17 Strategies For Creating Marketing Emails Clients Will Read

Forbes Business Council

Business leaders receive multiple marketing emails in their inboxes every day, but not every email is opened and read. With so many emails being generic, indirect and not tailored to the recipient, leaders are able to quickly learn and spot which emails are worth a closer look and which emails are destined for the trash.

As experts, the members of Forbes Business Council have experience navigating email outreach, both as a sender and a recipient. Below, 17 of them each share one specific action marketers can take to create marketing emails that grab business leaders’ attention and prompt them to read it through.

1. Craft A ‘Skin In The Game’ Message

When a marketing email addresses a challenge or problem we face, it is natural for us to read it. In other words, if the email in some form carries a “skin in the game” message, the chances of someone reading it are higher. For example, when a marketing email says, “We can help generate leads,” it doesn’t work. But, if it says, “We can help convert your leads to clients,” the recipient now gets curious. – Vasudevan SwaminathanZuci Systems

2. Be Direct

Each of us has a limited cognitive calorie count, so if you are making your ask too vague or complex, you are asking the reader to do the work for you. Start with the thing you can solve, and don’t pander to the ego. Make it easy for the reader to make a quick decision, which is often the difference between success or irrelevance. – Jason HaddockSozo Labs

3. Conduct Due Diligence

Due diligence goes a long way in standing out in the pile of emails from people who sent the same message to thousands of recipients. Instead, learn who to reach out to and at what level within the organization would be responsible for making a decision. Leaders are often focused on the entire business and don’t necessarily have their pulse on every tool or service the organization uses or needs. – Maurice HararyThe Bid Lab

4. Include Something Bold To Stoke Curiosity

People don’t read, they scan. If something catches their eye that is relevant to them, they might take a second to read it and take action. For me, this is a bold statement, stat or something intriguing that pops off the page to make me want to know more or follow a prompt. – Lindy TentingerVGM Forbin

5. Personalize The Subject Line

A personalized and relevant subject line is a crucial feature that grabs my attention and prompts me to read a marketing email. It signals that the sender understands my needs by addressing a specific pain point or offering a tailored benefit, increasing the likelihood that I’ll engage with the email. – Anuraag SunderAon

6. Align The Approach With How The Business Operates

When the message and approach align with the way I conduct business, it catches my attention. For example, we are a client-intimate company. If I get an email that is customized and specific, it means someone took time to research. Many emails are generic and impersonal, so I am interested in ones that provide value without the expectation of reciprocation. – Joe CrandallGreencastle Associates Consulting

7. Tell A Story

Marketing emails should tell stories. These can be stories of how a product helped a company achieve their goals, a team that pursues excellence or a service that consistently delights. Stories are engaging and bring a company’s product, people and processes to life! – Leeatt RothschildPacked with Purpose

8. Tailor Emails To Readers Needs And Preferences

When an email is thoughtfully tailored to an individual’s specific needs and preferences–addressing them by name and discussing topics that genuinely matter to their business–it immediately elevates the email’s value in their eyes. The art of personalization demonstrates that the sender has invested time in thorough research and a profound understanding of the recipient. – Michael ShribmanAPS Global Partners Inc.

9. Focus On The Benefit, Not The Product

The emails that catch my attention have one thing in common: They focus on the benefit, not the product. Another top tip is to never lead with price, as price means very little if we believe there is value. Just like everyone else, business people tend to buy with emotion and then justify with logic. – Marian EvansElevate BC Ltd

10. Provide Value

Beyond the most obvious feature of the subject line, is the email providing anything of value? Is it just self-promotional, using we, our or I? Or is it tied clearly to problems I’m facing and offering actionable, thought-provoking insights that can help me? I still may not respond to that email, but it’s far more likely to get me to open and read the next one. – Mike EsterdayIntegrity Solutions

11. Combine Personalization With Urgency

A marketing email that stands out in a business leader’s crowded inbox combines personalization with urgency. A tailored subject line addressing a current challenge will pique interest. A concise message inside that offers real value—supported by data—captures attention, and a crystal clear call to action makes it actionable. Presented succinctly, these elements ensure that an email is read and acted upon. – Chris KillePayment Pilot

12. Show You Understand Their Challenges Or Goals

In a sea of words, a whisper of relevance is the loudest call to action. If you make me feel like you understand my journey, you’ll have my ear. When a marketing message gives the impression that it understands the recipient’s unique challenges or goals, it breaks through the noise and commands attention. – Elie Y. KatzNational Retail Solutions (NRS)

13. Be Informative And Entertaining

One important thing in marketing emails is to catch people’s attention. Marketing should be both informative and entertaining. You can do this by using nice pictures that go with what you’re selling. Also, make it fun and use the person’s real name, not just “Insert Name Here.” This way, your emails will be unique and more likely to be read. – Chris ClearClear Storage Group, LLC

14. Speak Directly To Readers’ Interests

I’m far more likely to engage with marketing emails that relate specifically to my company’s needs, pain points or goals. Generic pitches go straight to the trash. If the subject line and preview text indicate valuable insights for challenges I’m facing, I’ll take the time to read further. Efforts to understand and tailor to my context stand out in my inbox. – Chase HughesPro Business Plans

15. Communicate Authentically

One factor that deters me from engaging with marketing emails is insincere attempts at personalization and customization. If an email includes statements like, “I love what your company does,” it signals a lack of effort to understand our business and appears as an attempt to manipulate my attention. The natural conclusion is that the sender would not make for a reliable partner. – Denys GrabchakPerformetry

16. Follow The Seven Principles Of Persuasion

A quick scan of any marketing email will disclose if the message contains any of the Seven Principles of Persuasion. We use these principles ourselves to achieve massive results with all of our marketing communications. The seven principles are reciprocation, scarcity, authority, consistency, consensus and liking. – ‘Smitty’ Robert J. SmithRobert J. Smith Productions

17. Be Specific And Concise

Many marketing emails have very broad subject lines, such as, “We thought you would enjoy this,” which was an email in my inbox recently. My suggestion is be specific and explain in as few words as possible what the value is in opening the email. Business leaders are typically busy people, so grab their attention with a subject line that explains the importance and value you can offer in a very concise way. – Jason FoodmanLeaf.page

Forbes Business Council Article Link:  17 Effective Strategies For Creating Marketing Emails Potential Clients Will Read