Sending an email is easy.
Email marketing is not.
Email marketing is a deep rabbit hole to dive down. There are innumerable tips, tricks, dos and don’ts and there’s no way we can cover them all in a blog post. So we’re just going to hit on five of the most important tips for crafting effective email communication and increasing your engagement numbers.
Keep in mind as you’re reading this that the most important element of email communications is the connection element. Email marketing is all about connecting with and embracing your audience. You’ve got to create engaging content and enticing CTAs. But, so often, we get in our own way and stumble over our own feet trying to make that happen. These guidelines can help you avoid common email mistakes and craft messages that channel your audience instead of tripping them up.
Leverage the F-Pattern
Eye-tracking studies show that people read email and website content in an F pattern. That means that they read left-to-right across the entire top of a page and then travel all the way down the left side of the page with a few shorter, left-to-right paths along content. These left-to-right content paths get shorter the further down the page you go. This means that we need to stack our content appropriately.
- Don’t bury important links or promotional items on the right side of the page.
- Put the most important information across the top.
- Put the least important information towards the bottom (except for CTAs)
Use the Inverted Pyramid
If you took any sort of writing or journalism class in school, you’ve probably heard of the Inverted Pyramid style of writing. It’s commonly used by journalists to communicate quickly and clearly to an audience with short attention spans. It works really well with email as well.
- Lead off with the most eye-catching information: who, what, where, when, why, and how?
- Provide the most relevant information and important details.
- Follow up with background details and general, but relevant information.
- End with a compelling CTA.
Keep Your Eyes on the CTA
Speaking of CTAs, your CTA (call to action) is arguably the most important part of your email body content. What do you want your readers to DO? Even newsletters which, on the surface, would seem to be purely informational, need a CTA. The goal is to engage readers. Figure out what the next step should be for them and then drive them to it. Do you want them to share the information with someone else? Sign up for an event? Buy something? Get more information elsewhere? Give them a clear call to action and make it easy for them to act on it.
- Position your CTA appropriately. There are two places that people look for CTAs:
- The top of the page. This is where we look for contact info, social media info, and forward-to-a-friend (FTAF) links.
- The very bottom of the content. This is where we look for the primary CTA. This is the payoff for reading the email content. The bottom of the page is where we look for the next step.
Email is 40x more likely to score you a new customer or donor than Facebook or Twitter.
There are more than 4.3 BILLION registered email accounts, worldwide.
(Source: Radicati Group)
It’s not just a desktop thing: 53% of emails are opened on mobile devices.
(Source: Campaign Monitor)
Keep it Short
Email readers have a shockingly short attention span. If you give them a book to read, they won’t. They’ll close it, delete it, or flag it as spam. If on the other hand, they glance at your email content and it’s short and concise, they’re much more likely to stop and read it because they know that it won’t take them too long to do so.
- Use a 3-point outline. Don’t try to do too much in a single email. Deliver – at most – 3 pieces of information. If you need to say more, break it up and send another, more targeted email later.
- Break your content into bite-size chunks with relevant, interesting headers. Even if they only read the headlines for each section, they should get the gist of the section content.
Testing is critical to crafting truly effective subject lines. Most major email marketing platforms have some level of A/B testing built in. A/B testing allows you to create two versions of a subject line and send them to a randomly-selected portion of your email list. Then, you can measure response rates and tweak your subject lines based on the data.
- Every audience is different so start with best practices and refine from there using response data.
- Always CONFIRM results. Don’t take the data from a single email and run with it. If you believe that it’s showing you something, test it again to confirm. There are a lot of factors that could be influencing results. Try to eliminate them with subsequent tests to ensure that you’re drawing accurate conclusions.
Like I said, the world of email marketing is a deep hole to dive down and we’ve just barely scratched the surface here. If you’re looking to step up your email game and start making a significant impact on your audience, give us a call. We can show you how to navigate the trends, technology, psychology, and regulations of the email marketing world.