If you have an email address, you know how many marketing emails come through every day. With the number of businesses competing for consumers’ attention (and trying to stay out of the spam filter), distinguishing yourself from the crowd can be difficult. While the Internet age has changed much about communication and marketing, it has not changed the fact that the first impression is the most important one. Follow these six steps to put together an opening email that your readers will remember.

Be sure to greet the recipient of your email by name. If you don’t, then your potential client will believe that your campaign is a mass emailing. Even if you are doing a mass message, you need to use individual names when you start the email. There are ways that you can set up your database so that the names go into the email, so take care of this detail. It’s amazing what such a minor step like this can accomplish for you.

In your email, indicate how frequently you’ll be sending out further messages. Whether you want to send out an email daily, weekly or monthly, let the user know so they can gauge the potential impact of their relationship with you on their inbox. Unless a reader has a lot of interest in your product or service, he won’t want to hear from you every day, so be careful in making this decision.

If you let your recipients choose how often they will hear from you, and to choose different types of emails, varying by subject, you will make your business seem like it is even more tailored to the individual. This puts the customer in charge of the situation and makes you seem like a much smaller threat to the health of their inbox.

Always give your readers the option to unsubscribe from your messages. Most reasonable people realize that businesses are out there to make money, and so they won’t resent getting one email from you. However, if you do not respect their request to unsubscribe, then you will become an annoyance. Make your business look like it is attentive to client response by adding the “Unsubscribe” option.

Different email servers have different rules about how stringently they screen email messages before permitting them to go all the way to the inbox. Because of this, you’ll want to remind your potential clients to add your email address to their whitelist (list of safe senders). This ensures that your future messages will make it onto their screens.

Use social media tools to make it simpler for your readers to share your content with their friends. Adding the possibility for Facebook and Twitter sharing will make you look much more media savvy — and make your business more popular. There is no reason to let those opportunities pass you by.

With the rash of marketing emails out there, every inch of inbox space is valuable. If a reader is going to make the commitment to subscribe to your emails, make sure that each message brings him value.