Archive for the ‘Email Design’ Category

Top 10: Improve Email Deliverability and Response

Keep emails fresh

  • Relevant: Appeal to each of your primary audiences

Unless you only offer one product/service and subscribers would only subscribe for one reason, you need to segment your list and provide relevant content to each segment. See my recent post: 6 Easy Steps to Implement An Email Segmentation Strategy

  • Deliverable: Dot your I’s and cross your T’s.
    • Setup domain authentication (previous post)
    • Keep your list clean (stop sending to unopens)
    • Watch your text to image ratio
    • Don’t go overboard with the superlatives, ALL CAPS and spammy words
    • Include a copyright and link to your privacy policy
    • Use clean HTML code – sloppy errors are flags

Don’t let mistakes affect deliverability. All sorts of things affect deliverability but don’t let the basics slip by.

  • Compatible: Design for the various previews in email clients

Preview your email templates in the major email tools such as Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Apple Mail.

This is the best reference I’ve found for understanding which CSS styles render in which email tools:

  • Personable: A friendly person wrote this – not a company

The days of stuffy corporate speak are over. You are trying to build a relationship with your prospects through multiple channels. Don’t blow it in email.

  • Focused: Don’t create distractions and keep it shortFor whatever reason, many email templates are full of distractions (navigation links, house ads, etc). Focus on:
    • Your subscribers’ needs
    • Your goals

Again, reference my post Email Segmentation Strategy for tips

  • Test: Test everything before you change something

If I had to guess, I’d say 5% of all email marketers test their emails in any way. Marketing = Testing.

  • Simple: Simplify the layout

Unfortunately, most marketers don’t revisit their email layouts and templates as often as they should. If you aren’t testing, how do you know what to change?

  • Fresh: Work in design elements that keep it fresh

Just a visual queue to your subscribers that this isn’t a resend and they should take notice.

  • Recognizable: Review your from, subject line and headline strategy

Don’t get too generic with your from email and from name and don’t change them. You want subscribers to add you to their address book. If you change your address and/or from name, it won’t be in their address book. Choose something recognizable and run with it.

  • Viral: Make it interesting and incorporate share icons

How much effort does it take from the first key strokes of an article to the moment you hit send to get your email out to your subscribers? If you add up the hours and cost, you might take your email marketing more seriously. Take another hour or so to review headlines, intros and photos to make your email something people want to share (assuming your content is compelling in the first place).

  • Useful: Reference previous and up-coming content

Just a bonus tip: People don’t read every email you send. Reference previous content and hint and upcoming content.

Download the Presentation Email Deliverablity Checklist

Move Compelling Content Up And Graphics Down To Win At Email

3d illustration of a large chrome at symbol wi...

I see so many emails that lead with menus from their website, unsub and web version text, large header graphics/logos (that don’t show up) and other distractions. Subscribers DON’T CARE! I suspect that many times this is just to fill in whitespace. Branding your company is a good argument, too. Recognizing you as the sender… Even better argument. Whatever the case, get rid of it. Why? 1) Subscribers don’t care. 2) Images are disabled on 50+% of email programs and I’ll bet that number is growing. I achieved a 700% increase in response rates for one email program by following this simple rule: Move content up and images down… What’s the big deal? Read on and I’ll tell and show you.

The top left 4 inch square of your email is the most valuable real estate there is. Move the stuff subscribers don’t care about lower down and give them something that will make them thankful for receiving the email and continue to open your emails in the future. If you are in retail, give them the latest coupon and a link to get it. If you are pushing content, lead with the headlines and links versus an intro or long teaser paragraphs. And whatever you do, don’t put a bunch of images at the top before your content. Here’s an example of why you shouldn’t…

This is a screen shot of three emails in my inbox using the Auto-Preview view of Outlook. Can you spot the winner? (Click to open small window.)

Hope you're saying something important here

The first one wins. The other two aren’t leading with content I’m interested in. If I’m someone who uses Auto-Preview (25% of users do), then the two losers haven’t told me anything. I have to open the email to figure it out and stats say that people won’t. I completely ignore the last email because it’s full of image links. I glance right over it.

This comes down to layout. If you position your images after your lead content, the image links will appear after the most important content.

Now for the clincher. This image speaks for itself: (Click to open small window.)

Images are disabled on 70+% of recipients

50+% of recipients have images disabled by default. 70+% of them will make the decision to read, file for later or delete your message without enabling images and without scrolling down.

Push your content up and your other messages down…

Stay tuned for more. Thanks for reading.


Email Marketing: Move Compelling Content Up And Graphics Down To Win At Email

Posted: December 15th, 2009
at 7:36pm by Rob Van Slyke

Tagged with , , , , ,

Categories: Email Design

Comments: 1 comment


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