Email marketing can be incredibly lucrative if you know what you’re doing. Unfortunately, most people do not and the majority of marketing emails end up in the trash without ever having been opened or given a second thought.

Is there a surefire way to guarantee that your emails will be opened and read by your target audience? No, there really is not. There are, however, certain things that you can do to optimize your email campaigns so that there is a higher likelihood of a greater percentage of people opening your messages.

Ask Yourself: Would I Be Compelled to Open This?

Some people make the mistake of believing that the message itself is the most important aspect of an email. While the message is certainly important, it doesn’t matter how brilliant it is if no one opens it. Therefore, the single most important feature of your email is your subject line.

Are you surprised? It really is intuitive if you think about it. It’s similar to writing blog posts for your site, except with your posts, there’s still a chance someone might click through based off your meta description, even if your headline lacks. With email, however, if you don’t compel a person to take further action, that message goes straight into the trash in about half a second.

Now, writing a compelling subject line is easier said than done. People have learned to tune out pretty much anything with over-the-top marketing language and tactics. The last thing you want to do is write “FREE FREE FREE!” for a subject, or anything similar.

Front load your subjects with the most important information. Make it honest and real but also compelling and interesting. If it’s something that you would be inclined to open yourself, then you’re probably on the right track.

Get the Message Right

So, now that you’ve spent all that time tormenting over a killer subject line and your recipient has opened the message, what are you going to do with them? Are you going to leave them hanging and disappointed? You’d better not, or you’ll never get them to open another message from you again!

Generally speaking, your email body should be well formatted, contain a fast-loading image that complements the text and gets to the point quickly. Do not rely on your image to send the message for you, though. Many mobile browsers automatically block images for faster loading and lower data usage.

Keep your message brief and to the point, but get the facts out there in a way that makes your recipient excited. Tell them what you want them to do, too. Don’t just take it for granted that your recipient knows to click on a link for more information, tell them. If you’re having trouble with this, you might want to try partnering with a good SEO company that also specializes in email marketing.

You might also try to entice your recipient with a special offer that’s available only from the email. For example, offer a free e-book download, a percent off of a purchase, or a special buy one get one half off deal. Make it impossible for them to ignore how wonderful it would be to visit your site.

Send it to the Right People

If you’re selling home organization supplies, it’s not going to do you much good to send out a bunch of messages to automotive sales people. Compiling a good mailing list takes time, but is well worth the effort.

Try networking with people through various forums, groups, social media sites, and of course, through your own newsletter mailing list. When you’re sure you’re marketing to the right groups of people, try sending out two slightly different versions of the same message and see which one gets the better results. This information can be invaluable for future campaigns.