Although some marketers fail to realize the value of email marketing, you can make the most of it if you use it properly. It not only helps you interact with your audience, it’s also a great way to generate leads. However, converting these leads require you to optimize and improve your emails so that readers open them and also click through on them. Here are some useful ways in which you can fully optimize your marketing emails:
- Write a strong subject line – The subject line is the first thing your readers are going to see when they open their inbox. Try to get them interested enough to open the mail and spend some time reading the content. Focus on the reader; that’s the mantra. Here’s a good example from Sephora.
- Personalize your subject line – Even by adding a simple “you”, you can make the subject line of your email more personal. In a test run by Wishpond, it was found that the addition of “you” to the subject line had a higher open rate of 37%. The non-personal subject line had an open rate of 26%.
- Opt for shorter subject lines – In the same test mentioned above, shorter subject lines seemed to perform much better than long subject lines. The shorter subject line had an open rate of 37%, while the longer one had an open rate of 32%. The idea is to grab the attention of the audience while being descriptive about the content of the mail.
- Strong call to action as subject line – People receives tons of emails and may be too busy to read through the entire email. It would be a good idea to be direct and clear about what you want them to do in the subject line itself. Take a look at the example below for a CTA subject line.
- Have a plain text version ready – Not everyone in your mailing list is going to be able to view HTML text on their device. Make sure you give them the option to view the plain text version of your mail and ensure that this option is clearly visible.In fact, a Hubspot study found that plain text emails had a 25% higher open rate than HTML. Take a look at the differences below:
- Optimize mails for mobiles – 61% of brand emails are viewed using phones and tablets. This is why many email marketers are starting to send out emails with responsive designs. The image below is a good example of how HTC has embraced responsive email design in their newsletter.
- Use sender name – Along with the subject line, the sender name is the first thing readers are going to see in their inbox. Since building trust is extremely important in email marketing, it’s a good idea to send your marketing emails from an actual person.
- Optimize mails for images-off viewing – Some email clients have the images turned off by default so you could benefit from optimizing your mail with images turned off. In the image below, you can see the difference between the images-on and images-off view for PizzaExpress emails.
- Display important info at the top – Avoid putting pictures and logos at the top of the email. Make the most of this location for the most important information since it’s the first place readers will look at after opening the mail.
- Write a clear and concise CTA – Your call to action should be short and direct, clearly telling readers what you want them to do. Some examples of good CTAs are “Shop Now”, “Buy Now”, “Read More”, “Download Now”, etc. Here’s an excellent example of a clear and short email CTA from H&M.
- Limit graphics – Like I’ve mentioned earlier, some email service providers don’t automatically display graphics. If you have graphics in your email, all readers will see are empty boxes instead of the pictures. Try to limit images to as little as possible for your email.
- Have a single CTA – It may be easy to assume that having multiple calls to action increases the chance of someone clicking on one of the buttons. However, this may result in separated actions and distract readers from the main focus of the mail. In the case of Whirlpool, reducing the CTA buttons from 4 to just 1 helped improve the number of clicks by 42%.Original email design
New email design
- Include an unsubscribe link – For every email you send out, make sure you include an unsubscribe link at the bottom. Otherwise, you might have people marking your message as spam without informing you.
- Keep it short – Since many people don’t have the time to read through a long email, it’s always better to keep your email content short but straight to the point. In the case of HealthConnect One, a non-profit organization, coordinating its year-end direct mail with 4 short emails helped them increase donations by 50%. Here’s an excellent example of a short and direct marketing email from Asos.
- Run a test – According to a report published by Marketing Sherpa, 83% of marketers who participated in the survey are overlooking the importance of testing their marketing emails. You should occasionally run a test and track the performance of various email layouts, content choice, etc. so you can find out which works best for you.
- Sending reminder mails – Try sending out reminder emails to inactive users and subscribers every once in a while. Keep it short and emphasize on the message that you just want to remind them of your existence. Take a look at how Dropbox is subtly and non-intrusively reminding inactive users about the features of their service.
- Brand your emails – Make sure your readers know whom the email is from by branding your marketing emails. If you’ve sent a memorable email, you’d want them to remember that they came from you. Take note of how Birchbox has clearly branded their email at the top without going over the top.
- Keep it simple – Simplicity is the key to optimizing your marketing emails. Whether it’s in the layout and design or the content of your email, make sure it’s simple and direct. Take a look at how Canva sends out beautifully-designed yet simple emails to let readers know about new layouts available.
- Segment your audience – According to the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, 39% of marketers who segment their subscribers experienced a higher open rate. 28% had a lower unsubscribe rate, while 24% experienced better revenue. Through segmentation, you will be able to build a more relevant mailing list for various campaigns. Take a look at the image below for a complete data published in the Lyris report.
- Experiment with timing – The effectiveness of your marketing email may vary depending on the time and day you send it. Try experimenting with various timings at different days of the week to see which works best. Also, experiment on the various timings with different segments of your mailing list. According to Wordstream, the best time to send marketing emails is between 8:00 AM and 9:00 AM on Thursday. The worst time is between 8:00 AM and 10:00 AM on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, what works for them may not necessarily work for you.Email data from Harland Clarke shows that 26.9% of emails were sent on a Wednesday. However, there was only a 15.6% open rate. On the other hand, only 5.5% of emails were sent out on a Saturday. The open rate for these mails was 32.5%. So you see that there are differences in which timing works for different business.
- Be witty – Witty subheaders and subject lines could very well help you on your way to a successful email marketing campaign. Take a look at how Paperless Post uses a clear call to action as a header. The subheader says “You didn’t forget Mother’s Day, did you?” It’s both witty and helpful, so readers are left to wonder whether or not they actually forgot about Mother’s Day.
- Be helpful and relevant – Your emails should be a way for you to help your readers and providing them with the information they would need. It could be a friendly reminder about what they signed up for or even to remind them to renew their subscription. For instance, TurnStyle Cycle sends out an email reminding people about their expiring series. The email includes an offer for help along with some useful details.
- Match your email with your landing page – Instead of sending readers to your home page, it would be a great idea to design a specific landing page for your marketing emails. Make sure the landing page matches the email and you have a different landing page for different offers.For example, Indian ecommerce store Koovs sends out emails that match their landing page design. The first image shows the marketing email and the second image shows the landing page.
You now have some of the most important tricks to optimize your email marketing campaign. While the above ideas are the best practices, it may be a good idea to experiment and run tests on different subject lines, timing, and CTA. Avoid being satisfied or giving up too easily. There are endless possibilities to increase the success of your email marketing campaign, so get started today.
Read more: Direct Mail Campaign Failed? Here’s How to Turn it into a Win
Thanks Shane .. some really good tips here, well researched as well (which I always like to see)