For your subscribers to spend their time reading your email the content in the email has to bring value to them. The first step is to stimulate curiosity through a catchy subject line but it doesn’t end there.
In this post, we will have a look at the best practices for each of the 5 email components: subject lines, email copy, email design, CTA’s and images.
1. Subject Lines
The email element that will determine if your email is opened or not is the subject line. Depending on the type of email you are sending the subject line needs to reflect the message and the feeling you are trying to convey.
To keep this post shorter I wrote another post dedicated just to writing subject lines. You will learn there about the 7 types of email subject lines with examples for each type: Self-Interest, Curiosity, Offerings, Urgency, Humanitarian, News, Social proof.
2. Email Copy
The email copy is the actual text in the email. Depending on your audience, it might be written in a specific language style or tone.
Email Copy Best Practices
- Make it short, well-written, and straight to the point.
- Align the message in the email copy with that of the subject line.
- Make it easy to scan using proper headlines and bullet points.
- Focus on their needs by using more of ‘you’ than ‘we’ in your message.
- Clarify what is their benefit.
- Make it about a singular action/goal by having just one link/call-to-action.
- Convey a sense of urgency, but don’t make it look spammy.
- Be consistent in your language style and writing tone.
- And of course, have the mandatory unsubscribe link and your business’ postal address.
3. Email Design
The layout, colors, or the position of the click-to-action buttons influences if the reader clicks or not. It needs to look friendly and familiar.
Email Design Best Practices
- Insert your logo on the top of your image.
- Use branded colors in your CTA’s.
- Use bolded text to help the reader scan through the email.
- Make the email ‘breathable’ by using short paragraphs and spaces between paragraphs.
- If you have more sections (such as more news articles) make them distinguishable from one another using different background colors, dividing lines, clear headers.
- Insert your CTA and the most important information above the fold; to be visible on mobile and desktop without scrolling down the email.
- Use the same font style, colors, and a large enough text.
- The optimal email dimension for all devices is 600px in width.
The CTA (Click-to-Action) is another critical element of your email structure.
CTA Best Practices
- Make the CTA text relevant to the email.
- Be honest beforehand upon what is in for them and what do you expect in return.
- Make it distinguishable as a clickable button.
- Use the short and action-packed text: Apply Now, Download Now, Sign up, Learn More, Book Now, Buy Now.
- Place the CTA above the fold: meaning that mobile users shouldn’t scroll down to notice the CTA button.
- Keep it to a maximum of 2 CTA’s.
Finally, we’ll have a look at the email images. Images are important for brand recall, and they can even help drive conversion.
Best Practices for Email Images
- Use branded colors and product images.
- Images in emails should not distract the user from the email copy or CTA.
- Many turn off images in their emails, so images should be complementary, not necessary to convey the message.
- Overuse of images in your emails might trigger spam filters and other deliverability issues.
- Use the 25% rule – no more than 25% of your email should have images.
- Use images no larger than 1MB; the less the better.
- Optimize and scale your images using tools such as picresize.com and tinypng.com.
Writing the perfect email is hard. But to get closer to a perfect one you can perform A/B testing on each component of your email.
It’s an ongoing process of understanding and reacting to your subscriber’s needs and wants. Although the open rates are not as in the 2000s, email marketing is still an important channel of your digital marketing strategy.
It’s highly saturated and that’s why you need to keep it as authentic as possible to stand out in the recipient’s inbox.