Email Best Practices
By Lauren Bates
In the world of email it is easy to get caught up in the nuance of the ever changing landscape, but how does one sort through the clutter? Here are some guidelines to help you navigate the confusion. When creating an email campaign, use a combination of these practices to get the most out of your sends.
First, the email has to reach the intended audience. In order to have good deliverability, the sender must build and maintain a good reputation. Keep these practices in mind to retain strong deliverability. Consider segmenting your list for relative content and cadence. Send emails only to subscribers that want to hear from you. To help facilitate this, create a preference center and always practice CAN-SPAM compliance.
Warm-up new IP addresses, meaning give the ISP a chance to collect reputational stats on the mail you are sending. Also, remember to authenticate your IP, essentially make sure the ISPs know that you are who you say you are.
Observe good list hygiene by removing addresses that are unengaged. Keep in mind that it is a good practice to send stagnant users a reengagement campaign in efforts to attract them back to the brand.
Think of subject lines like a headline on a newspaper, be concise, relevant, and grab your audience’s attention quickly. Consider these guidelines when creating subject lines. Limit your subject line to 40 characters or less. Position the most relevant and important content at the front of the subject line. This grabs the attention of people who are quickly skimming while simultaneously optimizing for mobile viewing.
Content should tell the subscriber “what’s in it for them” by using relevant words that are valuable to your audience. Never use all caps, this is a spam trigger and always test and retest. Testing gives you a way to understand your audience without directly asking questions.
Your subject line should transition seamlessly into the layout and content of the email. Include your standard navigation bar to keep things visually consistent and brand focused. Use eye path tactics to emphasis your offer. Place the call to action above the fold where your reader is more likely to see it. Also, vary your call to action, but always include one.
Use design elements to distinguish content blocks from one another. Make features and products clickable and develop appropriate and relevant landing pages. Apply design elements to distinguish content blocks from one another and test creative layouts to determine what speaks to your audience. Keep in mind that a vertical layout is preferable over horizontal.
Consumers today are constantly on the go, so designing for mobile is key. Give your emails a vertical orientation using a single-column design. This allows the recipient to navigate easily. Increase the size of your text and call to action buttons and keep in mind there is no “hover” feature on a mobile device as there is with a cursor on a desktop.
Make sharing easy. Mobile users are social users. Therefore, incorporate easy-to-use sharing features in your emails to amplify the reach of your message.
Utilize media queries in your code (CSS3) to automatically reformat emails for the device they are being viewed on. This also allows you to hide or show certain elements of the email based on mobile use, as well as adjust text size, background color, and other items for each type of device – from a single deployment.
Finally, lighten your load factor. Perhaps it goes without saying, but mobile connections speeds are slower than desktop speeds, so heavy emails load much more slowly on mobile devices. As a result, people will bounce before even reaching the landing page. Aim for 20kb or less.
Keeping these best practices in mind, from conception to open, will help your emails reach your audience and provide them with relevant and dynamic content.