How to Stand Out in the Inbox: Best Practices in Email Marketing

email marketing

Did you know that U.S. companies send approximately 1.47 million emails per month, and almost 60 percent of them are marketing oriented? To stand out in increasingly crowded inboxes, marketers need to capture readers’ attention in creative ways. Here are two methods to accomplish that goal through email marketing.

Email Marketing: Win Them With Words

From the subject line to the body content, messaging is key. Make sure your content is intriguing and relevant to your target markets. Here’s how:

  1. Click me! No matter how impressive the topic is, the subject line is still the deciding factor that determines whether anyone will actually open the email. The key to a solid subject line is addressing the “curiosity gap,” a copywriting technique that piques the readers’ natural curiosity. The subject line needs to be informative and catchy, while still leaving enough unsaid so your recipient will want to open the email to learn more. There are many tactics to a good subject line, so get creative and don’t be afraid to have fun with it.
  2. Less is more. Just like with the subject line, there is a distinct sweet spot for the body copy. Don’t barrage your readers with a large block of text. At the same time, messages that are too brief messages may not encourage them to click through. Many experts agree that a range of 50 to 125 words generates the best response.
  3. Let’s make it 70:30. Now that you’ve got your word count down, balance the right amount of text with graphics and media. Too much text will not grab the attention of your readers. Too many graphics will distract them from the message or may trigger spam filters. The classic rule of thumb is 70% text, 30% graphics.
  4. From whom? The sender is another facet of your email that’s visible before it’s even opened and should do its part to make the recipient willing to read your email. While it doesn’t need to be enticing in the way a subject line should be, it should encourage trust and support the credibility of the sender’s organization. For example, a first and last name accompanying the name of the company gives the appeal of personal interaction, while still remaining transparent about where the email is coming from. While there isn’t a specific formula, experiment with various addresses and track what works for your target market.

email marketing

Email Marketing: Design Strategically

Since the average attention span of an adult is about eight seconds, design emails so they are easy to scan. However, it’s important to still make the reader curious enough to poke around and subsequently click through.

  1. From left to right. Since the English language is oriented from left to right, design with that in mind. People spend 69% of their time looking at the left of the screen, so place important information, graphics and calls to action in spaces where their eyes are naturally likely to travel.
  2. Push the right buttons. Every email should have a call to action that encourages the reader to click through to your website. That’s why you’ve sent the email in the first place. But simply leaving a link somewhere isn’t enough; placement and design make a difference. According to Campaign Monitor, including a call to action button instead of a text link can increase conversion rates by as much as 28%. Keep that button in a strategic and eye-catching location to allow readers to easily access your website.
  3. Proactively interactive. As graphic technology advances, so does our requirement for what works as “attention grabbing.” Static images won’t always cut it. Marketers today are utilizing interactive graphics such as rollover content, sliders, rotating banners and accordion menus all within the small space of an email. There are countless coding tutorials on how to incorporate these techniques and improve the imagery in your emails.
  4. Get smart. With 55% of emails opened on mobile devices, it’s important to optimize emails for smart phone use. Smartphone usage is so integral that many marketers are adopting a “mobile first” attitude. Keep in mind image type and size and ensure that formatting will remain intact on all devices. Responsiveness is also important. Having too many or incorrectly formatted graphics can cause your email to load slowly, which may make the difference between a read email and an unread one. The key is to test, test, test, both on different devices and different browsers.

Emails Are an Essential Marketing Tool

email marketing

Email marketing is a mainstay of digital marketing and provides a direct route to your target audience. Technological advances such as automation, data mining and business intelligence are helping to make email marketing even more effective. While email marketing may not get the attention of some newer tools and channels, it is still an essential technique for generating leads, converting prospects into customers and building loyalty with existing customers.

 

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