Email Best Practices
Empower the secret weapons of email with A/B testing
There are five elements of pretty much every email that have the power to make or break your statistics, so test them.
In the crazy world of marketing, we are bombarded by buzzwords on a daily basis. Whether it be our long-term favorite personalization, or the new kid on the block, interactivity. These words come into our lives like a New Year’s gym subscription… and like that pass, hiding at the bottom of your rucksack - we never really know how long they’ll last.
When we looked into our crystal ball at the end of last year to uncover the trends in email for 2017, one thing was abundantly obvious. As a marketing profession, we are very good at jumping on the latest bandwagon, but we are not as good at staying on the ride for a long period of time. That is why we decided 2017 was the year to become a savvy emailer and start practicing what we preach. So, how do we do that?
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By A/B testing your secret weapons of email, of course ? ...
It’s very easy to get caught up in the latest marketing hype. But there are five elements of pretty much every email that have the power to make or break your statistics. So it's important to not overlook them, think through your choices carefully and test each of them, in every campaign. Mastering these secret weapons could make the difference between someone opening your email or moving it to their trash. After all, when you press the send button, you want your subscribers to go on a journey with you. Firstly, you want them to open your email; secondly, to read your message; thirdly, to consider your offering; and finally, to take action. So, what are these magical elements?
The first, your From Name As a receiver of emails, you’ll probably get a fair few each day. The average person receives a whopping 124+ emails a day. So, if you want your subscribers to recognize it’s you that's emailing them, make sure your from name is something they’ll identify in a split second. A good way of doing this is to use your brand name.
Here at Mailjet we like to be a bit more creative with our newsletter (don’t worry, we don’t normally go too mad), we opt to include our brand name, but we also let our readers know the team that’s emailing them. Another strategy could be to opt for a personalized from name (for example, add your email marketer’s name, Jeremy at Mailjet, or your recipient’s name to the field, Josie’s ACHICA). Just remember to help your contacts know it’s you by keeping these variations consistent.
The second, your Subject Line Make your email stand out in the inbox. Entice your subscribers to open your email by hinting on an epic story that pulls on their heartstrings. Keep the tone of voice true to your brand, but don’t be afraid to try different approaches. Find out what works best for your brand and your customers by testing different approaches. Funny phrases, questions or even emojis can help spice up your subject lines and draw attention to your email.
Remember to proceed with caution, though. We’re sure you wouldn’t want to fall into a spam trap, so avoid using words like FREE or ORDER NOW.
The third, your Pre-Header Sometimes called “the unsung hero of email” (we like to think we’ve created our very own buzzword with this one), the preheader text is the third element your readers see before opening the email, and, as such, should work alongside your subject line to summarize the content of your email, and entice your readers to dive into it.
At Mailjet, we start our pre-header text with our newsletter name, to give our subscribers a consistent experience. Although you could choose to add this in your subject line, adding it to your pre-header frees up valuable characters in the second secret weapon.
The fourth, your Email Content Fill your emails with content that both informs and empowers your customers. However, providing insightful content is not just a way of offering value to your contacts. At Mailjet, for example, we aim to send our subscribers useful content that will allow us to build credibility in the email stratosphere, and that will help our brand stand out in the crowded email space. Telling your company’s story, or what content marketers call storytelling, could be the right approach for your brand if you want to pull on your reader's heartstrings to get them to perform an action.
The key to finding out what works best for your brand and your audience is to test it. Chances are, if you offer value and incentives, like promotions or offers, your readers will reward you by clicking on your email and opening it in their inbox. But if you want to go one step further (yes, of course, you do…), provide valuable insights that will help your subscribers make the most of your product or service, to increase engagement and turn your emails into something your readers actually look forward to. Being personal can also improve the results of your campaign's performance.
Your email content is not limited to just the text, images and layout play a big part too. The amazing thing about your emails is that you can test anything and everything to find what works best for your business.
The fifth (and final one), your Calls-To-Action (CTAs) You know, the buttons or links you want your subscribers to click on. If your content is something that interests your subscriber, they’ll want to find out more, so use your CTAs to encourage your readers to convert and take the chosen action. Make sure your CTAs are clear and easy to navigate, to effectively drive traffic to your website or social channels.
Remember, the secret to killer emails is to test different approaches to find out what performs best for you brand (don’t test, and you could end up killing this cute cat). We’ve shown you what works for us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that's the best journey to take your emails on - get creative and embrace email testing!
Are you already testing different approaches with your email campaigns? We’d love to hear about it on Twitter, use the #EmailTesting to get involved in the conversation. Happy Testing!
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