With roughly 93 billion marketing emails sent each day, the battle for attention in the inbox is a real challenge for marketers. At the same time, it’s definitely worth the investment. In one study, marketers ranked email marketing as the most effective digital media channel they use—better than social media marketing, SEO, and affiliate marketing.
With the knowledge that email is a leading channel, here are five best practices to make your emails shine:
The subject line tops the list as the most important factor in getting someone to open an email. Approximately 35% of email ( recipients say they open an email based on the subject line alone.
One of the most important ways to optimize for subject lines is to keep subject lines between six and ten words. This is because most people nowadays are using their phones and iPads to check email,and on devices, a long subject line will get cut off and will likely miss the mark.
Because subject lines are so important, they warrant a post all on their own. Click here for our recent detailed blog on subject line best practices.
Pro Tip: Use an online subject line rating tool like Subjectline.com to help you test for the subject line that is likely to perform the best.
The Preview Text (also known as Preheader text) is an often forgotten, but extremely important email element. This is the copy that shows to the right of your subject line on your desktop email client. It is important because it supports the subject line in enticing people to open your email.
Another thing to keep in mind is that on a mobile device the preheader text stands out even more. This is important because 75% of Americans say they use their smartphones most often to check email.
Also, note that preheader text will display differently depending on the length of your subject line. And that email preheader appears differently in different email clients. You can either litmus test your emails for popular email clients, or make your best take, which keeps the most important information at the start of your preheader copy.
Pro tip: Use the preheader to build curiosity.
Once you get someone to open your email, the next step is to engage them, and that requires an email body that is clear, understandable, and compelling.
The first copy best practice is to personalize to catch your readers’ attention. This also lets the brand connect with them on a more personal level. 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement. In fact, in general, you probably want to keep the tone conversational; however, that will depend on your brand and audience.
Since people get so many emails a day, even if they open an email, they often only skim it, so you need to keep your email copy short, concise, and scannable. Make sure to break up copy with plenty of white space and use bulleted lists and short sentences.
Pro tip: Be more customer-centric by using the word “you” more than “I,” “me,” “we,” and “us” in your email copy.
Caption: Starbucks Email Example
For the more than half of us that are
are visual learners, having images in your emails will go a long way to help convey your message.
An image immerses the user immediately into the topic, sets the mood, and helps convey the essence of the text. The right image can help increase the number of content views and email clicks, and affect the conversion rate. Additionally, an image can help direct the viewer’s eye to relevant copy.
Don’t go overboard with images, and limit them to 1-3. What’s more important is the images you select and how you use them. You don’t want the email to look cluttered or take away from the text that’s in your email.
Pro Tip: Many businesses use stock photos for their email campaigns, but research from the Nielsen Norman Group shows pictures of people get better results… Natural photos of people are best, and stock photos with people are second best.
Tip #5 solidifies a strong email. Unless an email exists for entertainment or educational reasons, most of the purpose of sending your email is to get the customer to take a desired action for your brand; therefore, you’ll want to make sure you include a clear and simple call-to-action (CTA).
Also, make sure your CTAs stand out. It’s a good idea to use bright colors and thoughtful placement – including at the top above the fold and again at the end of the email. Both of these techniques increase scan-ability. And of course, make sure your button text is large and legible.
Another best practice is to use precise and actionable verbiage to attract attention. A few examples include:
Get the eBook
Take 50% off
Pro tip: You can put the CTA in first-person to resonate even more — For example, instead of “Get ebook” try ‘Get my ebook.” A study by Unbounce showed that using the first-person pronoun in button text resulted in a 90% increase in clicks.
Emails can make a big impact, but they also require both strategy, creativity, and hard work to produce. These tips will help you create strong and powerful emails.