Customer preferences about promotional emails show that 86% would like to receive promotional emails at least monthly, with 15% preferring promotional emails every day. 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.
- 54% 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 making it clear to the recipient what they can do with the information in the email, timeliness, etc.
- Emails with “Free” in the subject line are opened 10% more than those without
- Often the best variable to do an A/B Test in email marketing is the subject line
- 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 “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 54% of email is now opened on a mobile device
- Your logo should be in the upper left-hand side as data indicates viewers instinctively look here
- Email width should be under 600 pixels (650 pixels wide is no-no because of horizontal scrolling)
- Design with tables so the email design renders correctly across multiple email clients
- Align subject line copy and email copy for crisp design aesthetics
- Don’t use fonts smaller than 14 pt
- Avoid background images as Outlook does not recognize them. Instead use color and images in other ways.
- Use absolute paths for images and file attachments to your server
- Optimize image size to be as small as possible without losing integrity of image
- Declare image width and height so email maintains structure when images are turned off by email clients (aka email applications or email systems)
- Use descriptive alt text under images in case image doesn’t display
- Avoid using .png images as Lotus Notes does not support .png image formats
- Avoid using image maps as Hotmail will not recognize image maps
- Have an even balance of text and images, and make sure there is lots of white space
- As recipients will be clicking with their fingers, your CTA should be at least the size of an average thumbprint, 44 x 44 pixels
- A/B Testing of images often a great way to measure improvements