As marketers, when it comes to email marketing, we are obsessed with our open rates and click-through rates, because increasing those metrics gives us more opportunities to move our readers down the funnel.
So how do you create that perfect email? How do you convince your readers to open your email as opposed to the others sitting in their inbox? How do you make your offer exciting and enticing enough to get them to click through and visit your landing page? Let’s take a look at the critical components you should look at to optimize your marketing emails.
It won’t matter if you’ve written the greatest email of our generation, if you’re email isn’t getting opened you’re not getting results. Your subject line is what your readers see before the open your email. It’s one of only two (and perhaps the biggest) pieces of information they’ll take into consideration when deciding whether or not to open your email in the first place. An optimized subject line will help you capture your reader’s attention and convince them to open your email to read more.
The first thing you should have in mind when writing your subject lines in your target buyer persona. It should address their pains, or answer a question they may have. By phrasing your offer in terms of a value proposition that is relevant to your readers, they’ll be intrigued and want to find out what you can do to help them solve their problem.
Another tip for optimizing your subject lines is to personalize them. Include the recipient’s first name or the name of his/her company, for instance, an email with the subject line “How [reader’s company name] marketing can be more efficient” will naturally draw more attention than “How your company’s marketing can be more efficient” because it’s personalized with an element of familiarity.
Finally, when writing strong subject lines, use actionable language, like “join us,” or “download,” etc. It’s important to be explicit about what your offer is, strive for clarity over persuasion, and keep it brief when possible.
The name from which you’re sending your emails is the other component your recipients will see before opening your email, and factor into their decision of whether or not to open it. Optimizing your choice of sender name, and using that name consistently, will help build a sense of trust in that name and allow readers to recognize your emails going forward.
You should be sending your emails from an actual person. The important thing here is to build familiarity and trust which can be hard to do with an email from: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your emails should include the name of the person, their signature at the bottom, and if possible a small picture of the sender. This helps set a very personable, friendly tone and reinforces the idea that the email is coming from a real person and not a machine.
You can also test different sender names in your emails to see which one does best. Maybe sending from the CEO of your company is most effective, or maybe your readers like to receive the email about your new ebook from the author of the ebook herself, along with the company name to help readers better identify an unknown author. Try out a few different variations and see what works best.
Once you’ve gotten your audience to open your emails, you need to convince them that your offer is worthwhile. This is often the component that marketers focus on the most when trying to optimize their emails. How can I make it sound good? How can I make my offer more convincing? It’s important to get your language, tone, and layout right in order to increase the likelihood that your readers will click through to take advantage of your offer.
Obviously, the first thing you need to do is make sure that your body text clearly conveys what your offer is and why it’s valuable. You want to use brief, compelling language. Make your copy brief, compelling, and interesting. Tell a story, use statistics to emphasize a point, and don’t be afraid to use strong language.
It’s also critical you use short paragraphs and bullet points to break up the text visually, so as not to overwhelm your readers. No one has time to read an essay these days, and if your email looks even the slightest bit visually dense, readers will have already lost interest. Especially with the rising popularity of mobile.
You want your readers to click through and convert. Your call-to-action is arguably the most important component of your emails, because the ultimate goal of your email is to get your readers to click on it and take an offer. The main reason you’re optimizing your emails is to get more of your readers to click on that call-to-action in order to send them to your landing page, where they can move on down the funnel and closer to becoming a customer.
Your first step is going to be deciding what the action you want your readers to take is going to be. Then create your call to action. Whether it’s a button or a link, you want to make sure your call-to-action is prominent and visually distinctive. This should be the clear focus of your email, so make it stand out and catch the viewer’s eye. (Button’s are very useful for that.) It’s also good practice to keep your calls-to-action “above the fold,” so they’re visible without the reader having to scroll down.
You’ll also want to optimize the language you use in your calls-to-action and make it clear and action-oriented (“download,” “register,” “now,” “today,” and “get your…”).
Finally, a great way to optimize your calls-to-action is actually to include multiple links and buttons throughout your email that all direct to the same landing page. Offering your readers more opportunities to click through and convert, making it more likely that more of them will do so.
How many of you have a “back” button built right into your phone available on applications? How easy is it for you to click back when the email you received was too long, too small, or with the text all bunched up? Exactly. While it may be easier to access emails through mobile, it’s also easier to avoid those that aren’t catered to mobile devices. You want your emails to display nicely across all devices.
Design your emails to adapt to whatever device your readers are on. Use mobile-optimized templates for building your emails, and optimize for the best mobile user experience possible. That way you don’t miss a chance to convert a lead just because they’re on one type of device instead of another.
It can be easy to become overwhelmed when it comes to email optimization. There’s a lot of moving parts and without extensive A/B testing it isn’t always easy to find exactly where your problems are. However, as long as you pay attention to your results, constantly A/B test your emails, and know which elements to pay attention to and optimize you’ll soon see your open and click-through rates go up.