Why should my business care about email marketing?
Log in for the day: 32 emails
Come back from your midmorning meeting: 17 more emails
Eat lunch: Additional 26 emails
Walk away from your desk for 5 minutes: And BOOM, 52 emails just came through!
While this may be a little exaggerated, the point remains that our inboxes are constantly receiving new emails. In response, we are quickly going through which emails to actually read and which ones to mark as ‘read’ or simply delete.
For all the hard work you spend designing, writing, and creating your marketing emails, you want people to open, view, and click on them. And email marketing has the potential to be a very rewarding marketing tactic.
According to Hubspot, email marketing is “one of the most effective [marketing strategy] options available” because:
“64% of small businesses use email marketing to reach customers”
So if email marketing has the potential to add significant value to your business, how can you optimize your email so it stands out from the rest?
We’ve outlined 10 tips on how to make your marketing and sales emails stand out and offer the best email experience.
10 Email Optimization Tips
1. Start With an Enticing Email Subject Line
People judge an email by its cover, and the best way to make sure your cover engages readers is to have it stand out from the crowd. In this case, that means a top-notch subject line.
When going through their inbox, people will immediately delete things that are not interesting or applicable to them. In order to stand out and stay out of the delete folder, the first step is creating a subject line that’ll spark genuine interest and prompt them to open the email.
For example, let’s take the newsletter we sent at the end of 2021. We created a 2021 recap infographic and blog with highlights and stats from the year – it was a big deal! We spent a lot of time designing email-ready graphics and optimizing copy for the newsletter that was sure to engage our audience, but first, we needed them to open it.
In this subject line, we focused on:
- Excitement around the time and topic
- Clear about what to expect from the newsletter
- Structure variety (exclamation point and capitalization)
Because of the subject line, this newsletter received one of the highest open rates!
2. Include Useful and Relevant Content
Once the recipient has read your enticing subject line and opened the email, the next step is to keep them captivated.
Offering a positive email experience.
You know your clients and potential buyers, so ensure the content is specific to what they would find interesting. It allows the content to benefit the reader, which in turn adds value to your business.
The newsletter snippet above was from a campaign we did to promote our marketing ebook for manufacturers. In this newsletter, we focused on a recent blog on using marketing and digital strategies to compete with industry competitors.
With the decline of in-person events due to the pandemic, many manufacturers communicated difficulty getting in front of their target customers.
Based on the manufacturer’s concerns, we highlighted the blog’s topic in our email, explaining how marketing can relieve the growing stress of competition and create a new approach to targeting their customers. Then we offered our free marketing guide as a resource to learn more.
The result was a great email experience! Because our content was authentic, relevant, and valuable, the newsletter received one of our highest click-through rates (CTRs).
For this newsletter’s content, we focused on:
- Educational resources
- Solutions to pain points
- Actionable next steps
3. Keep it Personal to the Recipient
Before you send any emails, you must think about who the recipient is. This can come in a variety of ways.
The first is quite literally making it specific to them, such as:
- Including their first name in the greeting
- Sharing information or content based on their location, interests, behavior, etc.
- Providing recommended products or services based on past purchases
- Sending abandoned cart email reminders
You can also make your emails personal by adding your business and team details.
- Highlight client successes or case studies
- Include team bios or photos
- Share fun company highlights
Continuing on our manufacturing marketing ebook campaign, we created an automated workflow for following up with those who download the ebook.
Our follow-ups include a ‘first name tag’ that automatically pulls the contact’s first name, so the email addresses the recipient.
As an extra bonus, we include the campaign’s lead owner, Don Raleigh III’s photo in the signature. Since the recipient may be unfamiliar with our company or team, the friendly picture makes the email feel more inviting and engaging.
Framing the email as a one-on-one piece rather than a mass send will encourage the recipient to develop a personal connection to your brand. And, it makes your marketing or sales email stand out!
4. Add Your Personality
In addition to keeping it personal to the recipient, the email, like all other marketing pieces, needs to include your company’s voice.
It allows your clients to recognize your brand and prompts new recipients to learn more about your company simply by the way you craft your messaging or design your email.
While it can be easy to fall into a pattern of straightforward messaging, no one will be interested in ‘robot talk,’ you must take the time to write out messages in the tone you want your company to be associated with.
Importantly, email optimization also means personalizing your email design or template. For your email to stand out and for recipients to recognize your emails, it must include on-brand copy and design.
For example, we updated all our marketing content and templates when our business rebranded. This included giving our newsletter template a makeover!
Take a look at the difference between the newsletter headers.
5. Make it Interesting!
When the recipient opens the email, make them want to read it! You can achieve this in a variety of ways.
- Images or graphics
- Lists and bulleted items
- Different sections
- Catchy headers
- Bolded or italicized words
- Links and buttons
You don’t just need to write the absolute best subject line or design top-quality images, you can achieve intrigue in a lot of ways. Take a look at the email example below.
In this email recapping a recent blog on Google Maps marketing, we used a variety of elements to make the email stand out and improve the recipient’s experience.
- Different sized headers based on hierarchy
- Linked the blog within the copy of the text
- Italicized text to indicate a question
- Image to visualize the example
Because of the different content, the email was:
- Easy to read and understand
- Offered the recipient to take action (click link) if interested
- Balanced text and images
Ultimately, these email optimization tips made it more interesting!
6. Know the Purpose
A great way to start your email is to determine the direction or purpose of the email.
- Is the email an educational piece?
- Is it to promote your services?
- Is it a simple check-in touchpoint?
When you clearly understand the why behind the email, it will guide what content needs to be included. In return, this allows you to gather the specific information, assets, and messaging you need to draft and optimize the email, therefore streamlining the creation phase.
For Valentine’s Day, our team sent a fun email to our community of clients, partners, and team members. The objective of the email was to offer an authentic and unique touchpoint with our subscribers – it was a way to demonstrate our brand values.
Since the Valentine’s Day email was meant to be lighthearted, we matched the call to action (CTA) to the purpose of the email. The CTA was a blog we wrote on how to have a successful agency partnership, matching Valentine’s Day caring and passionate sentiment.
7. Keep it Concise
Nobody wants to or has time to read paragraphs of text or scroll through endless amounts of seemingly unnecessary content. Not only does your content need to follow the predetermined purpose, but it also needs to be clear and concise for the reader.
Email marketing tips on how to keep it concise:
Break the email up into small chunks of text
The ideal email will take a very short amount of time for your reader to open, digest all of the content they need, and make a decision about how to react.
Keep the email focused
As discussed above, when you know the purpose of the email, you can remove any of the fluff or extra content
Include subheaders and lists
Another positive of adding structure variety to your emails, is you can shorten paragraphs into a simple list or different sections with subheadings making it less overwhelming
8. Mobile-First Email Designs
“Nearly 1 in 5 email campaigns is not optimized for mobile devices”
Everyone has an email app on their phone, which means there is a large likelihood your audience will be opening your email on their mobile device. Because of this, you should take a mobile-first approach to email designs.
Mobile-first email design considerations:
- Above and below the fold content
- Text size and colors
- Loading time
- Background colors
9. Don’t Send Too Many or Too Few
First, you want to maintain a positive send status, so ensure you are not bombarding your readers with emails.
Second, you still need to send enough emails to stay consistent and uphold your brand’s presence.
Therefore it is about finding a strategic balance between the two.
Depending on your campaign objective, your industry, your recipients’ interaction history, and the purpose of your communication, the frequency can fluctuate.
This is a snippet from our Website Planning Template email campaign workflow. We carefully spaced out our automated emails so the recipient doesn’t feel they are being spammed, but we also kept them close enough together (in this example, 2 or 3 days apart) so we stayed top of mind.
We also used ‘gated triggers’ to naturally filter out recipients not engaged in the campaign so they don’t keep receiving emails. This keeps our send status healthy while ensuring a positive email experience.
10. Analyze and Improve
Of course, you must analyze the performance of your email to learn and improve future campaigns.
Depending on your email’s purpose and what your company cares about, your reports may look a little different.
Some popular email KPIs include:
- Bounce rate
- Open rate
- Conversion rate
- Click through rate
- List growth rate
- Unsubscribe and spam rates
- Overall ROI
Using analytics, you can develop patterns of success or identify areas of improvement which keep evolving your email marketing strategy.
Receive Ideas from Our Newsletter
At Evolve, we send bi-weekly newsletters. For our newsletters, we take a more educational and community approach. Our objective is to inform our audience about the latest digital marketing trends that will help them grow their businesses.
All the while, we stick to our brand’s core values. We care about the success of our Evolve community, so we recognize and celebrate our clients, partners, and team members.
At Evolve, we are all about ‘evolving’, so our newsletter reflects that.
Join our newsletter and start getting ideas!