8 Tips for Email Marketing Success
Small business owners using email marketing tools like Hubspot, MailChimp, Constant Contact, and other email marketing platforms, may not be getting the return rate they’d hope for.
As more and more emails flood our customers’ inboxes, how do we know they’re even reading our emails? What’s the measure of success and best practices for small businesses looking to drive more revenue out of their email campaign?
If your email marketing efforts are falling flat, you could be doing it all wrong. While there is no one-size-fits-all magic bullet for gaining new customers or better engaging existing ones, there are several simple steps you can take to optimise your chances of success.
Here are top 8 tips to help you improve your email marketing success rate.
1. Subject Line: its makes or breaks
In this day and age, where *TRANSFER OFFER from Mr Western Union* and *MAKE $$$ ONLINE!!!* are overpopulating people’s inboxes, an eye-catching and strong subject line is the first chance you have to grab the readers’ attention. When skimming through their inboxes, it’s more than likely that the reader will barely give your subject line half a second thought, so you need to make it compelling. But be careful you don’t fall into the many pitfalls that can get your email flagged as spam.
Here’s a better perspective on pitfalls:
Keep it short
Ask a question; intrigue the reader
Words like “FREE”, “STOP”,
Mislead users; you may be blacklisted as spam
2. Keep it thin and top-heavy
When it comes to the first viewing of your email, most, if not all, readers will view it via their email client’s preview pane. This means they aren’t going to see the email as a whole, and the chances are that they won’t even see half of it. So, how much will they see? Probably only the top few inches. That’s why you need to make sure the vital information from your email is up at the top. MailChimp puts it best: Design for a 250-pixel high box because the chances are that is what the majority of your readers will see.
Here’s another dimensions tip. Once again, thanks to our friend, the preview pane, if they aren’t previewing your email horizontally, then they’re doing it vertically, which creates the problem of the horizontal scroll bar (and no one likes those). To stop this traumatic experience from ever happening, make sure to keep your designs around 600-650 pixels in width. I know that seems slim, but you can bet that it’s more than enough to get your message across.
3. When they won’t see what you sent
Ever opened up an email from someone only to see a few lines of text and lots of empty boxes? Chances are, you have, and that’s because most email clients block images by default. This means you have to be careful when using images in your email. The viewer needs to want to click that magical button “Show images”, and when they do, they’ll wonder how they ever lived without beautiful, colourful, image-based emails. However, there are a lot of users who won’t appreciate this; they just want the information – the details. You need to learn to cater to both sides of the coin.
To make things worse, different clients block images in different ways. When Gmail blocks images, it displays the Alt tags, the text that describes the hidden picture.
Now, we’re not saying you shouldn’t ever use images. A beautifully designed email will get the attention it deserves, but you need to be careful not to have all the important information and messages in your email contained within images.
But why do some email clients block images?
In case you’re confused about why email clients would turn off images by default, here’s a little perspective:
Most of them, Microsoft and Google, for instance, claim that blocking images by default is a way of protecting their users from viewing potentially harmful or offensive content.
Also, they maintain that blocking images by default makes it easy for readers with lower bandwidths to choose what they want to do with that bandwidth. Whether they use the bandwidth to download the image or not is totally up to them. But thankfully, not all email clients block images. Some, in fact, have it on by default.
You should always give images Alt tags; it’s just a basic necessity. This is to save you from wasting your efforts. If the email client prefers to block out images by default, the image alt tag (also known as image alt text) is the only way the reader will know what the image is about. Just make sure your Alt tag is descriptive and relevant to the image.
If the image is a call to action, you want to be sure to mention that in the alt tag, too. Another follow-up tip is that Alt tags can be styled. This helps your email degrade gracefully.
A consistent player is a good player, as long as they’re consistently good, and the same goes for emails. Just like the rest of your business, you want to keep your branding strong throughout your email marketing campaigns. Staying consistent means becoming recognisable to your viewer. Therefore, it would be best if you picked a strong design early on and stuck with it.
Consistency is more like a magic charm; it singles you out in the sea of emails in your recipients’ inboxes. And if you deliver highly-optimised emails, chances are, your open rate would be high as well.
6. Use compelling CTAs
Most times, marketers send out emails to draw the attention of readers to a page, a product, or a service. If you want your email to tell the viewer something, the best way to gauge their interest is with a call to action. Somewhere in the email or at the end of it, you’ll have something like “Click here for more information” or “this message will self-destruct in 10 minutes unless you press this button”.
Putting these calls to action in a visible place in a big button is the best way to get them clicked on. Additionally, with the aid of an email analytic service, you can find out who, why, when, and what colour top they had on when they clicked on it.
7. Give ‘em a way out
This is a biggie! Part of the CAN-SPAM requirements is that you need to give people a way to unsubscribe to your marvellous newsletter. It needs to be clear and easy for any old Joe to understand, like so:
“If you would like to unsubscribe from this newsletter, simply click here.”
Or something like…
You received this email because you are subscribed for [name of your company] Special Offers. Should you no longer wish to receive these messages, we’d hate to see you go, but you can Unsubscribe here. We value your privacy and will not sell or share your email address.
You can also use a simple button like the one below, either at the top or bottom of your emails.
Click here to unsubscribe
Failing to provide an unsubscribe option, making it difficult to unsubscribe, or continuing to send them emails, even after they’ve expressed their desire to opt out, could land you on the spam list. And you don’t want to be there. Your email deliverability could take a severe nose-dive for that error.
8. Test, test, test
So you’ve designed the perfect email and are about to send it. Good, but STOP!
Before you send it out to all your fans/friends/followers, it would be better if you tested it out first. The thing is, email clients are just like internet browsers; there are lots of them, and they all like/dislike different things. e.g. Gmail refuses to show background images.
Ideally, you want to at least have accounts with Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, Gmail, and Outlook. These are the most popular clients, and if things look all right in them, chances are, it’ll be pretty bulletproof. However, if you want to get deeper and want more comprehensive testing, use a service like Litmus.
Are you looking to learn more?
Whether you need more practical tips for improving your email deliverability or setting up your first email marketing campaign, we can help you. At Munro Agency, we have prepared everything you need to start and run an efficient email marketing campaign. If you’re interested in creating a professional email campaign or want to know more about enhancing your e-newsletters, get in touch with us or find out more about our Marketing Services.
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