Compelling people to open and read your email is just one reason you want to write a helluva seductive subject line and mimic David Sedaris’ method to writing an irresistible first sentence.
Another is search engine optimization.
It’s pretty much a given that email providers–Google or Yahoo!, for example–will give users a goofy amount of storage. We’re talking gigabytes. Enough storage so users never have to delete another email for the rest of their life.
This means users will probably archive more email, which is good news for you, the email content marketer: what once might have ended up in the trash bin now becomes part of someone’s personal inventory.
What does this have to do with search engine optimization? Easy.
Think of your email account’s archive as a database…an index…of information, much like the databases search engines scour to find relevant web pages based upon keywords.
If you’re a website owner, optimizing web pages so they show up in search results for specific keywords is how you hedge your bets so that your content appears as the most relevant source for the users.
If you’re an email newsletter publisher, optimizing your email newsletters based upon how users might want to retrieve your old issues in the months or years to come is how you ensure your content is not lost or forgotten.
Use a tool like Google’s keyword generator to see how people are searching for specific topics, and write subject lines and body copy with these terms in mind.
In the end, you don’t need to go full-SEO-bore on your emails…but in today’s world any great web writer would apply at least the basic principles to writing them.