If you work in marketing, you know that email is the lifeblood of your business. It’s how you attract new customers, retain existing ones, and share valuable information about new products and services. But if email isn’t done right, it can make your brand look unprofessional or cause users to unsubscribe from your lists. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid these pitfalls while optimizing your campaigns to be as effective as possible. In this post I’ll go over best practices for design, testing, and other important aspects of email marketing so that you can be sure that each message is a home run with your audience.
Energetic and upbeat:Email marketing blasts have tons of benefits, but if you don’t do it right, it can quickly become a nightmare. To help you avoid mistakes and save time, we created the ultimate email blast checklist. This guide will show you how you can increase conversions with email marketing.
Remember the recipients.
Remember the recipients. After all, they’re people, not just email addresses.
Make sure your subject line speaks to them and is personalized based on their relationship with the sender (and considering how many emails they’ve received from you). The language should be friendly and conversational—use a tone that’s appropriate for your brand and audience, but don’t be too formal or stilted.
Think about how you want to address them throughout the body of your message as well: “Dear” sounds more warmly personal than “Hi,” while names are always more effective in person than just calling someone “you.” Using an individual’s name also helps them feel like they’re being heard by an actual human being rather than just another faceless company or company official; for example, when we talk about our clients on social media or in blog posts we often refer to them by name (for example: “we love working with Randy Smith from Blue Valley”).
Create a clear, concise subject line.
Now that you have a clear idea of what your email is about, it’s time to write the subject line. In many ways, this is the most important part of your email.
It will determine if subscribers open your emails or delete them without reading them. It should be concise, easy-to-understand, and catchy—but also relevant and consistent with both your brand and the content within the body of these emails.
When writing a subject line:
- Make it short and sweet; don’t use multiple sentences or long phrases because they will take up too much space in inboxes where there’s limited room for text when opened on mobile devices like phones or tablets (especially when viewed at portrait).
- Be relevant to what people could expect from opening an email from you—if you don’t know what people might want out of an email then how do they?
- Use strong words/phrases that communicate benefits rather than just stating facts without context (for example “Buy Now!” vs “The latest deal from our store”).
Embrace the power of the preview pane.
If you haven’t taken the time to personalize the preview pane, do so now! As the first thing that readers see when they open your email, it should showcase your best work. You can insert images, video links and even a link to the full article right in that preview pane space.
- Show off some of your best graphics with an image gallery.
- If you have content related to current events or trending topics, consider adding an infographic or news roundup as an attachment rather than including it in the body of the message itself—it will increase engagement and boost click-through rates (CTRs).
Consider using an agency.
If you don’t have the time or budget to manage your email marketing program, consider using a professional email marketing agency.
They can help you with best practices, testing and design, content creation and delivery optimization.
Test your design in different email services and with different browsers.
Test your design in different email services and with different browsers.
Here are some of the most common email clients:
- Outlook (Windows)
- Gmail (web-based)
- Yahoo Mail (web-based)
These are examples of browser types that you’ll want to test your design on:
- Chrome (Windows/Mac OSX/Linux)
- Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera are also popular choices. These days, many people access their email through web browsers rather than downloading dedicated programs like Outlook or Mailchimp.
Don’t ask users to click through to read more content; include it right there in the email.
Don’t ask people to click through to read more content. That’s not how you want them to experience your email. Include the content right there in the email so that users don’t have to do anything except read it.
- Don’t force people to click through; include everything they need in-email (no matter how long it is)
- Don’t make people scroll down; put everything right at the top of your email (or even better, include some kind of navigation)
- Don’t make users click on links or buttons to see what you’re talking about!
Make landing pages consistent with emails.
Your landing pages should be consistent with the email. This will make it easier for recipients to find the content they’re looking for, leading to higher conversion rates and lower cost per acquisition (CPA).
- Make sure they’re branded. Your brand is what differentiates you from your competitors: it’s what makes people like you more than them. Therefore, you should use it everywhere in your marketing efforts including on landing pages.
- Optimize them for mobile. Almost everyone accesses the internet using a smartphone these days, so make sure that your landing pages work well on mobile devices by optimizing them for smartphones as well as tablets and desktops.* Optimize them for search engines.* Chances are good that some of those people came from Google searches or other websites where they may have seen links pointing back to yours; therefore, optimizing your site means increasing its chances of being crawled and indexed by search engines like Google (or Bing). That way when someone searches “company name + product name” later on down the road—and hopefully remembers having seen something from there previously—they’ll be able to find whatever information they’re looking for quickly!
Don’t be afraid to use images, hyperlinks, hashtags, and other Web-friendly elements in your emails.
- Use images to break up text and help readers skim your email more easily.
- Insert hyperlinks to link to content on your website, such as a blog post or product page.
- Use hashtags for social media tracking purposes, but don’t use too many (#5), or else it will become difficult for users to read the text in their inbox.
- Add emojis when appropriate! They’re great for adding personality and making readers feel like you’re more relatable than your competitors’ emails.
Encourage people to subscribe by offering a value proposition and teasing the content of upcoming emails.
You can encourage people to subscribe by offering a value proposition and teasing the content of upcoming emails. A value proposition is something that is of high value to them and will help them achieve their goals.
For example, if you have a newsletter about fitness tips for the elderly, you could say: “Subscribe so you don’t miss out on our next 5 tips for staying in shape as you get older!”
By teasing upcoming content, you’re making it clear that there’s going to be more than enough information for your subscribers in each issue or email. You can do this by saying something like: “Subscribe now so we’ll send you our best tips.”
With these best practices you will improve your email marketing campaigns
With these best practices you will improve your email marketing campaigns:
- Use images, hyperlinks, hashtags and other web-friendly elements. If a reader can’t see your message, they won’t click on it. Make sure the subject line is clear, concise and relevant to your audience so that they know what they’re getting into before they open the email.
- Encourage people to subscribe by offering value in exchange for their contact information. This could be anything from an exclusive discount or free trial of the product/service being advertised, to useful content such as tips and tricks that can only be found in your newsletter (i.e., not published on company’s website). The key here is providing something useful so people want to sign up now rather than later out of curiosity after seeing advertisements elsewhere online (where they would have no way of knowing if this valuable offer has already passed).
- Test your design in different email services and with different browsers – especially if you’re sending a lot of emails at once! Sometimes there will be small differences between how it looks on one platform vs another which can cause problems such as truncated text; make sure everything fits nicely together before hitting send 🙂
When it comes to email campaigns, one of the best things you can do is pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. The next time you send an email campaign, ask yourself: Is this content relevant for the people I’m sending it to? Have I included a clear call-to-action? Does this email read like a conversation with someone? If the answer is yes, your email will be well received by subscribers. But if not, your emails might end up in their junk folder instead of their inbox where they belong!