1. Subject Line, its make or break
In this day and age of *TRANSFER OFFER from Mr Western Union* and *MAKE $$$ ONLINE!!!* overpopulating 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 count. But be careful you don’t fall into the many pitfalls that can get your email flagged as spam.
Keep it short
Ask a question, intrigue the reader
USE ALL CAPS
Use exclamation marks!!!!!
Use works like “FREE”, “STOP”,
Mislead, against CAN-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 clients 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 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 plane, 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 to around 600-650 pixels in width. I know that seems slim but its more than enough to get your message across, trust me.
3. 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 wont, 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 to never 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.
4. Alt tags: the things you see when you’re unable to see what you’re wanting to see
You should always give images Alt tags, its just common sense. Just make sure your Alt tag is descriptive and relevant to the image. If the image is a call to action be sure to mention that. 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 email marketing campaigns. Staying consistent means becoming recognisable to your viewer, so pick a strong design early on and stick with it.
6. Call to actions
Chances are you’ll want your email to tell the viewer something and the best way to gauge their interest is with a call to action, something like “Click here for more information” or “this message will self destruct in 10 minutes unless you press this button”. Putting these call to actions in a visible place in a big button is the easier way to get them clicked on and 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”
8. Test, test, test
So you’ve designed the perfect email and are about to send it. STOP! Before you send it out to all your fans/friends/followers you better test it out first. The thing is email clients are just like internet browsers, there’s 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, then chances are it’ll be pretty bulletproof. However if you want to get deeper and want more comprehensive testing, use a service like Litmus.
If you’re interested in starting a professional email campaign or want to know more about enhancing your e-newsletters get in touch or find out more about Marketing Services.