Email Best Practices For the Best Conversions

Jennifer Barker

Business Development Strategist

Email marketing continues to be an efficient way to reach your contacts and see a return on investment. Yet even with a well-thought-out strategy and subscribers that want to hear from you, it’s almost certain that many of your emails are still getting lost in inbox clutter. Some might even land in the spam folder, while others are being opened but not seeing conversions. Though you might feel like you just can’t win, there are simple things you can do to improve conversions almost immediately.

In this article, we are going to list out the best practices to increase conversion rates from your emails. None of them are difficult to employ, and the more you follow through with, the better your open and clickthrough rates will be.

Follow CAN-SPAM rules.

CAN-SPAM is an act that was passed in 2003. The act establishes rules for commercial email messages and gives recipients the right to stop receiving emails from a business. For those who violate the rules, there are penalties to follow. To protect yourself from these penalties and avoid ruining relationships with your subscribers, here are a few things to know.

  • Include your physical postal address in every email.

  • Give recipients a clear way to opt out of receiving your emails.

  • Use obvious “From,” “To” and “Reply” language that tells who you are.

  • Do not sell or transfer email addresses to another list.

Send emails from a person, not a company.

When sending emails, open rates increase when sent from a real person rather than a company. People are more trusting of emails when they are sent in a personalized manner rather than a generic one.

If you’re currently sending out emails from an address that looks like this: marketing@yourcompany.com, try sending them from a personalized email that looks like this: jane.doe@yourcompany.com.

Write clear, clickable subject lines.

Imagine how many emails land in your recipient's inboxes. You have a lot to compete with, so your subject lines can’t be boring or uneventful. They need to be compelling and click worthy without over-promising what you plan to deliver.

A few tips for making your subject lines as interesting as possible are:

  • Be clear and easy to understand.

  • Use 50 characters to less so that it doesn’t get cut off on a mobile device.

  • Use language that your target audience is familiar with.

  • Use verbs and action language to create a sense of urgency.

  • Offer a value proposition so that people know what they are getting (20% off your book order).

  • Avoid using spam triggers such as “cash,” “quote” or “save.”

  • Be timely (i.e., your subscription is ready to expire).

  • Use first names or the location of the person.

Keep emails short and compelling.

People are busy. They don’t want to be tied down to reading your email, and if it appears content heavy, they’ll leave right away. Keep your messages short, direct and compelling. If you have information to share, break up the text in easily digestible bites, such as bullet points or short lists. Also, long emails may trip the spam filters, so this is another reason to be simple and direct.

In addition to watching the length of your copy, you should also pay attention to the media used on your emails. Avoid background images, particularly if you target Microsoft Outlook users. A background color is a better option. You may also add links to your images if you don’t want to clutter your copy.

Also, many people won’t see your images because they have the images blocked by default. If this is the case, the images won’t load unless the user clicks on them or changes their settings. By adding alt text to your images, you can help readers understand your message.

Include a single call-to-action.

Every email should have a CTA button. Your button should be easy to spot, as many people will simply scan through your email. Aside from making your button visible, offer something of value such as an ebook or coupon code. A sense of urgency can encourage recipients to act quicker.

You should also add alt text to your CTA buttons, otherwise your recipients might not see your button. By setting alt text on your images, recipients will see where to click, though they won’t see your CTA button.

Final Thoughts

If you’re not seeing the conversions you want, split test your emails to see what types of copy, images, subject lines and CTAs your audience responds best to. This will provide you with insight into what’s working and what’s not.

Also, make sure that you preview your emails before sending them out. This is a simple step that many marketers forget to do, but it can make all the difference in what you send out. You might notice that an image doesn’t load properly or that the text is off centered - things that you can fix before hitting the “send” button.

If you are currently unable to preview your emails, this might be the year that you look into an email marketing tool that allows you to do this. And, as you learn more about the effectiveness of your emails, you will find other opportunities to make the most of your 2017 campaigns.

 

About the Author: Jennifer Barker

Jen is the Business Development Strategist for SEMGeeks and the only team member born and raised north of the Jersey great divide, i.e. the Driscoll Bridge. Her BFA in multimedia design and extensive experience in digital marketing make her both an analytical and creative thinker. Jen has lived and worked for digital agencies in two major cities over the last 17 years but 3 years ago this “gypsy living, free bird” happily put her roots down at the Jersey Shore. The struggle to defend North Jersey to the rest of the team is an ongoing battle. #TaylorHam

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