on two fronts. Who doesn’t want to be entertained whilst still getting value for their time?

    You made an interesting point too in regards to emails with headers being sent to the Promotional Tab. You could say that is a big hint for businesses to be more personal/relaxed and less formal when it comes to connecting with people through email.

    Fascinating subject.

    Thanks Luke, you gave me a lot to think about.


    • Edward, you hit the nail on the head. Entertaining while delivering value. A powerful and rewarding combination. So glad to hear from you again along with Twitter.

  10. E-mail works. I just got some results today from 30 customized e-mails I sent to companies in the auction industry. Going to follow up with a brief phone call to the ones who haven’t responded.

    Out of the thirty I sent this morning I’ve gotten 5 to sign up on my website and provide relevant content to the site. Although it isn’t an actually sale or revenue so to speak, the content is what my website really needs.

    Thanks for the info.

  11. Wow! This is a great blog post. It is very concise and to the point. I found it to contain a great deal of helpful info. THANKS!

  12. Email is one of the strongest weapons which can generate leads for any kind of business. But it is only possible if you write a captivating and engrossing email. Your article is really impressive and useful. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  13. I haven’t tried email campaigns, but I am seriously thinking about it. This post can help me a lot with the ideas presented here since my main goal is not just to write the emails, but also make sure they get opened and read.

  14. thanks so much for this, very helpful information, this blog rocks

  15. This must be independable tips, not only for email marketing, also it’s the important rule for SEO, increase the click through rate and time staying page.
    Thanks for this share.

  16. Hello Luke,

    Great Post! Everyone assumes they know how to write emails and that is a fair assumption because writing emails is in fact very easy. But chances are that when it really comes down to it, people just don’t know what to write.

    • Worli, indeed you’re right, but reading and testing fixes all that. Once you learn the do’s and dont’s you only get better over time. Thanks for reading!

  17. Another great article. Thank you very much for sharing.

  18. Hi Luke,

    Thanks for the great post, it really got me thinking about the way I approach my emails.

    I wanted to ask for a little more of your wisdom around images in emails.

    I write a personal/craft blog and my audience is very image driven so I’m wondering if knowing your niche and delivering what they like to see is key here? Or do you just send a text email with links to all the eye candy?

    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge! :)

  19. Great article, with some really practical tips! I loved the insight about email headers potentially being the key decider for whether your email lands in the Promotional or Primary tab in Gmail. I’m definitely going to be testing that one with my clients.

    Thanks again!

  20. Wow! This is a great blog post. very helpful information

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