I receive tons of email – plenty from service providers and online stores. I can tell within seconds if an email is going to appeal to the widest possible audience. While your subscribers may not be able to tell you what made them ignore or immediately close and delete your mailings, chances are your emails are missing one or more of these key elements.
1. An accurate, grabbing subject line. Don’t mislead your subscribers with click bait. Instead, find the right words to engage. Unlike search results pages, your subscribers already took the first step in telling you they want to hear what you have to say. The ball is in your court to summarize the topic of a mailing so they can decide if it’s one that raises their interest.
I found this useful post on subject line generation and the logic behind the trigger words.
2. Your company logo. People need to know who they’re dealing with, and the best way to tell them (and further brand) is by including the website logo. The placement of a logo also reminds people that, yes, they did sign up to receive your mailings, cutting down on unsubscribe rates.
3. Current deals. Whether it’s a free shipping offer, a coupon announcement or a sale, be clear about why you’re emailing them. Follow a pyramid style, with the most important message right at the top.
4. Your contact information. Don’t make people go to your website to figure out how to contact you. Link to contact pages directly. Include the address and phone number right in the email. This info saves time, instills trust and reduces frustration.
5. Links to alternative, key website sections. Not everyone is going to be interested in each newsletter. By providing links to other content (in a less distracting way) you can gain more traction from your mailings. Analytics will tell you what the “hotspot” links are, so be sure to also track those links in your mailings and modify them as necessary.
6. Text! I receive many emails that consist solely of graphics. That’s a problem because I sometimes work online with graphics turned off. I sometimes don’t want to load images if I’m using cellular data. Oh, and my husband is totally blind so when you provide all your information in the form of a graphic you’re crippling his ability to read your message. Yes, ALT tags should be used to describe the graphics, but to explain deals and other key information? Type it out!
7. Fast loading images! The more they have to wait for the email to load, the higher the chance of them giving up on it. Just as with your website, optimize images for speed, especially for mobile devices.
8. Sharing links. Email newsletters aren’t shared as often as webpages, but the traction you can gain from an email can be higher than that of a webpage. So let them share it by email forwarding, tweeting and posting.
9. Links to your social profiles. Email marketing is a great way to increase likes and follow counts. Want to garner even more? If it doesn’t conflict with any current deals, offer a coupon for a Facebook page “like”.
10. An unsubscribe link. Every email must have a removal link. Fortunately, people expect to see it near the very bottom.
You don’t have to use the term “unsubscribe”. Other appropriate wording includes “remove me” or “take me off the list”. Oh, and here’s how to manage unsubscribers so you’re not wasting money.
11. A reply-to address that’s monitored. Instead of sending emails from “noreply” addresses, set up filters on an email account so those who think they can reach a human can actually get in touch. This is also a good way to preserve some of your subscribers who use auto-replies for verifications and change of addresses.
12. Any footnotes or disclaimers. If you’ve include any messages that need clarification, be sure to include a footnote. For example, if you offer free shipping over a certain dollar amount, include an asterisk (*) in the message. At the footer of the email include the asterisk again with clear terms about the offer. The same goes for coupons (listing the expiration date and any conditions).
Don’t be lazy when it comes to drafting marketing emails. Each step is necessary in order to get the best open rates, click rates and conversions. These elements are also necessary for the text-only version of the email (save for images), as well as a browser edition (for those who have difficulty reading the email within their email client).
Do you have any musts to add to this list? I’d love to hear them.