How often do you find yourself checking your email when you first wake up? What about right before you go to sleep? We all have inboxes filled to the brim with work information, meeting invitations, outside inquiries, news articles; the list goes on, and we struggle to keep up.
This scenario causes problems when we, as communicators and marketers, try to write effective e-sends for our organizations that just end up getting lost in the clutter.
We watch our open and click-through rates decline, but often find it difficult to know exactly what we’re doing wrong or how to keep recipients from clicking that dreaded “unsubscribe” button.
However, there are some simple aspects of an e-send you can look at before drastically changing your e-send strategy.
- Draw readers in with your subject line.
Enticing people to stop and open your email is the first step to writing a successful e-send. You want them to desire the information inside of the message. It can be difficult to continually think of subject lines that catch attention.
A good rule of thumb is to keep it short and sweet while still giving the recipient a glimpse of what’s inside. Draw people in by asking a question or using numbers. Things like “40% off now!” or “Looking for new brainstorming methods?” work well as inviting previews that remain to-the-point. For more help, HubSpot wrote a detailed article on writing subject lines.
- Keep it short.
With social media playing such a large role in our technology consumption, we have become conditioned to skimming a feed or reading information with a character limit. The expectation can carry over to our inboxes.
Once recipients open your email, you want them to stick around and see what you have to say. Keeping it short can make your email seem less daunting of a read and encourage recipients to stay until the end of your message.
- Keep it visual.
Similar to above, photos and graphics can help break up text and make your e-send / content easier to consume.
- Make sure you have a call-to-action.
A great way to receive measurable success from an e-send is to include useful information or resources that can be reached via a call-to-action (CTA). This will help when looking at click-through rates. Whether it’s a link to a page on your website or a downloadable PDF, an obvious call-to-action will ensure recipients take advantage of the content and engage with your message.
Make your CTA stand out by using a color or font that contrasts well with the rest of the text. Don’t be afraid to have the CTA at both the top and bottom of the email to maximize the amount of chances readers have to see it. Making sure recipients see this useful information can also keep readers coming back to your emails for similar content.
We all want to feel special. If you’re able, use variable tags to include a recipient’s name or organization name. This will give your email a personal feel. Personalization helps readers feel as though you had them specifically in mind and thought they would benefit from the information in the email.
- Use a casual, conversational tone.
Accompanying the appeal of personalization, a casual tone also helps in shying away from the “mass email” feel an e-send can have. If possible, make the email sound like it came from “Tina in accounting.” This helps readers feel special instead of like a mass recipient. It also keeps it an easy read.
- Stay away from “no-reply” sending addresses.
Sending addresses like “firstname.lastname@example.org” automatically signal a mass email to recipients. Make the sender someone people will want to open an email from. If possible, use an employee’s personal email address as the sending address. Receiving an email from a specific company representative feels more personal than receiving one from a general email inbox that is never looked at.
- Make sure it is mobile-friendly.
In October of 2016, Litmus reported that of the more than one billion emails they tracked using Litmus’ Email Analytics, 56 percent were opened on a mobile device. It is more important than ever to make sure your e-sends have a responsive design so they are as easy for recipients to read as possible.
- Everyone sends on a Tuesday.
Recently, statistics have made it clear to most marketers and communicators that Tuesdays through Thursdays have the highest email open rates. In 2015, HubSpot released a report on the best times to send an email, and their results supported this. However, by now, most marketing and communications professionals have heard this statistic from one report or another.
This data has led to everyone sending their emails on Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and pushing us all back to the competition of square one.
Try sending an email on a Monday or a Friday. Friday afternoons, as many people are sitting in front of their computers putting off starting a new project before the weekend, can produce more opens and clicks than you think, and keep you out of the flood of emails being sent Tuesday-Thursday.
Of course, all of these suggestions are dependent upon industry, time zone, target market, location and more. One of the great features of email is how easily you can experiment with it. Try segmenting your email recipient list and changing up different aspects for each segment’s e-send based on these tips. Find what works best for you, your company and your audience. Email won’t be disappearing any time soon.