Do you remember "The Wide World of Sports"? There was a moment in the opening that is the definition of epic. Every episode began with Jim McKay's iconic monologue on the struggle of sports that peaked with, "The thrill of victory -- and the agony of defeat" -- complete with sporting imagery to make your heart surge, then immediately cringe in pain. That's email marketing. For marketers, few things feel better than a highly successful email send with astronomical open and click through rates. And fewer things hurt more than an email that results in bounces and unsubscribes.
So how do we build an email strategy that works consistently? What's in the successful email secret sauce? The truth is, many things go into successful email campaigns, but we've noticed these four best practices are always present in emails that bolster and strengthen inbound marketing efforts.
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Link your images.
If conversions (and leads) are the goal of your marketing strategy, then you want emails that deliver a high click-through rate (CTR). One way to increase the CTR on emails is to link the images in your email to pages with content that corresponds with the image.
For example, if you're offering visitors a guide to download, feature a picture of the guide -- but don't just link the text next to the image or the button to download, take the time to link the image as well. People strongly respond to visual content, so be sure to include all of your email images in your conversion paths.
Want to increase your marketing email open rates? Spend some time writing a killer subject line.
Write clear and clickable subject lines.
Subject. Line. Subject Line. Subject Line.
So much depends on the subject line.
People tend to overthink subject lines. When in doubt, follow these simple rules:
- Write subject lines that are fewer than 50 characters so they don't get cut off, particularly by mobile devices.
- Include verbs and action-oriented language to create a sense of urgency and excitement.
- Include an exclusive offer (like a discount or a free ebook) so people get a sense of value.
- Avoid spam triggers like “Cash,” “Quote,” and “Save."
Add alt text to all of your images.
Many email clients used by businesses block images by default. When that happens, images won't load unless the recipient clicks a button to show them.
By adding alt text to your email images, you can help recipients understand your message and increase the chances they will allow email images to serve. One trick is to craft the language in your alt text as a call-to-action, for example "Click here to download this infographic." Actionable alt text turns linked images into CTAs and increases the opportunities for conversions.
Send your emails to yourself before sending them to to others.
This one seems obvious. But when you're finally ready to hit "Send" on your email, you should always make a habit of double-checking one last time whether your emails look as good as you think they do. If your email marketing tool lets you, go ahead and preview what your email looks like across different browsers and devices.
You should also send out a test version of your email before you send out the real deal to ensure it's working properly for everyone on your email list. And don't be afraid to send yourself previews multiple times. Who's counting? The bottom line is do it right the first time. Don't wait to find out there's a typo or incorrect date after the email is sent. Head it off at the pass.