Email is inevitably an integral part of your marketing strategy. But are you getting the most out of your emails? Before you hit send on your next email campaign, check to make sure you are following these email marketing best practices to increase open and click-through rates.
Send From a Person, Not a Distribution Email Address or Company Name
People trust people, not things. Almost all split-testing research shows that a prospect is more likely to open an email from a person than a “support@” or “sales@” email address. The goal of email marketing is to develop a relationship with your prospect. Your recipients only take a second or two to decide whether they want to open your email. Since distribution email addresses are less personal, they may skip over that all together. If you must include your company name, consider adding it after the sender’s name like this: Michael Sterl, Carve Digital.
Follow CAN-SPAM Rules
CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing) laws protect people by giving them a right to stop receiving email from a given company. It is important that you are educated and stay up to date on these regulations to avoid getting flagged and losing the ability to send marketing emails in the future. Almost all email marketing platforms have tools in place to keep you in compliance. If you are using MailChimp, HubSpot, Constant Contact, or some other email marketing application, look to make sure you’re following the compliance guidelines for that particular application. More information on CAN-SPAM Compliance can be found here.
Use Clear, Engaging Subject Lines
A clear and concise subject line is the first touch with your email. It needs to entice the reader to want to open the email and learn more. Aim for keeping your subject line to less than 50 characters, since anything longer than that gets truncated in most email platforms. You also want to avoid certain words that may flag your email as spam. HubSpot has been kind enough to gather a list of spam trigger words. Finally, use language that speaks directly to your buyer personas and consider including personalization in the subject line if it makes sense. You can also use a tool like subjectline.com to estimate how your subject line might perform.
Choose Preview Text
Preview text gives readers a sneak peek into the content before they even open the email; if it is enticing they are far more likely to open the email. Most email platforms will select text from within the email for you if you don’t decide on preview text, but you have the opportunity to craft a quick, attractive lead into your message that will give readers a little more information on what they can expect when they open the email. Since subject lines should be limited to 50 characters as mentioned above, think of this as your extended subject line.
Include One CTA Per Email
We often see emails with so many calls-to-action that it’s overwhelming and causes confusion for the reader. With the exception of email newsletters, it’s critical that your email elicit an action from your reader. Whether that is downloading a piece of content, booking a meeting, or visiting a webpage, don’t confuse them with multiple CTAs. Instead, your CTA should stand out in the form of a button or bold link so the reader can easily know where to click. Since people don’t always read the email in it’s entirety, be sure to make the CTA easy to understand with a glance. For example, “Download the eBook” or “Get 10% Off” are examples of clear CTAs that will capture your reader’s attention.
Keep it Short and Sweet
Recent data from Marketing Sherpa shows that readers spend an alarming 15-20 seconds reading an email. With this limited timeframe, don’t waste valuable time with lengthy paragraphs. Hit your main points quickly and make it easy for readers to find the Call-to-Action. Your email needs to effectively tell them what you want them to do. Make that stand out and don’t clutter up the email with information that doesn’t support the CTA. If you have a lot of information to include, use bullet points to call out the most important pieces as well as dividers to separate topics so your readers can scan quickly. Or save that information for a landing page where readers will likely allot more time to digest the information
Add Social Sharing Option
Expand your overall reach by adding social sharing buttons to your email. They are built into many email platforms so it doesn’t require much extra legwork on your end. Encouraging readers to share your email via social channels increases overall visibility and clicks – sounds great, right? Be sure to use sharing buttons rather than follow buttons as this pushes your content out, rather than simply increasing your followers.
Keep Mobile Users in Mind
Again, you want to keep your email short and to the point. A long email will appear very long on a mobile device. And today over half of emails are opened on mobile devices (source: Litmus) so you need to make sure your content is optimized for mobile. Reduce image file sizes and leverage responsive email templates that are standard in many email platforms.
Preview and Test Your Emails Prior to Sending
Before you hit send, double and triple-check for typos, make sure all your links and CTAs work, and your images load clearly. Preview what it will look like on different devices; again many email platforms have this feature built in so you can see how it will look on phones, tablets, and desktops. After you have spent so much time staring at the same email, it is always helpful to share with a few colleagues for a fresh pair of eyes.