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Despite the growing popularity of social media, email marketing remains one of the most powerful and effective tools for connecting and engaging with your audience – but only if they’re opening your messages. You could have amazing content, incredible offers and a really convincing call to action, but if your recipients aren’t reading your emails, the results of your hard work will be disappointing. Want to know how to improve your odds? Try a few of these simple yet highly effective tactics and see what happens.

Get permission.

First and foremost, you’ll want to start with a clean list of qualified leads. Don’t be sneaky about how you collect your prospects’ contact information. Be upfront and honest about what they’ll get in return.

Avoid spam triggers.

Your emails can’t be seen if they’re being sent directly to the spam folder. Be sure to avoid using words that tend to trigger spam detectors. (Here’s a pretty extensive list if you need to reference.)

Start with a good subject line.

If you want people to open your messages, bait them with something that piques their interest and entices them to read more. Think of your subject line as the wrapping on a gift. Make it attention-catching!

Personalize your messages.

Obviously as your list grows, you can’t send out each email individually, but you can take advantage of the many available automation tools, such as MailChimp, that allow you to send out large numbers of messages that are still personalized to the recipient.

Offer content that is of value.

Stay away from too much promotional stuff in your emails. Instead, give your audience content that they want. Stick with relevant topics that engage, entertain or educate. Oh, and a well-placed coupon doesn’t hurt either.

Be consistent.

Your recipients want to know what to expect from you, both in terms of the type of content you’ll be delivering as well as the frequency with which you’ll be sending out your messages. Get on a schedule and stick to it.

Don’t overdo it.

Don’t bombard your recipients with emails once a day (unless that’s what they signed up for) and don’t include a novel in your messages. Successful email marketers know that when it comes to this type of communication, short and sweet (and not too often) is key.

Optimize your send time.

This one can be a bit tricky and does require some legwork, but it’s worth it in the end. Analyze the performance of your email campaigns to determine if there are certain days/times when your open rate is better. Then, hone your schedule accordingly.

Keep it real.

Talk to your recipients as if you were writing to a friend. Avoid corporate mumbo jumbo or technical jargon. Make your messages conversational so that your readers feel as though you’re speaking directly to them.

Tap into emotion.

The goal is to make your messages stand out in your recipients’ crowded inboxes, so try to play on sensory or emotional triggers. For instance, create a sense of urgency that will compel readers to want to click and learn more so they don’t miss out on something amazing.

You have a great message to share. The tips above should help ensure that message is delivered to the right people, at the right time for the best possible results.