Giving your subscribers inbox love

An inbox is a personal space, when someone invites you to send them email they are inviting you into that personal space. You should take this into account every time you email your subscribers. They expect you to be sending them an email they will enjoy.

Achieving what I call “inbox love” is the state where people look forward to opening your emails, the state where people will do drop what they’re doing the second they see the notification pop up. I have two such emails at the moment;

First off, I love receiving the NFL 1st and 10 email. Why do I love receiving this email? It’s beautifully presented in a way that makes the content easy to scan and it responds accordingly to my mobile device but, most importantly, I love reading the content. I find it hard to keep up with all the NFL news due to the timezone change and this newsletter makes it easy for me to read it.

Secondly, I get excited every time I receive the Lonely Planet email. Just like the NFL email, I like the design and the fact it’s easy to read on my mobile but, I love the content more. There’s nothing better than opening a Lonely Planet email on a cold November morning and getting lost in the idea of booking a last minute holiday.

It’s not only us email geeks who get excited about email though…

Two sides to every story

Just like every childhood playground argument, there are two sides to every story. We have to remember when we’re emailing that we’re sending out to individual subscribers, not a general average from your subscriber base.

Lets take a look at a few examples I’ve taken from Twitter*


Here’s someone who had their entire day made from one simple email from Netflix!

Screenshot 2014-11-11 19.30.18

On the flip side to that; here’s someone who is, shall we say, less than pleased with the email they received?

Screenshot 2014-11-11 19.31.13


Here was someones very positive reaction to receiving a heavily personalised email from AirBnB

Screenshot 2014-11-11 19.31.38

And someone who didn’t like it as much

Screenshot 2014-11-11 19.31.52

* Matt Byrd spoke about using Twitter to find out what your subscribers think of your emails at the Email Design Conference 2014 and I’ve been addicted to it ever since!

Let’s give some love

So how do we get the kind of reaction we want out of our subscribers?


Going back to what I said about people letting you into their inbox, there is usually a specific reason for that. If you know why people are signing up to your emails, you’re halfway to a winning already. If you look at both of the emails I used as examples above, they’re both sending me content that I signed up for.

If people are signing up to your emails to get money off deals, you will obviously engage them best with relevant offers. When writing it down, this really seems like an obvious thing but you’d be surprised at how many companies simply don’t do it.


It’s true, content is king! But every king must have a good throne to sit on. In this case design, layout, and presentation are the throne that our highly-relevant content will sit on.

If you want to keep people interested in your email and have them coming back excited to read it, you have to ensure it is presented in an aesthetically pleasing way. Ensure you design in a way that shows off your content best.

Multi device

We live in a fast-paced, multi device world. Ensuring your emails are readable by subscribers across multiple devices, while they’re on the go, is absolutely paramount to a successful email program. It may seem melodramatic, but it really can take only one poor mobile experience to turn people off your emails.

In fact, 75% of emails viewed on a mobile device are likely to be deleted if not optimised for mobile. Do you think a subscriber will still love you after deleting your email?

Overall, our goal is to get people excited to read our emails. When people are excited to read them, open rates increase, click rates increase and everyone is a winner.

So, I have a few questions for you;

What emails do you look forward to receiving? And, what are you doing to ensure your subscribers are excited for your emails?

Reply in the comments below or reach out on Twitter.