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Last week someone introduced me to the idea of an email having a scent. I quite like this idea!  The concept of this is that you can get a feeling for the email before you have read it.

What factors in an email contribute to get the hound on the fox’s scent?

The crowded inbox is kind of like the perfume section at a big department store – intoxicating! The vast array of smells you can’t distinguish between leaves you feeling rather ill. Perfume brands usually use their brand status or a celebrity in their branding as a scent to draw us closer to their bottle or counter.

Emails are the same – you need to create a scent to draw the recipient’s eye or cursor directly to your email. Basically you want your email’s scent to be instantly recognisable, instantly engaging and instantly informative in order to get them there.

How can you create a scent?

The factors in an email contributing to get the hound on the fox’s scent are namely:

1. The From name
Your from name needs to be instantly recognisable and consistent. The trick to making sure your subscriber recognises you is to make sure you contact them as soon as they subscribe and appropriately. For example if they agreed to receive emails at the point of purchase in store make sure you immediately trigger an email to their inbox introducing your brand. Otherwise they are likely to forget they signed up in store and not remember your brand name when it arrives in the inbox some weeks later.

2. The subject line
The subject line needs to be instantly engaging. Popular subject lines sound easy and helpful. When writing a subject line make sure you are not asking them to do something for nothing – what’s in it for them if they open your email? Have your call to action here. Also longer subject lines have been known to increase click through rate – whereas shorter subject lines just increase open. This is because longer subject lines are more informative – creating a scent of the email.

*To learn more about creating the perfect subject line download our report based on 1 billion emails, click here.

3. The Pop up box
The little box that pops up in the right hand corner of your screen when you receive an email is also an opportunity for you to be instantly engaging. If you make sure that your call to action is the first thing in plain text in your html this will appear within this box.

4.Top section of the email (first 200 pixels)
This section of the email will be seen for those that have preview pane enabled before they have opened the email. You have an opportunity to be instantly recognisable by including your logo or brand name in this section. You have the opportunity to be instantly engaging in this section by including your call to action here. A nice idea is to have it in your link to your online version for example “If you can’t see this email click here to buy any 3 items for the price of 2″. Also make sure your image alt tags are descriptions to be instantly informative about what the email is about to entice people to download the images and read the email.

To bring us back to the perfume store. I always go over to my favourite brand’s counter. Once there I see what’s new, try some samples or check for price increases. Or to take us back to the hunt – what happens when the hounds catch the fox? They devour it! If you use these tactics you’ll increase email engagement. Recipients will devour your email purely because you have created the right scent. They will get the content they expect as opposed to abandoning on opening because the scent was misleading.