DateJuly 6, 2017
AuthorMichaletz ZwiefMarketing and digital communications agency specializing in smart, meaningful content development.
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Updated: February 10, 2020
Customer preferences about promotional emails show that 61% like to receive promotional emails weekly, and 38% would like to receive them even more frequently. And according to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), email has a median ROI of 122%—4 times higher than other formats examined! This demonstrates that email marketing is just as relevant today as it was two decades ago.
Whether using a traditional outbound email campaign methodology or a lead generating inbound email campaign, marketers should follow these email marketing best practices in developing both verbal and visual content.
Captivating Subject Line
- Subject line should be clear first, and catchy second to captivate the recipient.
- Over 60% of emails are opened on mobile devices first and the average mobile screen only shows 4–7 words maximum; hence, subject lines should be 7 words or less.
- 61.8% increase in open rates when using the word “alert” in subject line
- Using the words “Sales,” “New,” or “Video” in the subject line boosts open rates
- Use numbers in subject line (e.g. 5 Ways to Save, 40% Less Calls)
- Use actionable language to clarify what the recipient can do with the information
- Emails with “Free” in the subject line are opened 10% more than those without
- Changing the subject line is one of the best variables for A/B testing
- Use second person (you, your, yours) and focus on your customer rather than your brand
(But remember emails with “You” in the subject line are opened 5% less than those without)
- Talk about the benefits of your product or service, not about the features
- Be brief and offer means to click through
- Make sure you let your brand personality shine
- Customize as much as possible with personalization tokens for the contact’s name, the company name and more.
- An email sent by a person instead of from a generic email address is more likely to be clicked. Consider adding a Google+ profile photo and your personal phone number.
- Include a “Follow Me” section with buttons or links for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media
- Allow recipients to share the email—especially if it contains a free offer—with their network through social sharing buttons so your offer can go viral
- Optimize for mobile as 60% of email is now opened on a mobile device
- Place you brand/logo in the upper left—viewers instinctively look there first
- Email width should be under 600 pixels to avoid horizontal scrolling
- Design with tables so the email design renders correctly across multiple email clients
- Don’t use fonts smaller than 14 pt
- Avoid background images—Outlook does not recognize them. Instead use color and images in other ways.
- Use absolute paths to your server for images and file attachments
- Optimize image size to be as small as possible without losing resolution
- Set image width and height so the email maintains structure when image preferences are turned off
- Use descriptive alt-text under images in case images do not display
- Avoid using .png image—Lotus Notes does not support them
- Avoid using image maps—Hotmail does not recognize them
- Balance text and imagery—white space makes viewing more pleasant
- The Call-to-Action button should be at least 44 pixels square, the size of an average thumbprint
- A/B test with different images to measure engagement