The difference between a successful email campaign and a failure is found in the details.
Of course, the actual content you’re delivering in the message matters most –– much more than font size, timing, sender name and the gamut of other tactics we’ll go over in this article. But we’re going to assume you’ve got that down. Why, then, are your open and click-through rates on your email marketing campaigns so low? Where’s the disconnect?
The best marketers have progressed past these grim realities. And they’ve managed to do so not because their content is that much better. It’s also not because of the striking beauty of their HTML layouts nor their impenetrable strategies, though both of those things probably help their cause.
In all likelihood, those marketers mastered the details. And it’s that proficiency which got them over the hump. Here are seven juicy email marketing tips to get your next campaign soaring.
Email marketing tip 1: Crafting your subject line
You probably know by now that email subject lines are a big deal. Here are all the basics:
- Keep your subject line at 50 characters or less...
- But be descriptive. One descriptive word in a multi-word subject line will give readers a good enough glimpse into the content of your message to open it.
- Be truthful. Don’t over-promise and under-deliver. Readers are irked by false promises.
- A/B test your subject lines. Unfamiliar with the practice? Divide your subscriber list in half and send out two different subject lines –– one vague and one descriptive, for example –– and see which gets the most opens.
- Ask a question, use a listicle (“8 email marketing tips”), try a testimonial (“Why Warren Buffett manually balances his checkbook”), offer a benefit (“Buy an investment property in 30 days”) or an explanation (“3 reasons why you have writer’s block right now”).
Email marketing tip 2: CAPITALIZATION
Have you ever been sent an all-caps text message or email? You felt like you were being yelled at, didn’t you? As with the ambiguity rule we set forth above, use capitalization sparingly, but don’t hesitate to pull the trigger when the time is right.
You surely don’t want to exhaust readers by having an all-caps word in each and every subject line –– “ONE DAY SALE,” “ACT NOW,” “TODAY’S THE DAY.” But wait, maybe your company is hosting a conference in the near future.
If your brand carries a friendly, playful tone, you could try a subject line like “STOP! Collaborate and listen: conference 2015.” That would catch your eye, wouldn’t it?
Email marketing tip 3: Build your buttons
You’re probably trying to funnel email subscribers back to your website or blog. You need links to do that. Guess what works better than blue hyperlinks? Linked buttons.
People like clicking buttons. It’s innate. They stick out from the whitespace in the rest of your email as a nice, colorful contrast to the rest of your text, drawing the eye.
Instead of ending your copy with a hyperlinked “Read more,” try a big green button with the same phrase. (And remember, A/B test with this to see what kind of results you get.) And test your emails on your own mobile device to ensure that they’re mobile-friendly.
And finally, remember the rule of thumb: Make sure they’re easily clickable by even the biggest of thumbs.
Email marketing tip 4: Get subscribers to share
Speaking of buttons, one great way to exponentially increase the visibility of your email is to add share buttons. Allow readers to share your email marketing message through forwarding and also on Facebook and Twitter or any other social media platform you know they use.
But here’s the deal: Share buttons are ubiquitous these days. There they sit at the bottom of every blog post, YouTube video and news article.
Don’t leave them on an island by themselves, crossing your fingers in hopes of a subscriber clicking one and spreading your carefully-crafted word. Encourage them to do so with carefully-placed call-to-action buttons.
“Have a friend or colleague who would benefit from this information? Share the love." (button)
Email marketing tip 5: Preview text tricks
What do you see when an email pops in your inbox?
A sender name? Check.
A subject line? Check.
A date and time? Check.
What else? Oh yes, the preview text.
This forgotten puzzle piece in email marketing is a real secret weapon. Also known as “preheader text,” this portion of vital copy will show in the inboxes of several major email clients, including iPhone, Gmail, Outlook, Mail and Windows Mobile.
Subject line: Why Warren Buffett manually balances his checkbook
Preview text: Could you be making more money if you stuck to a practice that billionaires swear by?
Remember, though, you don’t have a lot of words to work with. Gmail gives about 100 characters total between subject line and preview text while iPhone offers 140 characters for preview text regardless of the length of the subject line.
Email marketing tip 6: Timing is everything
If you send your email at the wrong time, all of your work –– from content creation to the polishing we’re discussing here –– could go to waste. Sad, right? Let’s avoid that. Here’s what you need to remember about timing:
- Open rates across the board are highest early in the morning.
- Readers also respond well to emails that arrive after they get off work –– between 7 and 10 p.m.
- Avoid midday and weekends. If customers are looking for a distraction in the middle of the work day, they’ll seek one out.
- No emails on Monday. Your email list subscribers are sizing up the week ahead, probably stressed, and they likely don’t want to spend time reading an email that seems irrelevant in the moment.
Email marketing tip 7: Decide on a sender name
Never send an email with a generic sender name like "info" or "noreply". Remember a few things while deciding on a sender name:
- Sender or “from” names are just as important as subject lines. That’s intimidating, we know. They’re just as prominent as subject lines in most email clients. So getting it right is crucial.
- They have a direct association with your brand.
- Some marketers like to use a first name, which is proven to be more effective in getting opens. It can be frustrating.
- Make it clear who the message is coming from. Beyond “Jane Doe,” readers should be able to instantaneously size up your message on their phone or iPad.
- Reveal early. Some clients cut off “from names” after 10 characters these days. So don’t be too lengthy. Let readers know who you are and do it straight away.
Never ignore the details of your emails. Every square inch of an email message can be honed and crafted in order to maximize engagement. Follow the above email marketing tips to take your emails to the next level.