Ever see this cartoon?
A lot of the emails we get these days are mostly the "why-do-I-get-this-stuff" variety. If you own your own business and have your own email campaigns, you don't want your customers to be these people. I'm going to give you a few tips on how people will want to open your emails.
1) Don't be annoying
One way to keep from clogging up your customers inbox is to not send them an email, at least not every day. The quickest way for them to hit that Unsubscribe button is to send a bombardment of daily emails. Send them only when you have specials, events, or something important to say. They'll love you for it.
2) Be personable
"Dear Customer" just doesn't cut it. Their parents didn't call them "child". They have names. Use them. Most email programs have a way to input their names into the first email line instead of just an email address. Likewise, you have a name. Use it. I'm sure you would much rather get an email from "Jordan Strickler" than from "firstname.lastname@example.org".
3) Get your point across.
The average person has an attention span of 8 seconds. A goldfish has the attention of 9. Since the people reading your emails have an attention span smaller than that of a tiny fish, you need to get your point across. So don't have emails which read like a Louisa May Alcott novel. Graphics are good for this. So are bullet points.
4) Have a good subject line
In order to read your email, they have to open it. Get the most out of your subject line. Use words that elicit emotion. In a crowded inbox, it will make them stand out. Also, use numbers if you can. A number like 8 or 18 will also make it stand out more.
5) Check out the other guys
If you see an awesome email from another company, look at their emails closer or get on the email list for a company who you know to have good emails. Take some tips from them to polish yours up a little.
Remember email is still a great tool for communicating to your customers, you just have to know how.