Email marketing is now a huge component of most online marketer’s strategies for the simple reason that it is both effective and affordable. A lot of time and effort is often invested into a successful email marketing strategy so you want to ensure that what you are creating is going to work efficiently.
Too many people send out un-tested, un-researched emails that ultimately get them nowhere, so follow these 6 tips below for testing and optimizing your emails to ensure your emails are the best the possibly can be and see what a difference it can make to your online marketing strategy.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE TESTED
Deciding what to test can simply be done by assessing which parts of your email can affect the success of your email campaign. For most people who wish to be thorough – that encompasses just about everything, including:
- The day and time it is distributed
- The subject lines, headlines and titles
- The layout and design
- The offers and incentives
- The language and tone
- The format
- The sender information
TEST SPAM FILTERS
Spam filters are what decides whether or not your marketing content reaches an inbox or not. For a recipient; they can be your best friend – but for a marketer; they can be your worst enemy if you’re not careful.
Most email marketing automation software will have built-in test spam filters which will help you understand which parts of your email you will need to change if you want it to be successful. It will often look for things such as poorly formatted HTML, spammy words or phrases and dodgy links.
If your emails are coming up as spam there are a couple of things you can do. First, test a text-only version of your email. This will help you understand whether they issue it within the text or the images and code. Secondly, ensure that your emails are not too image heavy. Having many images and little text within emails will always send off alarm bells with spam filters. And finally, check for SenderID and DomainKeys records. Verify that you’ve added SenderID and DomainKeys records to your Domain Name System (DNS).
According to a survey conducted by Email Monday, 79% of people use their smartphone for reading email — a higher percentage than those who used it for making calls. This means that the vast majority of recipients will never even see the desktop version of your email – so treating your mobile email format as a secondary thing can be extremely damaging to the overall success of your email campaign.
In order to create a mobile responsive email template you need to have a couple of things. Stick to a single column format and always design vertically. Have a simplistic layout and avoid clutter or you will distract readers with unnecessary information. Make your text prominent and ensure your buttons are large and visible so customers can easily navigate and act when prompted.
The subject line of your email is going to be the first thing a recipient reads and it’s often the deciding factor between opening and deleting your email.
This means that there should be a lot of time and effort spent perfecting your subject lines. Everyone will have their opinions on what keywords and phrases are going to be most effective for you, but the reality is that you need to be unique in order to stand out – so using pre-made, overused subject lines is going to get you put in the bin immediately.
Think of unique ways that your products or services relate to your recipients. Highlight the usefulness of the email. Use alluring language to spark intrigue without being too vague or irrelevant. Create a sense of urgency to encourage people to act. Don’t be to rigid in your tone – conversational language is far better suited nowadays. Avoid using spammy language, symbols or images.
The best way to ensure your subject lines are simply by testing them out. Ask trusted friends, family and colleagues for their opinions. Create a couple of versions and see which ones get the best response.
Perfecting your balance of visual elements and textual elements in an email can sometimes be tricky. One one hand – you want something visually engaging, with bright emotive imagery, interesting and engaging video content and minimal text so as not to bore readers. However, at the same time – you don’t want to be marked as spam by spam filters due to overuse of images and under using text.
The key to finding this balance is by making the text interesting and easy to read. Use a conversational and friendly tone and write your information in short sentences and bullet points to make the email an easier read.
When it comes to your images, use maybe one or two relevant and bright images strategically OR opt for a video. Videos convert very well because they’re able to engage and convey information quite easily. Just make sure that these files have been compressed to reduce their size and the time it will take to load the content – otherwise people will exit the email before the content has had time to load correctly.
CALL TO ACTION
When you’re creating your call-to-action you want to be creating something that’s first and foremost going to be seen. Make your call to actions stand out by using contrasting bright colors and strategic positioning and placement. You want them to be prominent, so it’s also a good idea to always keep them positioned above the fold, so that readers don’t have to scroll to take action. The button text is another important factor. You want this call-to-action to focus specifically on one action – ask readers to do more than this and you risk them becoming confused or deterred by how much they have to do. Remember, they are doing you a favour so you need to make this a simple process for them. Similar to the rest of the text throughout the email, you want the call-to-action button text to be urgent, actionable and encouraging.