Email marketing is one of the best ways to engage prospects and customers, and it’s consistently underrated. That said, since the beginning of the pandemic, email volume has skyrocketed. One might expect this to drive performance down (my inbox is overloaded, how about yours?), but in fact engagement rates are up.
So, how can you make sure you’re sending better emails that stand out? Here’s my email checklist for everything you should think about before you hit send.
Relevance: Before you even create an email, think about how it serves your audience. Will they find it relevant and useful or will they react like this?
So, are you sending relevant information at the right time to the right people? Yes? Good, keep on. Are you sending an enewsletter to every email you have in your CRM because it’s on your marketing calendar and you send it every month at that time? Nope, stop. Re-evaluate.
Sender name: Your sender name is your first impression and some studies indicate it is the number one factor that determines whether people open your email. You want it to stand out and build trust. Most brands use some version of their brand name and either an employee name (Kari from LinkedIn) or a word that identifies the email contents (LinkedIn Sales Navigator News).
Subject Line: Another critical important factor in your open rate, your subject line can determine whether someone opens your email or marks it junk. Create subject lines that evoke emotion, are relevant to your audience, and avoid spam triggers. Try emojis, power words, personalization (your recipients name), and numbers.
Pay attention to length, as well. I see recommendations such as “no more than five words” or “between 28 and 50 characters.” That said, subject lines that are too long will get truncated in some inboxes, so keep it to less than 60 characters.
Finally, test your subject lines to determine what your audience responds to.
Preheader: Messages with preheaders have an average open rate of 7%more than emails without preheaders, so, yes, they matter. Your preheader can be an opportunity to add more context to your subject line or tease additional information in the email.
Logo: Add your logo at the top of your message. While many business owners I work with want this to be HUGE because they want their branding front and center, I recommend against that. You don’t want your logo to hide the contents of your email below the fold. In addition, make sure your logo links to your website.
Header: Your email header should include your main offer, a creative image, and a concise navigation menu, if needed. Try a GIF instead of an image, since they are supported in almost all email clients and studies show they boost engagement.
Mobile First Layout: In the age of mobile-first design, generally, a single column layout is a better choice vs. two or more columns. In addition, make any call to action buttons a minimum size of 44×44 pixels.
Images: Use high-quality, web-optimized images or GIFs to your email is visually appealing but small enough to deliver to the inbox. In addition, use image alt text for users who block image downloading.
Copy: Check that your copy is clear, concise, and compelling. Does the headline and first sentence entice users to read more? Is your offer clear? Is your brand voice consistent? Is your copy about the reader.
Try using a copywriting formula like AIDA to organize your message for better impact:
- Attention: Start with a headline or sentence that gets your readers to stop and pay attention.
- Interest: Next, pique their interest so they want to learn more.
- Desire: Build an emotional connection so they don’t just like you, they want you (and your product).
- Action: Tell them what action to take and make it easy.
Tracking: Use UTM tags in your email links to track your response rates and website engagement from email in Google Analytics or similar tools.
Rendering: Before you send your email, be sure to test rendering (that it looks good) across devices and email clients. While most email tools provide a preview of what the email should look like on mobile and desktop, you can go the extra mile and test across email clients with tools like Email on Acid or Get Response.
Email Marketing Examples
Check out this example from athleisure brand Sweaty Betty. It covers all the bases from a strong subject line to consistent branding to clear, concise copy that piques your interest and tells you exactly what action you’re supposed to take. And 50% off? That’s an offer I clicked on.