Email marketing is a bit of an odd duck
As other marketing channels have seen a distinct rise and fall in the face of social media and new communications technologies, email marketing still remains effective. In fact, despite all of our new ways to communicate, people still retain the use of their email for daily use. Receiving invoices, communicating with customers, etc. Sure, other platforms have sprung up for these communications, but none are as ubiquitous as email. That said, email marketing has aged, and therefore it has changed. Getting your emails opened, then read, then obeyed, is no easy task. It was hard in the beginning, and it's really hard now that everyone and their mother is used to receiving promotional emails. Let's take a look at how your emails can be the exception to the rule in a "no open" world.
Give before you take
Many marketers have gotten a lot smarter about this now, but it wasn't always the case, and there are still many who fall flat on their face when balancing their value. Think about the reasons you follow the accounts you do on twitter. Think about which emails you open when they slide into your inbox. They're the ones that are important to you, not the ones that sell and annoy you the most. Your customers are just like you, so make sure you're building trust and value through emails that really offer something, before you every ask for any action(s) in return.
Avoid subject line cliches
This is the most controversial piece of advice here. Most people these days are used to the types of subject line formulas that have traditionally performed well, and haven't realized that their effectiveness is dying down. Consider simply summarizing your subject lines in a way that makes them sound like they're from a genuine person. Companies now more than ever perform better when viewed as individuals or collectives of individuals rather than businesses.
Keep it short
How many of you have received emails from some marketer whose email list you opted which are pages long? How many of you read them to the end? How many of you send these types of emails yourself? If you want an email to be a sales letter, keep it short, visual, and enticing, then use a CTA to get people to click out of an email and onto one of your pages where you have more control. People are turned off when they expect a helpful message and are greeted with a nine-paragraph sales letter in email form.
One really can't stress enough how valuable it is to hear back from your customers directly about how you're doing and how they interact with your brand or your product. The assumptions you make may not be helping you at all, so it's important that you reach out and invite feedback; you may just find that a slight tweak to your salesfunnel could address something that is currently a huge conversion killer for your customers. This could take the form of either a personal email message or a survey.