In sales, a “hook” is something catchy or enticing that attracts attention and, hopefully, leads to a mutually beneficial business transaction. However, the term also has an older and far less positive connotation.
During the vaudeville shows of years past, acts that didn’t immediately capture the audience’s favor were pulled off the stage with a long-handled hook. No second chance to show their stuff. Exit stage left.
So how do you make sure your “hook” is good enough to keep you from being “hooked” like those performers of the past? Let’s say you have crafted the perfect subject line for your email. Is that enough to keep you center stage so you can seal the deal?
Absolutely not. Every word, every phrase, in the content of your email has to be carefully chosen.
Spam filters are becoming smarter and more efficient. They have to. According to a report on NBC Nightly News, the number of spam emails in 2015 doubled, soaring from 30 billion to 60 billion. The use of Artificial Intelligence in monitoring emails has created filters that have the ability to adapt to any attempts to deceive the system.
Here are a few suggestions to help you get your message delivered and not dumped:
- Don’t show it; say it. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but a single image in the body of your email will almost surely send you directly to the junk folder.
- Don’t repeat yourself. If you use the same wording in your content that you used in your subject line, your message will most likely be flagged as spam.
- Don’t be long-winded. Keep your content concise and clear. More than 750 words of content will target you as spam that must be sent to the internet landfill.
- Don’t use “do not pass go” words. These are the words you have been warned against using in your subject lines. “Free,” “Guaranteed,” “Winner” and the like will be picked up by spam filters and your message will be trashed.
- Do look into some of the programs and websites that offer the opportunity (some without charge) for you to discover possible problems before you send your emails. Here are some that might work:
- http://mxtoolbox.com/deliverability – This tool enables you to send your email to firstname.lastname@example.org, and then click “View Report” to receive your full analysis of their SPF records, their headers, and the reputation of your outbound IP.
- https://www.sendforensics.com/email-deliverability-test/ – This tool enables you to run a free report that monitors delivery performance that includes deliverability scoring, layout, link quality and vocabulary analysis, and more. You can also purchase additional features for a paid plan.
- https://www.emailonacid.com/ – This simple email testing tool tests your email on 47 different email clients and mobile devices, including Mail Chimp, Marketo, Vertical Response, and more.