HEWeb #OCS8: Write emails people will readHEWeb

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 10:45 AM – 11:30 AM EDT 
Day Kibilds – Ologie

Do people read emails anymore? Yes — they do. But not the way you think.

This talk will show you exactly how to write subject lines, optimize your links and lay out your email copy so your message gets across.


  • Email is cheap/free – email volume continues to increase (meaning we now have less time to read each email)
  • Attention span for email
    • 2018, 13 seconds
    • 2023, 9 seconds
    • But really < 2 seconds for 30% of the people who open it
  • How:
    1. From
      • The first, biggest, and most important part
      • Person or org that the recipient already has a relationship with
      • First: the school name. Later: perhaps a counselor
    2. Subject
      • 69% report spam based on subject line alone
      • Don’t be cleaver (this will just get you marked as spam)
      • Keep short, include action, include natural urgency (like a date) if important
      • Must match content
      • Use personalization: use name or information (your X is about to expire) and action
      • Preheader?
        • Standard is the first line in your email, but you can set it.
        • Should answer any questions in the subject
      • Emoji? only when adds context, emotion. Should only be at end.
    3. Simple language
      • 7th to 9th grade reading level
      • Confusing emails just generate more emails
      • Write like you speak. Don’t write like you write!
    4. Action-driven
      • Using a (good) button instead of a link increases a click by 28%
      • Links should say what they are
      • “learn more” > about what?
    5. Format for scanning
      • Pattens: F, Z, Layer cake (see eye tracking data from NN)
      • Flip sentences. Lead with action.
      • Layer cake works well for News letters
      • Surround your links with whitespace

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