Running a successful email marketing program requires constant testing and optimization. Although formal A/B testing is a major part of this, that isn’t the only way to improve your overall program. In fact, some of the most impactful ways to improve your emails are easy (and free) enhancements you can implement right away.
Whether you’re looking to improve open rates or click through rates, here are seven simple tricks to improve your emails immediately.
1. Tie the Subject Line to the Preview Text
In general, people tend to underestimate the power of good copy in emails, but having a distinct voice makes a big difference. Not only will it help your emails stand out, they’ll also be easier to read and write.
Although there are a lot of areas within an email where copy comes into play, one of the most common mistakes we see marketers make is wasting preview text. When used properly, preview text should reinforce and give context to the subject line. This gives marketers far more flexibility with subject lines, allowing them to be creative with something short, punchy and attention grabbing, instead of trying to cram the entire context of an email into 50 characters.
In the example above, Outdoor Voices’ preview text, “A fresh collection for Doing Things. Rival the changing leaves in autumn’s new palette.” not only gives context to the “Fall has arrived” subject line, but it also has a distinct voice unique to the brand.
2. Make Sure Alt Text Makes Sense Without the Image
Although the alt text for website images and alt text for email images serve very different purposes, many marketers often make the mistake of treating them the same. Alt text for website images helps with SEO, and therefore should include any keywords you’re targeting for organic search. Alt text for email images, on the other hand, is used to reinforce email copy, and therefore should make sense if the image doesn’t load.
In the example above, Buzzfeed uses alt text of, “Wait, who are you talking to?” for the email image, which complements the article title, “32 Text That Will Make You Laugh Way Harder Than You Should.” If this email image simply had the same alt text used for SEO, this may read something like, “Funny Text Messages” which doesn’t really provide any additional value to the rest of the text.
3. Use Emotion Instead of a Coupon for Re-Engagement
For re-engagement emails, many marketers immediately resort to including discounts or coupons to encourage action. Not only is this not a cost-effective strategy, but it’s also risks your brand coming off as too eager. Instead, marketers should first try simply injecting emotion into these emails.
In the example above, Dropbox tells the user his account is “feeling kind of lonely” and encourages him to login. If Dropbox, a B2B data storage technology, can think of a clever way to do this, consumer brands can certainly come up with something creative with emotional messaging!
4. Go Big
When email was first going to mobile, marketers immediately assumed they needed to shrink everything in order to accommodate the smaller screen. But when you think about how people use their phones, shrinking images doesn’t really make sense.
People are used to scrolling, both in apps (think Facebook and Instagram) and in email. So instead of making everything smaller, marketers are actually better off making things bigger. Having one powerful image is much impactful than having multiple smaller ones.
In the example above from The Standard, one large image dominates the email and clearly communicates the message (plus bonus points for great copy)! Now imagine if this image was replaced with three smaller ones. Would be nearly as impactful? Probably not.
5. Lose the Site Navigation to Focus on the Content
Staying with the theme of ‘less is more’, emails are better off having a simple, clear message instead of having a handful of little things above the fold. Again thinking of the mobile experience, an email with a tiny navigation isn’t very user friendly. Eliminate any noise and use clear imagery to ensure your email has a distinct focus.
6. Don’t Use the Same Call-To-Action Text as Everyone Else
Going hand-in-hand with great copy, don’t be afraid to get creative with your emails’ calls-to-action. It’s another great opportunity to inject personality and make your brand stand out.
Most marketers resort to basic, generic verbs for calls-to-action. Really Good Emails looked at the most used calls-to-action verbs and found these to be the top ten:
Nothing too exciting to see here on their own.
In the example from Litmus, the calls-to-action are “The case for single opt-in” and “The case for double opt-in.” These are much more engaging than something like “Single” and “Double” or “See Single” and “See Double.”
7. Include Value Proposition Messaging in Your Triggered Emails
A common misconception about Abandonment emails, is that there always needs to be a coupon or discount offered to entice a purchase. But there plenty of other ways to induce a shopper to buy now. Think about common value propositions that are included in a checkout path, such as guaranteed next day delivery, free financing and pay with PayPal. If you’re including these value propositions in your checkout process, why not include it in your triggered emails too?
In the example above, Ice.com includes a “Buy Now, Pay Later” value proposition. This isn’t a time-sensitive offer, but rather something the brand does for all its customers. However, the brand knows that this kind of offer is something that differentiates them and encourages an immediate purchase.
No matter how sophisticated your program is, there’s always room for optimization and improvement. Simple tricks like these are great ways to enhance your email marketing without taking bandwidth from your team.