The 4 key components to building the perfect email bait

“There’s plenty more fish in the sea”

Ah, that fateful phrase. It’s used in the world of sales and marketing in a similar fashion to the dating world. It’s designed to soften the blow of rejection and shift our vision to an ocean of opportunity. Indeed, there are plenty more fish, but that’s a useless sentiment without the right bait to catch them. This is where email comes in.

We’ve designed the perfect recipe for email bait, with four ingredients that should capture your audience’s attention, hook, line, and sinker.

Component 1: the subject line and pre-header

These exist to help you convince the recipient that your email is worthy of opening, and in turn, improve your open rates. The recipient’s decision to open an email is based 50% on the brand, and 50% on the subject line.

A subject line does not exist in any other form of digital communication. This is because email is the only form of communication where the full message is forced upon a recipient without their prior consent. While subject lines were originally designed to be a brief synopsis of what an email contains, they’re now the bait of the email world. To stand out amongst the sea of emails, we recommend the following:

  • Focus on the audience and tailor to their persona
  • Keep it short and sweet – no more than 50 characters, capitalise each word
  • Personalise and segment – match the message with name and/or company name and apply this to each segment of the email

Component 2: the introduction

This should contain a hook that convinces the recipient the email is worth their time. Where possible, use numbers and statistics to evidence your claims. This message should build from the subject line and include an example.

Do not profess your love for the recipient on the first date – wait a little bit before saying how much you would love to work with them! Remember, you are the one with the solution, so deliver a message that is strong and self-assured. Avoid comments such as “we/I would love to”, “I know you’re really busy, but” or “grab a coffee”.

At this stage if they’ve read this far you should state clearly what you want the reader to do next. Make it a clear action such as ‘discover the best talent now’ or ‘learn how to attract the best talent’.

Component 3: the desire and action

This is the email content that inspires engagement and action. Based on the successes of our clients, we’ve found that it’s better to base your content around broader industry or organisational topics. This means that you have a chance to engage every one of your prospects, irrespective of their current position. You should ensure each paragraph is a maximum of four lines on a normal desktop monitor, with no more than four paragraphs where possible.

Try to display data in bullet points to create a clear reading pathway. Additionally, the use of capitalisation, emboldening and italics may be used to highlight key points. Any highlighted text should convey the message of the email in isolation. Our tip: copy the highlighted sections and paste them into a document. Do they make sense? Is the sentiment clear? Use highlighting wisely, as with every highlighted item, the previous item’s value is further diminished.

Why not try the squint test on plain text emails? Simply open the email on your screen, sit back in your chair, squint, and attempt to read your email. If your message can be consumed in that state, you’ve delivered a well-designed, well-structured email. If not, it’s back to the drawing board.

Component 4: The strong branded sign-off

Finally, add a short, concise paragraph that gives the contact a way to connect with you. This element is also where people look to learn what you actually do, so making it clear and concise is essential. Provide all the necessary contact information for you and the business, but also include a strong brand tagline. For example, ‘Force24: Beyond Email’ works well. This insight helps the contact to decide whether it’s worth a conversation. If you’ve segmented and personalised sufficiently, this decision should be an easy one.

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Sarah Customer Success