Do You Want Your Emails Read?

By John R. Aberle | Relationship Selling

Mar 28
John R. Aberle’s infographic, “6 Customer Engagement Strategies”

When you put a lot of effort into your writing your emails, you want them read, right? Do you ever wonder what it takes to get people to open your emails, read them and then act on them? Base on the number of articles on the Internet about this topic, a lot of other writers worry about the same issue. Here is some really excellent advice about this topic, mostly snagged from articles that Crowdfire told me about based on my interest. My friend and mentor Jack Humphrey recommended a couple of tools recently. Crowdfire is free.


John R. Aberle’s infographic, “6 Customer Engagement Strategies”

6 Digital Marketing Strategies to Help Improve Customer Engagement.

Julie Chomiak wrote the first article around a fascinating subject: “6 Digital Marketing Strategies to Help Improve Customer Engagement.”

Customer engagement is a term which has gained traction over the past few years, fueled by the increased emphasis on personalization and real-time interaction, which has boomed for small and large businesses alike. However, while being aware of customer engagement, as a concept, is one thing, knowing how to actually improve it is something else entirely.[1]

[1] Julie Chomiak on Social Media Today: “6 Digital Marketing Strategies to Help Improve Customer Engagement.”

Julie goes on to give six ways to capture better customer engagement:

  1. Send welcome emails

What’s the first thing you do when a guest shows up at your house? You welcome them into your home, of course. The same should go for your email strategy. As soon as someone signs up for your newsletter or makes a purchase, send them a welcome email.

This is a great way to begin a new relationship, and an added benefit is that recipients are more likely to engage with your call to actions (CTAs). By giving your readers useful information in the emails, they’re inclined to learn more and click through to your website. It’s a win-win.

Welcome emails set the stage for your customer relationship. By being a good host, you’re establishing the foundation for a lasting relationship. Make it known that you want to hear from your customers. An easy way to do this is by using a personalized email account in the sender field; not a “do not reply” address. Putting a name behind your customer service humanizes your brand, which boosts engagement.

  1. Thank them

In the same vein as welcoming your guests into your home, you should make sure that you also thank your customers.

A small – but personalized – nod of thanks goes a long way in establishing customer loyalty, while enticing and encouraging customers to engage with your content. Send a thank you email for recent purchases, or as an acknowledgement of their loyalty, where applicable.

Recognizing that your customers are choosing to do business with you means a lot and can help create a positive association with your brand. Use this type of outreach to humanize your business and convey its mission and values through your tone of voice and accompanying imagery. Your customers will value a tailored and unexpected email that doesn’t require them to do anything, but lets them know they’re appreciated by your business.

  1. Optimize for mobile

If we know one thing, it’s that people are using their mobile devices more and more. Optimizing your emails – from font size to image pixel ratio – is critical to customer engagement. If your email appears distorted on a mobile device, the reader will close it within a few seconds. However, when an email renders appropriately, it sends a message to your readers that you understand their email habits and that you want to make your communications as user-friendly as possible.

Optimizing for mobile sounds more technologically involved than it is. Try using responsive design that automatically adapts to different screens. This means your email will look its best on desktop, smartphone, and tablets because the design caters to whatever device the reader is using.

  1. Convey value in subject lines

People’s inboxes are flooded with mail every single day. In order to stand out – and have people actually read your email – you need to use persuasive subject lines.

Subject lines draw attention and help people assess what’s worth their time. By communicating the value of the email in your subject, it tells the reader what’s in it for them. To master your subject line savvy, channel what resonates with your audience and creatively work it into your subject line.

Before you do anything, assess what’ll resonate with your audience and then craft your subject line.

Is your email all about top tips for organizing your kitchen? Or free Halloween cookie recipes?

Whatever it may be, ensure those connection points are in the subject line. When people perceive value, they’re more likely to open, read, and click through your email. [1]

[1] Julie Chomiak on Social Media Today: “6 Digital Marketing Strategies to Help Improve Customer Engagement.”

The fifth point about paying attention to posting times is definitely a social media issue more so than email while the sixth point was to evoke a reaction or pique your reader’s curiosity for which she had several good suggestions including using emoji’s on your social media posts so as to seem more friendly and personal.

Two things were missing to make this article more complete: a graphic and information on the best fonts and sizes for mobile use. I created the infographic for this article based on Julie Chomiak’s article.

Best Font Size for Mobile

Then, a Google search for “What is the best font size for email newsletters?” produced this information on Quora. Mujib Rahman, Email Marketing Expert recommended:

  • The most commonly used fonts – Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, Comic Sans M S, and Tahoma.
  • Header Font size – 22 to 25.
  • Body font size – 14 to 16.
  • Templet (sic) size – Not more than 200 kb
  • Image size – 60 to 100 kb
  • Image – Text Ratio – 50:50.

Jon McLaren, Web Developer, Computer Programmer, Graphic Artist further suggested that the font needs to be readable on mobile without zooming. He also cautioned about using custom fonts that the readers won’t have on their phones. His final point was a reminder that if you have images, you need to include alt text in the event that their email client doesn’t load images.

He was joined by Missy Titus, Katherine Raz, and Tim Claerbout in recommending larger font sizes, especially 14 point. Jon actually suggested 14 to 18px. Tim made an excellent point about fonts being different sizes in print or on the screen at the same font sizes. His example was Times New Roman versus Arial. If you really want a difference, though, look at either of those against Verdana at the same font size.


The point everyone made was that you want to communicate so make it easy on the reader of your emails, blog posts or social media posts. Be sure that the font is readable on mobile. Make it interesting with images, videos, GIFs or emojis. Everyone constantly hustles so if you really want them to read your email, answer the question “What’s in it for me?”

Open your heart in selling,

John's digital signature written with mouse
John R. Aberle

Book Cover for How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses


For a variety of ideas about addressing “What’s in it for me?” get your copy of the Amazon Kindle eBook: How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses.

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About the Author

I have a strong love for small businesses, especially brick and mortar companies. After an 18-year career in sales and marketing, I started my own service company, which I grew in both sales and profits for the first five years. In my sixth year, the bottom dropped out of the printer market such that it made more sense to sell my assets and return to Southern California. There I went to work for an international small business consulting company. I spent over three years on the road with them helping small businesses to become more profitable and better managed. I then started my own company specializing in sales and marketing consulting, coaching and training. My emphasis is on heart-centered, relationship selling that empowers prospects to make their own choices.