Wondering how to raise those open rates and increase your ROI from email campaigns? Here’s how to achieve good email design and inspire recipients to read your emails.
After so many years of Internet advertising and plenty of other ways to market a company on social media and through content marketing, email marketing is still the best way to raise awareness, nurture brand loyalty and most importantly, sell.
There were 3.9 billion email users in 2019, MailerLite reports. In 2024, this number is expected to increase to 4.48 billion email users.
Furthermore, the number of email newsletter signups is also increasing: the average weekly signups per account have increased by 34.9% since March 9, 2020. It might be the pandemic’s doing, but it is for sure favorable for marketers.
And email marketing campaigns are also one of the most economically effective investments in marketing: according to research done by DMA in 2019, for each dollar invested in an email campaign, you can expect a return of investment of 42 dollars.
So, needless to say, an email marketing strategy is valuable for your company, and can increase your sales and improve the relationship you have with your customers. Here is how you can make sure you create a successful, well-designed and inspiring email campaign.
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Above all else, an email should be well-structured, straightforward and catchy.
A person has a smaller attention span than a goldfish nowadays: only 8 seconds are enough for us humans to lose interest in what we see. That means that when a person sees a promotional or transactional email in their inbox, they’ll ignore it if the subject line and preheader don’t look interesting or informative.
So, how can you make people think that opening your email will help them in some way? Here are some steps to try.
Use a familiar sender name
Although it is polite to use at least the first name of the sender in an email, it is a better recipe for success if you include your company’s name in the “From” name. For example, John Smith could be anyone, but John from ManyPixels will ring some bells.
That way, you can make sure the contacts in your email list don’t ignore the email thinking it is spam, or a random person trying to contact them.
Write a catchy and descriptive subject line
A witty, funny or simply informative subject line will help your open rates greatly. Depending on the type of email, you can assess the situation and use a tone of voice that suits it well.
Still, using a catchy subject line, or one that immediately informs the reader of what the email is about will encourage them to open the email, and hence improve the success of your campaign.
Write an attention-grabbing preheader
The preheader of your email should either complement the subject line or add extra information about the contents of the message. So it should work together with the subject line.
It is also important to know that the preheader shouldn’t be too long, because it will be clipped in the inbox view.
In case of a dilemma about whether or not you should use a long preheader or not, it is better to leave that field empty, than to add an inconclusive and confusing one that will be clipped in half.
An email banner might not help you with the open rates, but it certainly does with the read-through rates.
A well-designed banner that supports the email copy and adds a preview to the product you are marketing will be an additional element that informs and is also ornamental. So it will make the whole email look more professional and good-looking.
Keep the body text simple
As much as you might want to add a lot of text in your email campaign and inform the readers about everything that’s going on in your company, you need to focus on just one thing. Are you promoting a new product? Write about that. Do you have a flash sale? Talk to them about all the possibilities. Is it just a newsletter? Write a few sentences about the blog posts you are including and let the rest speak for itself.
An oversaturated and confusing email won’t bring you a good result, so make sure your email copy is optimized and well-structured. You can search for email templates to get an idea of a good structure.
Use the right CTA button
The right button will attract the readers to take action in an email. Make sure it is the right size and color, and that the font is noticeably different from the body text, but not too far from the rest of the email’s look. Take some time to think about the right placement too. Should it be flat, rounded, three dimensional? Base these decisions on both your brand image, art direction and basic psychology (it should be noticeable, first and foremost).
Finally, take some time to decide on the best call to action. “Buy now” and “Learn more” are very repetitive and uninspiring after a while, and your copy could probably use more creativity.
Optimize for mobile devices too
According to 99Firms, 42% of all emails in 2019 were read on mobile devices. This data is showing that your email campaigns should definitely be optimized for mobile too: email banners, headings and buttons should look as well on your cell as they do on a laptop.
So, unless you don’t want to risk more than 40% of your readers missing the point because they need to zoom out or rotate their phone to read your email, make sure you optimize them.
Find inspiration in successful email campaigns
It is both a blessing and a curse that there are plenty of amazing examples of marketing on the internet. On one hand, sometimes you feel like you will never be able to top some ideas, but on the other, you can learn from them. After all, in a news cycle as close as the one we have these days, people will quickly forget everything they’ve read.
So, we’re not saying steal ideas and copy someone else’s campaign, but do research and see what worked well. Compare your brainstormed ideas with existing campaigns, and make sure you check what your competitors are doing.
There are also plenty of libraries on the internet where you can find really good emails. No joke, there’s even a website called Really Good Emails that stores great examples of both design and copywriting in emails.
You might think that an art direction for your emails is a bit over the top, but it is simply going to make your email planning and designing easier in the future.
Selecting fonts, colors, banner design style, header size and style, the shape, color and positioning of buttons and plenty of other small details (will you use illustrations, stock photos, icons, do you use bullet points, bold and italic text, etc.), will help you assure consistency and always have branded emails.
Or, if you have a general digital marketing design strategy and art direction, use the same rules you have set up for that.
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As with all things online, email design and optimization evolve pretty quickly. So, it would be smart to check up on the latest trends in design, as well as what are the requirements of email automation tools and similar.
At the same time, you should regularly stay up to date with details such as:
- Opening rates
- Click-through rates
- Return of investment
- Usage of devices
- Best time to send emails
- Demographic data about your recipients
These findings will help you reiterate your campaigns and pivot in case something isn’t working well. They will also help you update and rework your ideal buyer personas if needed.
You should also always investigate email automation tools and services that might fit your needs better.
Make sure you stay safe from the Spam box
Very salesy terms, plenty of emojis and direct CTAs from the subject line can make your emails disappear in the Spam box.
Other things that can influence this include attached images and videos, unsafe links, large files and very long texts.
You can test if your email is optimized not to be considered spam by sending yourself or a colleague a test email. And make sure to check common spam trigger phrases and words, which are usually regularly updated year by year.