Friday, August 26, 2016

How to Get Your Emails Read Every Time

Part with a buck, pull in thirty-eight.

Email's ROI is remarkable, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

But you'll never hit that average, if your emails go unread.

"There are many reasons for failure and many relate to design," says Tanya McGinnity, brand journalist for Onboardly

She offers 10 rules to get your emails read:

1. Stay consistent. Discover a look and stick to it. "When recipients hear from you, they shouldn’t have any doubt that it’s you," McGinnty says. Where to start? Mimic the look of your website.

2. Choose a tailor-made template. "Just grabbing the first template you see and slapping some branding and copy in there isn’t going to make you any fans," McGinnty says. Choose the template suited for the job (newsletters aren't product pitches; event invitations aren't customer surveys; new-product announcements aren't time-limited offers; and so forth).

3. Leverage graphics. "Some of the best emails are simply visuals with a simple call out," McGinnty says. 

4. Leverage copy. Smart, well presented copy can grab more readers than graphics.

5. Keep it brief. Don't be the guy at the party who won't shut up. Remember, you can always blast the same readers another day.

6. Think small. Don't go overboard on big images. Big images will send your emails to the spam folder, or blow up a reader's inbox.

7. Optimize the size. Readers use a variety of devices. Make sure your emails are viewable on them all.

8. Trust the inverted pyramid. McGinnty urges you to think like a journalist about your emails. "At the top, a snappy headline that highlights the core message, supported by information and visuals that help persuade readers to click through. Then a no BS call to action button that gives no room for confusion on what to do."

9. Use one call to action. Ask readers to take just one action at a time, because that’s all they can take. "An infinite series of calls to action only confuse the recipient," McGinnty says. Philips Sonicare split-tested two different emails, one with a single call to action and one with four. The email with one call to action produced 371% more clicks and 1,617% more sales.

10. Edit, edit, edit.  Strive for clarity by cutting anything that can distract readers or go into another day's email. "Be tactical and review your email marketing piece like a chef eyes a plate before serving it up to a popular food critic," McGinnty says.
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