July 23, 2013

4 Email Marketing Best Practices for Improved Click-Throughs

"Email isn't just email anymore. It's marketing automation, it's social media, it's mobile, it's an ad network, it's a robust integrated digital marketing weapon, and most of all it's the invitation to your customers' and prospects' inbox."

This quote by Simms Jenkins couldn't ring more true. Since its inception, email has morphed into something with purposes that outnumber the flavors at Baskin-Robbins, making it one of the most potent digital tool sets out there. It's used to keep in touch with loved ones, market to customers, keep track of receipts, and collaborate with coworkers.

As a marketer, the goal is to get someone to click through to something of value. But when it comes to email marketing, the million dollar question is how do you get that?

The subject line

This is the first thing anyone sees, and we can't stress enough how effective your subject line has to be. Right off the bat, it has to be captivating -- or at least it shouldn't be terrible. This may seem like a no-brainer, but even to this day avoidable mistakes are still being committed.

So here's what you can do to improve your subject lines:

    • Make sure it's accurate to the contents of the message. No one likes being misled.

    • Keep it brief. The longer it is, the more likely your message will get ignored, or, even worse, be deleted / sent to spam.

    • Make it witty (if possible). But you don't need to force it! If you can't come up with anything, it's better to put up what you have and be direct.

What's next?

Admittedly, this could be one of the more difficult parts of this. However, making sure readers not only have something to do afterward but should know what to do is important. Do they need to go to a landing page? Point them there. Would you like them to share what content you have in the message? Add a link to social media! If you want someone to click through, make sure there's an exit strategy.

Add value, build relationships

Give and you shall receive, they say. So give, give, give! If you want to make sure the people in your network remember you, give them something, whether it be a new connection (through an introduction) or an interesting link to read. It's an excellent way to connect with the recipient(s) and forge relationships. Make the content of every message relevant, useful, and personal.


Now, this doesn't mean that your emails need to be drop-dead gorgeous. They just need to not look bad. It goes a long way if it looks like you spent any amount of time thinking about how your email looks. For example, our designer says to keep the number of typefaces used to a minimum, with two being ideal. And if you're going to get fancy with fonts, make sure you use fonts that are great for readability, i.e., no Comic Sans!

Here's a bit more you can do with email design.

    • Optimize for mobile. It's no secret that emails being opened on a smartphone is all the rage these days.

    • The sweet spot for width is around 600 pixels wide. Think about it: no one opens email using the full width of their screen. It usually takes up some portion, and 600 pixels is the average. And it's a great width for smartphones!

B-B-B-BONUS: Other things to remember

Dot your I's, cross your T's, and spell check! We're all prone to misspellings, I know, however, nothing turns off a reader more than grammatical errors. So make sure you double or even triple proof your messages. You aren't required to have the panache of a wordsmith, but clear sentences get the point across just fine.

If you've got any email marketing best practices that work for you, drop them in comments below. And if you're looking for more tips you could use while emailing, check out our Dos and Don'ts of Following Up!