Here are five ways to ensure you're doing it right and that can help convert prospects into customers, and customers into evangelists for your business:
Lots of data indicates that a "from" address which is personal rather than the standard "noreply@DOMAIN.COM" or generic "newsletter@DOMAIN.COM" type addresses can increase open rates by double-digit percentages.
In addition, a relevant and personal subject line can have a similar increase on open rates as a personal from address.
The takeaway here is that your subject line and from address are what most people are going to see in the compressed view of their Inbox, and when you make it personal you're going to stand out from the crowd when your prospect is scanning through the endless stream of work and business related messages waiting for their time and attention.
Be More Social
This is related to #1 above. You should continue your personal style with your writing voice inside the email message as well.
A big mistake often made is confusing cold and distant copywriting with professionalism. There's no reason that your writing can't be both personal and professional, and when it is you have a much better chance of keeping the reading prospect engaged through to your call to action.
Make It Quick
Again the data tells us a lot about people's behaviors and the effectiveness of email marketing. An average email campaign can expect about a 25% open rate on their mailings, and a 4% click-rate from those who open the messages.
By using steps #1 and #2 above that open rate can increase by double digits. Depending on the size of your list that can mean a lot more eyeballs reaching your message.
Now you want to focus on that click-rate, and the data suggests one of the best ways to do that is to keep your message short, to the point, and full of tease that entices the reader to take action.
A general rule of thumb is that you have about 10 seconds to convince the reader not to hit the Delete button and move on to the next message in their Inbox, so keep your email copy short and punchy, and give them a reason to click your link for more.
Make It About Them, Not You
Again it's vital to remember that you're in the prospect's personal space and the last thing they want is some business or marketer shouting "Me, me, me, me, me!" at them there.
If you want to improve those click-rates you need to make it all about the prospect. Their needs, their wants, and their problems. They don't care that you have the best new shiny thing on the market. They do care about themselves though, and their obstacles, their lack of time. Whatever your subject of promotion addresses, that's the focus point of your message; and not how your product or service tackles it but how your prospect can address it... using your product or service.
Give Clear, Simple, Easy Calls To Action
The worst thing you can do once you've convinced a prospect to open your email and read your quick message is to confuse them on what to do next.
Even the smallest amount of confusion can lead to them pressing that Delete button at this point.
Don't end messages with a list of links, or even any choice at all. There should be one thing only for them to do and that's click your link for more.