10 Ways to Make Your Email Marketing More Effective

There are many things that email marketers can do to make their email programs work harder for them. And for frequent readers of this blog, you will likely have picked up a few here and there.

Today, I wanted to roundup some of the tried and true ways you can improve the effectiveness of your emails, and introduce some new ones based on recent tests and trends.

Here are 10 ways to make your email marketing more effective:

  1. Responsive design – most email marketers have seen a huge uptick in mobile readership, which means your old email designs aren’t going to do. Responsive design allows you to create emails that are easily viewed on any device.
  2. Social share – adding social sharing options into your email encourages interaction and has proven to increase click-thru rates.
  3. Forward call outs – don’t just sit back and expect people to forward your emails to their friends, ask them to and give them a simple way to right from the email.
  4. Exclusivity – your emails should provide some benefit to your subscribers that they could not have received in any other way.
  5. Big buttons – it’s no longer enough to just put links in the text. Especially on mobile viewing, buttons make it easier for people to click thru on your emails and will increase the rate at which they do so.
  6. Test subject lines – don’t assume you know which subject line will work best. Every email you send is a new opportunity to test better subject lines to improve your open rate.
  7. Personalize – use what you know about your subscribers to customize your emails. At the very least, use their name.
  8. Shorten – get to the point quicker and don’t waste any words. Get people into your email and out of your email quicker, because they have better things to do than read your email.
  9. Test time of day – in the many tests I have seen, the big truth about time of day effectiveness is that it depends on who your subscribers are. If you haven’t tested different times, you should. Mornings, afternoons, and evenings will give you different results.
  10. Segment – you don’t have to send every email to every subscriber. Create different segments and customize your messaging based on past behavior, subscriber interests, or any other criteria that will help make your emails more relevant.

How to Get Fewer People to Read Your Email

As email marketers, we fight multiple battles. One of those battles involves getting people to read your emails. And there is one surefire way to get fewer readers, make your entire email an image.

That should be the end of the post, but I’ll explain.

I got an email this morning from a company that I once gave my email address because I was interested in their product. (Truth is, I was researching them because they were a competitor to a company I was working with at the time and I just haven’t unsubscribed.) Anyway, it dawned on me that every email that I’ve ever gotten from them has been in image form, with no text accompanying it.

That means, if they win the first battle and get me to click on the email to open it, they still don’t have a reader. Because I use Gmail (this works the same way for most email clients), I still have to approve the images before they will display. So before I do that, I am staring a blank email in the face. It’s one more chance to hit delete before ever getting a single piece of your message. What’s the point?

I understand that a lot of people might think a picture heavy, well-designed email might look better than a text-driven one. But where are the facts to show that it’s more successful? If success is measured in click-throughs and sales, why make it harder to get to that end point?

I explain a whole lot more about email marketing best practices and how to get better results in my book, The Fundamentals of Email Marketing.