I want to get a little personal. Today, I’d like to tell you that I’m concerned about your health. Not your physical health, maybe a little bit about your mental health. But I’m talking about the health of your email inbox.

Here are some interesting facts. Did you know that most people get over 120 emails per day? Also, the average person has about 200 unread emails in their inbox. Now, my wife beats this one. The average inbox has over 8,000 emails in it. 8,000. And the average user has about 40 folders.

Now with all of that email, you say to yourself, “Self, do I have a problem?” No, maybe you don’t. I’m one of those anal retentive people, and every single week, I spend Sunday going through my inbox and doing one of three things. I either delete it, I put it in a folder, or I leave it in the inbox as a to-do list. And I make sure I act on those first thing in the morning come Monday.

My question today isn’t so much about your mental health, but it’s more about the mental health of the people that you’re sending email to. When we’re doing marketing, we tend to come at it one way while the end user tends to look at it another way, right?

WIIAM or WIIFM?

The way that most people send email, or put out marketing messages, or even try to meet somebody in a networking meeting is all about WIIAM. That’s a radio station I call WIIAM, which is What Is Interesting About Me. And most people could care less. What they’re tuned into is a different radio station. It’s called WIIFM, which is What’s In It For Me. When you’re composing an email, think of all that competition. 120 emails a day. 200 unread emails in their inbox which are screaming saying, “Open, read me.” 8,000 emails in their inbox. And do you end up in one of those 40 folders never to be seen again?

When you’re composing your marketing messages, when you’re writing your emails, obviously you want to stand out. You don’t want to be one of those 200 unread emails of the 120 that somebody gets. Or get filed away into a folder. You want people to take action.

Parts Of An Effective Email

Let’s start off by looking at the parts of email that are very important. Obviously the subject is the headline of what it is that you’re trying to say. That’s how you get people’s attention. So that headline is by far the most important part of an email.

The next piece is the opening paragraph. If they open it up, will they read that first line? What does your first line say? Does it connect with people on an emotional level? The next piece is the problem and the solution. Do you offer a problem and a solution in a very short, concise way? Because people are not going to read a novel. They simply don’t have time.

The next part is the WIIFM. What’s in it for me? This is the piece that I really want to dig into today. There are five questions to answer about WIIFM.

The final piece is what the heck do you want me to do with this email? It should have a call-to-action. It should say register, take this action now. Or file it away in your inbox. Put it in one of those folders. Or when you’re done, delete me. It should be something that makes it super, super clear what you want people to do.

The 5 Key Questions

Let’s go back to WIIFM. What’s in it for me? There are five key questions that I think people are asking themselves when they get your email or any email in their inbox. Especially when it comes to business and sales.

  1. The first one is why is this important to me? What does this have to do with me? Is this targeted to something that I am thinking about? Obviously, if the timing’s right, if it’s very targeted, the chances of somebody actually reading or acting on it are going to be a lot higher.
  2. The second question that they will ask is, how does this help me in my job? Does it help me not get fired? Does it help me make more money? Will it help me get a promotion? What does it do for me and why should I pay attention to it?
  3. The next question they’re asking themselves is, is this important and urgent or is it important and not urgent? If it’s important and urgent, obviously you want them to act on it right now. If it’s important and not urgent, you may want them to file it away or at least be aware that you’re going be sending another email when it does become important. And why is that? Explain it.
  4. The next piece of this puzzle is will it save me time or money? Again, is it doing something to further my cause to help me to move forward in my day, in my life, in my business? Will it save me time or will it save me money?
  5. And the last question that somebody is going to ask themselves is does it mean more work for me or less work for me and why? Now, because it means more work, it may be something that’s going to save them a lot of time or make them a lot of money.

Then you have to make a really compelling case for that. But you can’t skip over it. This is something that’s going to take action. It’s not a get-rich-quick scheme or a quick solution to your problem. If it is, awesome. Then you’ve created the better mouse trap. But more often than not, it’s going to take some involvement. They’re going to have to break out their credit card to purchase. They’re going to have to attend a webinar. They’re going to have to do something. Does it mean more work or less work in the long run?

Final Thoughts

When you’re writing your marketing messages, are you writing it in the perspective of does the user ask themselves these questions? Why is this important to me? How does it help me in my job? Is it important? Is it urgent? Or not urgent? Will this save me time or money? And does it mean more work or less work for me in the long run? If you can address those informational questions in your email and your marketing, it’s going to help your end user visualize how what you’re sending to them is gonna make their life better. If you don’t do that, you might just end up being another one of those 120 emails they get every day and 200 unread emails in their inbox. One of the 8,000 emails that are just sitting there doing nothin’ in 40 folders.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?