Email marketing is a vital component to a well-rounded inbound marketing strategy. Even the most experienced digital marketing professional can lose sight of the simple building blocks that dramatically affect open rates. A clear and inviting marketing email doesn’t happen by chance; follow these best practices to get your clients and prospects to pay attention and act on your communication, instead of pressing “delete”.
1. Take a journalistic approach with your content
The gospel of journalism is simple: don't bury the lead. The “inverted pyramid” approach provides the most important information first (who, what, when where, why, how). While your email marketing strategy likely has very different goals than a journalist would, you can and should borrow this concept to make sure your key takeaways aren’t lost in a lengthy introduction.
2. Make your email appear easy to digest
Emails are flying in and out of inboxes all day – think about how you treat your own inbox. You probably know within seconds of opening if an email is worth your time to read, and your customers are no different. Creating white space within your emails can make them easier to digest, less intimidating and more likely to be read. Using techniques such as spacing your lines further apart (“leading”), shortening your sentences to around 10 words a piece, and indenting your paragraphs produce a subtle yet significant change in the readability of your emails.
3. Use sub-headers as a roadmap
As we’ve established, your emails are probably not being read word-for-word, but are rather being scanned by most recipients. If your email does require a bit of length to get your point across, sub-headers are welcome interruptions to large chunks of text. Your readers will likely give up at the first sign of feeling “lost”, but sub-headers can essentially hand-hold your readers through the entirety of your message.
4. Consider your font type and size
Email marketing isn’t the place to experiment with font type and size: 11 point size is the norm. Anything larger or smaller tends to be read slower, thus hurting the skim-ability of your email – remember: you’re dealing with an easily distracted audience. As for font type, choose something with letters that are spaced close together, which helps your readers recognize patterns and read more quickly.
5. Think about how your email looks on multiple devices
Don’t overlook any of the different devices your email could be read on: eBook readers, tablets, smartphones and desktops come in all shapes and sizes, creating the need for marketers to examine their email formatting from many angles. A quick read on a 24-inch monitor may appear overwhelming on a mobile device.
6. Use italics, bold and underlining wisely
In order to avoid misusing italics, bold and underlining, you must first understand what these tools are used for. Italics is the best text enhancement for emphasizing a word. Bold should be used for your most significant words and points to grab attention. Underlining text is needless, and might even confuse recipients since it resembles a broken link.
7. Bullet points and numbering serve multiple purposes
Looking for more ways to add white space? Need a little structure in your email? Bullet points and numbering can accomplish each of these objectives, helping your reader understand the flow and organization of your message. Don’t be afraid to use them abundantly, especially if you’re attempting to get multiple points across.
8. Use colored text conservatively
Color can be helpful, but be very minimal with your use. Utilizing text elements such as color provides visual clues that allow email recipients to more easily scan your email for the most important messages and takeaways. Sub-headers and the call-to-action are probably the only places you want to differentiate text color.
9. Don’t be afraid to use links
By now you know that concise is better than lengthy when it comes to email. If there are any non-critical explanations within your email that could be linked out, seize the opportunity to tighten up your email length. If using unfamiliar terminology is unavoidable, provide a link to supporting information rather than explaining it within the email.
Improving the structure, messaging strategy and text elements within your emails can make a huge dent in your digital marketing efforts. Reaching clients and prospects for your Aspen marketing campaigns is no easy task, so relying on best practices will increase the likelihood of your emails being opened, read and acted upon.