Email marketing is one of the best ways to connect directly with your audience, whether current customers or prospective clients. However, the email inbox is a crowded place, and you may be wondering how you can make your email marketing campaigns stand out from the clutter. Here are five email marketing tips to consider when creating your next campaign. 

1. The Email’s From Fields

Often overlooked, the “From Fields” (a.k.a. From Name and From Address) are the first things your audience sees when checking their inbox. Though seemingly straightforward, you have a couple of different options for how to format your From Fields. 

Depending on your brand voice and how you communicate with your clients, you may want to adjust your From Fields. If you want to project a more straightforward brand front, you’ll want to feature your business name in the From Name field (e.g., “1-800Accountant” or “The 1-800Accountant Marketing Team”.) If you have a more personalized relationship with your clients, you can use a name (“Jane Smith”) or a combination of the two (“Jane at 1-800Accountant”.)

Similarly, your From Address can reflect these options as well (“marketing@xyzbusiness.com” vs. “jane@xyzbusiness.com.”)

If you’re not yet sure how you want to present yourself or what will receive the most engagement from your audience, you can use an A/B test to see which fields work best. 

2. The Subject Line

The subject line is the best indication of what your audience can expect to find in your email. Your strategy for how to construct your subject line will depend on the type of email you’re sending. 

For more transactional messages, like an invoice, receipt, or any type of confirmation email, you’ll want to keep the subject line straightforward. In these cases, your client will likely be looking for this email in their inbox, so you’ll want to tell them up front exactly what the email is (“XYZ Reservation Confirmation” or “Your order is on the way!”)

For promotional messages or newsletters, you have more freedom with your subject lines. Similar to the From Fields, this will depend on your audience and your brand voice. If you offer professional services or something similar, you’ll want to be more straightforward about the content of the email and the value you provide. If you’re going for fun and approachable, your subject lines may be more tongue in cheek or use emojis to grab people’s attention. 

Your subject line will depend on the content of the email you’re sending, but here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Stick to your brand voice
  • If you’re running a sale or promotion, let them know exactly what they can get (“Open for 20% off!”)
  • Take advantage of timely events or holidays to garner interest (“Your holiday offers are here!”)
  • Keep it short and sweet; Most mobile devices will cut your subject line off after 30-40 characters, so be brief when possible as a rule of thumb.

3. Body Content

Where From Field and subject line optimization is all about getting your audience to open your email; the body content is where you will convince them to engage. This will look different depending on what type of email you’re sending.

For a one-to-one style message, keep it personal. If your ESP has the functionality, use personalization tokens to address them directly (“Hi {First Name}”) or else more generally affably (“Hi friend”). Don’t overwhelm them; most people don’t want to read paragraphs upon paragraphs of text in an email. Get to the point and, where possible, link to a landing page or blog post where they can find more information if necessary. Conclude your email with a signature, and include information to contact you if applicable.

For newsletters or more promotional-style emails, you’ll want to think more about the layout of your content. Use headlines to focus your message on your offer or content (“20% off, this weekend only!”). Images can create visual interest and draw the eye of your audience, but use them sparingly, or your email may appear crowded. If you’re featuring a single promotion or piece of content, one header or banner image will likely suffice. For a newsletter-style message with multiple features within your email, you can utilize multiple images, but make sure they are all cohesive (i.e., designed in the same style) and not too busy.

Regardless of what type of email you’re sending, make sure you’re optimizing for mobile. Most ESPs will allow you to preview your email on desktop and mobile views, so check to ensure that your content is displaying correctly no matter where your audience views it. You can also send a test email to yourself and view it on your desktop and mobile device to double-check.

4. The Call to Action

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll want to consider what it is exactly that you want your email to do. Your call to action (CTA) ultimately defines your email’s success. Whether to read more, schedule an appointment, sign up for a subscription, or purchase a product, you’ll want to display your CTA within your email prominently. CTA buttons catch the eye and give your audience a clear target to click. In most cases, it’s best to position your primary CTA above the fold (i.e., visible as soon as they open your email, no scrolling required). You can also A/B test your CTA’s placement, style, and color to see what’s most effective.

5. The Send

Lastly, you’ll need to decide on the details of your send. This goes beyond the actual content of your email. 

Depending on the type of email you’re sending, you may want to send your email to different segments of your audience. Generally speaking, the more you can tailor the content of your email to your audience, the better. So, for example, if you’re sending an email promotion for a specific range of products, you’ll see better results if you send your email to a segment of your audience who have already expressed interest in that type of product.

You also want to make sure you’re not over-communicating to your audience. The inbox is a crowded space; don’t add to the clutter. Your audience may get frustrated if they’re receiving what they perceive to be too many emails. If you have automation in place, consider how many automated emails they may be receiving and limit the amount of additional blast-style emails you’re sending. Many ESPs will allow you to suppress people from your send if they’ve already received too many emails from you that week so that you can prioritize your sends accordingly.

The day and time of your send is also something you’ll want to consider. There’s plenty of research available on the topic, but generally speaking, Tuesdays and Thursdays tend to be good days to send emails, and you’ll likely want to schedule your sends during working hours, preferably in the morning. However, keep in mind that these are broad guidelines, and you’ll want to test different send days and times to learn what your audience responds best to.

Figure Out What Works

Email marketing allows you to reach your audience directly. Ultimately, you know your clients and customers best, so tailor your email marketing strategy to what works for them.

Test everything! Industry standards and guidelines are an excellent place to start when developing your email campaigns, but your audience is unique at the end of the day. Find what works best for them by A/B testing each area of your email and create your own set of best practices customized to your audience.