HTML vs. Drag and Drop
Plain and simple, if you want a good template that works consistently and will continue to do so, you need a developer to code an HTML email. If you want to do fancy interactive campaigns, stack sections, etc., you’ll still need a developer to code an HTML email.
Avoid frameworks, free templates, and WYSIWYG editors. In all cases I’ve observed, you’ll still need to do some manual updates and customizations to fit your needs.
Because subscribers only spend 3-4 seconds deciding if they will open your email, it’s important to optimize your email in the preview pane. You have to encourage that open. As a result, it’s important to make sure your name, reply-to address, subject line, and preview text are all optimized and error-free.
Include a Text-Only Version
Emails should be designed and coded by keeping the concern of email deliverability in mind. Most ISPs look through the keywords that indicate whether the emails are spam or not.
Text:Image Ratio has been easing up considerably. A few years ago it was was 60:40 – and a few years before that it was 80:20. Today we’re on Easy Street – if an email has at least 500 characters, content to image ratio doesn’t affect deliverability.
When users scan their inbox, they are more likely to notice an email with their name in the subject line. This overcomes the first hurdle, which is to get noticed in a crowded inbox.
When you refer to a subscriber by his or her name, a positive mental association is made between the user and your brand. As simple as it may sound, including the use of a first name can make a customer feel like an individual person rather than just an anonymous recipient.
Also, you can easily segment groups of your prospects and customers and send them specific marketing messages that target their personal needs and interests. By segmenting your email list, you can take the personalization of your emails to a whole new level. Demographic, geographic, and behavioral (e.g., past purchases) are a few of the types of data that you can use to target different segments of your email list and send more relevant and personalized email content.
Dynamic content, list segmentation, and targeted messaging will raise your emails to the next level of personalization.
Want more subscribers? Contest entries? Conversions? You won’t get them without the right call to action.
A call to action, often referred to as a “CTA”, are words that urge the user to take action, such as “Call Now,” or “Click Here.” A CTA can be used to spur users to take any step: download a PDF, fill out a form, buy a product, or even just click through to another page.
The “Holt Handbook Sixth Edition” tells us that when a verb in a sentence is active, the subject of the sentence (the understood “you” in your CTA, i.e., the website visitor) acts or does something. When a verb is passive, its subject receives the action or is acted upon.
Use active verbs. Your CTA should be as strong and motion-oriented as possible. It’s a call to ACTION, after all. Order, Subscribe, Buy, Get, Learn, Discover … “Get” works pretty well, actually. Everyone likes to get something, and we all know what “get” means. It’s short, too.
Most email clients block images by default. In some cases, instead of showing the image, the email client will instead display the ALT text. This is definitely handy, especially in cases where an email design is predominantly composed of images. The ALT text can help communicate the message even if the images cannot. In a situation where images can’t or won’t load due to a bad connection, broken link, etc., the ALT text will appear instead of the image.
Below is an example of an email that didn’t take ALT text into full consideration. It’s incomprehensible. And this email could have been saved from its tragic fate if only the brand had spent just 20 minutes to optimize its ALT text.
Not only is rendering inconsistent across desktop, webmail, and mobile inboxes but, on occasion, email clients drop support for HTML and CSS without notice.
Regardless of whether you have a pre-tested template that has worked in the past, it will still be affected by unannounced updates and changes. Your emails could be looking strange in your subscribers’ inboxes without you ever noticing. Like an email monster you unwittingly let loose, terrorizing your subscribers’ inboxes and your brand’s reputation.
Litmus is my personal go-to for email testing software.
Clean Your List
When’s the last time you scrubbed your email list? If the answer is never, then you’re likely wasting time, effort, and money on marketing to people who aren’t interested in your business. On average, email lists decline by around 22% every year. That’s where cleaning your list comes in. You need to remove unengaged subscribers from your email list so that you can market only to people who want to receive your emails.
How do you know when it’s time to clean your list? You can usually see the first warning signs in your email marketing statistics. When you login into your email marketing app, you’ll be able to see the open and click rate for your campaigns. Take a look at what’s been happening over the last few email campaigns. If there’s a pattern of declining open and click rates, you’ve got a problem.
If people aren’t opening and clicking, they aren’t converting. That means you’re missing out on leads, sales and revenue. Cleaning your list can help turn that around. A few of the benefits of cleaning your email list…
- Better Open and Click Rates
- Fewer Spam Complaints
- Fewer Bounces
- Reduced Cost
- Better Reporting