Best Practices for High-Performing Emails

Jul 4, 2018 8:34:00 AM

By Cathy Cain-Blank

It’s time to launch an email campaign for your company’s exciting new product or service. You know the individuals and organizations on your contact list will be falling over themselves to line up for this offering … if only you can get them to open and read the email.

That part of the campaign can be an uphill battle, especially since your email will be fighting it out in an inbox with possibly hundreds of messages. In addition, people’s overall attention spans are on the decline (largely due to smartphone usage, according to Psychology Today).

What can you do to make your messages stand out? You need to follow the best practices for crafting high-performing emails. Let’s talk about some of the most important ones.

Determine the Goal of the Email and Follow Through

Before you start writing, consider what you’d like the email to accomplish. When the recipient gets to the end, would you like them to request a demo? Download your latest white paper? 

Whatever your goal, craft each part of the email with it in mind. This doesn’t mean hitting your audience over the head with a sales pitch. Even if you curate third-party content to educate your audience about a specific topic, you can carefully choose content and a topic that will gently guide them towards the desired action.

High-Performing Emails Use a “From” Name That Clearly Identifies the Organization

As you begin, pay attention to the email “from” name that will be appearing in recipients’ inboxes. Did they sign up for a newsletter from Acme Cybersecurity, but your emails arrive from “Charles Smith?” If they don’t recognize the sender, they may delete the message before giving it a second glance.

Draw Them in With Your Subject Line

Subject lines are an essential component for high-performing emails. They must be clear, concise, and compelling. They also need to be brief.

That last bit doesn’t necessarily affect open rates due to recipients losing interest. The negative impact comes when an email subject line is too long to be fully displayed on a browser, email reader, or mobile device screen. If someone can’t read the entire subject line, they’re more likely to move on. MarketingSherpa found that many readers and browsers max out between 41 and 50 characters. The sweet spot is fewer than 33 characters, which will allow your subject line to be displayed on smartphones as well.

Email subject lines should get right to the point, with the important words or terminology positioned at the front. Avoid salesy language. If you have the opportunity to personalize the subject with the recipient’s name or organization, be sure to do so.

Creating Compelling Content Is an Art That Can Be Learned

Your audience has seen the “From” field and the subject line and they’ve opened your email. Congratulations! That’s a huge part of the battle. Now, you need to compel them to take action.

One way to do this is to customize your email content to suit the interests of particular segments of your audience. Contacts will be delighted to receive emails they feel are tailored especially for them, while they’ll quickly lose interest and unsubscribe if they repeatedly see messages that don’t pertain to their industry or interests.

Before you began writing, you decided on a goal that your email should accomplish. Keep this goal in mind and don’t forget to include a call-to-action that makes it easy for the recipient to follow through on connecting with your team, signing up for your latest workshop, or making a purchase. 

As you write,  avoid email spam words that are sure to send your messages hurtling into the spam box or get your address blacklisted. Calls-to-action are an excellent tool, but ones that are overt or overly enthusiastic can get your messages flagged. Emails that contain a high image-to-text ratio are often flagged as spam. It’s important to educate yourself on email spam words in order to avoid common pitfalls that can trip up your campaigns.

Remember that while high open rates are great, it’s the follow-through that happens after an email is opened that truly counts. Creating high-performing emails is an art, but it’s one that can be learned with a bit of study, patience, and taking the time to keep your audience in mind as you market directly to them.

 Need help creating high-performing emails? Contact us today!