Top 8 actionable email marketing tips

When it comes to email marketing, there’s no shortage of generic tips and empty advice out there, such as the best time to send an email. The reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to email timing. It depends entirely on your list and could be the often stated Tuesday at 10 a.m. or Sunday at 3 p.m.

While email marketing is nuanced, there are still a handful of best practices to keep in mind. In this post, we’re sharing eight actionable email marketing tips to help you increase your open and click-through rates.

1.Make the customer the hero

When it comes time to write marketing copy, many people forget how to talk and write like a human. Instead of making the copy about the customer and their specific needs, desires, and pain points, it becomes a jumble of marketing speak and jargon.

You can combat this by writing in a conversational tone and putting your customers front and center. This can mean only sending an email when you have something to say or featuring your customers in your emails either through write-ups or curating content they wrote.

2.Obsess over your email subject line and preview text

What’s the point of writing an email if no one opens it? The key to getting your email opened and read lies in writing a compelling subject line and preview text.

Your subject line should be snappy and interesting without being clickbait-y. A great tool for writing and testing subject lines is CoSchedule’s headline analyzer.

In addition, check out this guide that we wrote about how to increase your email open and click-through rates.

3.Include fewer CTAs in your emails for maximum impact

One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is having way too many CTAs in their emails. Their emails are like The Cheesecake Factory menu — they’re a mile long, take customers ages to read, and chock full of different CTAs.

However, most people don’t consume (or want to consume) emails that way. Most read emails on their phone and often in their in-between time. The easier it is to skim and decipher a singular CTA, the more likely customers are to take your desired action.

That’s why you should treat your emails like a Michelin star restaurant’s menu. If you’ve ever been to a Michelin star restaurant or even watched just one episode of Chef’s Table on Netflix, you know that their menus tend to have only a few items, which allows for a focus on quality food. This means fewer distractions and fewer decisions to make (often no more than one to two), which results in more people taking your desired action.

Pro Tip

If your CTA is to schedule a call or purchase something, make sure to have a thank-you page. This is not only common courtesy but allows you to attribute and track signups and purchases correctly.

4.Use the P.S. section for maximum impact

One overlooked section of an email is the P.S. section. This can be a great way to place extra emphasis on a specific CTA. For example, if you’re selling tickets to a meetup, you can add a quick one-liner with a link to buy a ticket in the P.S. section.

5.Add alt-text to any images

If people choose to view emails in plain text or are viewing their email in a place with poor Wi-Fi or cell reception, the images won’t load at all or they’ll load very slowly. One easy way to combat that is to include a quick text description in the image alt-text field.

However, it’s best to use images sparingly in emails. The more images you have, the more likely the email will load slowly or perhaps not at all on mobile.

6.Make your email personal

This leads to another key point, which is to make your emails personal and conversational. The more that your email looks, feels, and reads like it was sent from an actual person instead of from a company, the more likely it will be opened and read.

This is why plain-text emails or minimal templates sent from an actual person perform so much better (in terms of open rates) than fancy HTML ones.

7.FOMO sells

If you want people to do something, add a sense of urgency or fear of missing out (FOMO) to your messaging. It works extremely well. Just don’t use fake urgency tactics because that’s a guaranteed way to lose trust with your subscribers.

For example, if you tell all of your subscribers that you’re closing ticket sales on Friday, you can’t message your subscribers saying that the sale is back on Monday morning because you didn’t hit your sales goals. If you do this, you’re telling subscribers that your deadlines are artificial and don’t matter, which will undermine your brand’s credibility and trust.

8.Subscribe to email marketing newsletters for inspiration

This is a little meta, but one of the best ways to get actionable tips is to learn from other email marketers.

Here are a few of my favorite resources:

This is just the tip of the iceberg for email marketing tips. When it comes to writing better emails, it’s all about delivering value to your subscribers with clear and concise design and messaging.

This article is originally published on Jul 30, 2019, and updated on Apr 19, 2022.

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