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4 Email Marketing Tips to Amplify Your Open and Clickthrough Rates

Shelby McKeown
Written by Shelby McKeown  December 9, 2020

How many times have you checked your email today? Be honest… According to one McKinsey study, professionals spend nearly 28% of their work day reading and answering emails. For a marketer, that’s a lot of valuable time to reach your audience. So how can you capitalize on such an engaged user? Wickedly strategic email marketing.

There’s a lot of great marketing that can be done with email: curated content, exclusive deals, brand awareness, social initiatives — all delivered right to the inbox. In this post, we’ll break down the top four email marketing tips to help make sure you’re sending the best email possible. 

(And unlike Joey, we’re willing to share.)

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Email Marketing Tip #1: Email deliverability has changed — adjust accordingly

Email deliverability (the ability to get your emails into customers’ inboxes) is a little more complicated than you might think. 

Deliverability looks a little different than it used to, having evolved from just a tactical pursuit to a strategic one as well. Gone are the days of word choice, punctuation, and/or image/text balance being the key cornerstones of deliverability.

The largest factors that impact deliverability are now email volume consistency, domain reputation, and most importantly, engagement rates.

The shift in focus means email marketers need to spend more time creating quality emails that users will actually engage with, instead of quantity. Otherwise, the email clients may think you’re sending useless (maybe even spammy) emails that are less likely to reach the inbox. 

Email Marketing Tip #2: Email engagement is a key indicator of long-term success

  • Client-friendly email designs
  • Sending campaigns according to users’ indicated email preferences (tips for email confirmation)
  • Acquiring your recipients’ explicit consent 
  • Audience segmentation
  • Content personalization
  • Action-triggered automations
  • Interacting with your audience on a regular basis

Oh, and as for acquiring new subscribers on your website – don’t use subscription pop-ups on page load. Google now penalizes sites if a pop-up appears immediately after landing, or a site that pushes content down upon load. This is primarily examined on mobile sites, but we would advise caution across the board. If pop-ups are a necessity for your website, utilize user actions and behaviors to trigger pop-ups instead of page load. Trust us: this is one email marketing tip you do not want to overlook if you want to drive leads.

Email Marketing Tip #3: Make the most of email design 

Here’s the hard truth: you will never get an HTML-based email design to look 100% consistent across email clients. It just doesn’t happen! Your email might be perfectly developed in Apple Mail, but wonky in Outlook, or an image won’t load in Gmail – something will be off, somewhere. Some of the most common email clients still have scattered support for typically-accepted front-end development conventions. Think: cropping an image.

This generally means interactive designers working on an email need to throw on a velour tracksuit, re-watch season 9 of FRIENDS, and pretend like they’re designing for the web circa 2003.

Over the last several years email clients have made improvements in what they support – with some exceptions (looking at you, MS Outlook). That, and the addition of interactive frameworks (like AMP) have made more of the interactive features and rich design elements that we’re used to seeing everyday on the web available for email. Polls with live feedback, interactive games, rich animation, and even online purchasing in email is all possible.

The key is embracing a strategy of ‘graceful degradation’.

That means building a high-impact interactive feature that will work on a few core email clients and having a more traditional ‘fallback’ for other, non-supporting email clients. An example might be iOS Mail users seeing a swipeable carousel of product images, while Outlook users see a single product image and a static CTA to ‘see all.’ Progressive features like this can be time intensive, but they’re rare enough to stand out in the inbox, which can have the potential to dramatically increase ROI on a campaign.

Something that shouldn’t vary across your email designs though? Accessibility.

Accessibility in email is ensuring that people with a wide range of abilities are all able to understand what you’re sending them. An easy way to make your email accessible (and pretty!) is by using live text with absolute positioning rather than creating a primarily imaged-based email, which is not a great idea for accessibility. Not to mention, live text is essential for readability with a slow internet connection, if you want your email to be searchable, or if your subscriber has images turned off. A win, win, win!

Email Marketing Tip #4: Sync your email strategy with your sales team

Now that we’ve discussed how to get the job done (and done right), we should talk about the whole reason you’re sending an email in the first place: your goal and strategy.

Like in the case of quite a few of our clients, it’s likely your marketing emails and sales emails are  siloed efforts. You promote the product or service, and the sales teams sell it. But do you see any potential for overlap? (Hint: The answer is “heck yes.”)

Syncing with sales teams on email messaging and timing is incredibly valuable. Because ultimately the goal is the same (customer conversion) — and wouldn’t it be nice to work together on that? As a result of your collaboration, your marketing and sales messages accentuate one another rather than potentially detract from the brand in the customer’s eyes. Aligning your efforts will help cure simple oversights like repetition, ill-timed information, or an email that asks a question you just answered to a sales rep.

Creating email marketing strategies that interact and augment sales email messaging is so powerful.

It’s like a one-two punch with a reinforced message that strengthens your customer’s perception of your brand overall, increasing the likelihood of conversion. Yay!

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Need an ESP recommendation? Don’t know what CRM stands for, or what it could possibly have to do with email? Or just want to share in your obsession with FRIENDS, or any other 90s TV for that matter? Drop us a line (or — here’s a thought — send us an email. 😀). We’re a chatty bunch about this sort of thing.

Shelby McKeown

Shelby McKeown

I like long walks on the beach, puppies, and good email. Send me one! I’m probably scrolling through my inbox(es) right now.