Happy National Email Week! The 2nd week of June marks the celebration of email week and while this celebration often passes by unknown to most, we think it’s a great time to learn about one of the marketers’ most powerful tools in the digital toolbox.
Here are 8 easy and effective email tips to help you kick start your email strategy:
- Follow the Rules. These days just about everyone – 91% of adults1 – in the US uses email, so it’s only natural that the government wants to try and keep it safe for its citizens. The CANSPAM Act is how the US Government, and more specifically the Federal Trade Commission, protects those in the US. Most of the regulations are common sense – don’t be deceitful – but it’s a good idea to brush up on all the rules. You can learn more here. If you email to prospects, students, alumni or anyone in Canada be sure to adhere to CASL or in Europe, stay in line with GDPR.
- Choose a Super Subject Line. The email subject line is a critical element to get your message read. With over 200 billion emails sent worldwide every day2, it’s easy to get lost in the inbox. Make sure your subject line is clear, concise, clickable and relevant to your recipient. One smart idea is to include action oriented verbs to entice recipients to open your emails and, if appropriate for the audience, emojis can be a fun way to stand out from the noise.
- Draw them in with Preview Text. Have you noticed that there’s text included after the subject line in your inbox? You’re probably scanning it along with the subject line and deciding if you should bother with the email. Well, that little bit of text is called the preview text, or preheader, and it can be used to draw the recipient in and give them a taste of what your email will be about. If you don’t set up your email to specify what the preview text is, then the email client will pull it from the first line of text in your email, which in many cases is an unsubscribe link. Add in a meaningful and well thought out preview text and your message will be much more impactful that pulling through an unsubscribe link or whatever the first text is in your email.
- Make it personal. The number one reason people report emails as spam is because the email was irrelevant.3 Don’t be irrelevant! Know whom you send to and personalize the message to them. This can be as simple as using the recipient’s name or program of interest. The more the message can relate to the person, whether it’s a student or alumni, the better.
- Use one clear CTA. Tell your recipients what you want them to do – do you want them to request information on a particular program, call an admissions advisor or do you want a graduate to update their contact information? Don’t confuse your recipients by giving them too many choices. Create one clear call to action (CTA). It will also be important that the CTA stands out so that a recipient will notice it if he or she is quickly scanning the email. A large button is often a great choice.
- Don’t forget the Alternative Text. Images can truly make emails beautiful and engaging, but what about when an email client blocks images, which many do by default, or there’s a bad internet connection and the images won’t download? That’s where alternative text, or alt text, comes into play. The alt text will appear in place of the image. This text can help encourage a recipient to activate images for the email. It can also help convey the message of the email when images are missing. And an added bonus of alt text – it can actually help deliverability! The alt text not only helps your recipient better understand your message, but it helps the spam filters too. Lots of unknown images can appear spammy to filters.
- Remember the plain text. When deploying an HTML email (an email that is coded to include design and tracking elements) always include a plain text version of the email. One reason to do so, is that spam filters expect this as it’s considered best practice. However, another important reason is because some email clients don’t support HTML emails, while some recipients have selected to receive only plain text email; whatever the reason, you don’t want those recipients to be left out. So, be sure to always include a plain text version of your email in every deployment.
- Be mobile friendly. Nearly as much as 75% of your email opens could come from mobile devices, so it’s more important than ever to create mobile friendly emails.4 If you’re not mindful of the mobile market then you not only miss out on opportunities but you could hurt your email reputation as the recipient may just decide to report your email as spam. Over 40 percent of all email users that have reported email as spam have done so because the email did not display or work well on a mobile device.3
Email has proven year over year to be one of the most consistent channels for marketers. A study conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric found that email had a median ROI of 122%!5 However, the strong performance of email across multiple industries cannot be taken for granted. In order to see the best results year over year, email marketers must continue to stay on top of evolving best practices and laws, and of course never stop testing. To learn how email marketing can help your school, speak to our email experts!