The inbox is growing more crowded every day. For email marketing campaigns to be successful, they must stand out, provide value, and engage readers.
This is where email optimization comes in.
Pre-send optimization is one of the most effective ways to boost your email performance. But because it can be a complicated and time-consuming process, it is often overlooked by email marketers.
Luckily, there are plenty of quick and simple ways to optimize your email campaign before hitting send. Let’s dive into pre-send optimization and review some tips you can adopt today to improve your email performance.
Email campaigns can be optimized at many different stages. But some of the best opportunities for optimization come before you even hit send.
Once you deploy your email campaign, it’s out there for everyone on your email list to see. If you made a typo, sent to invalid addresses, or included a broken link, there’s nothing you can do to fix it. This can damage your deliverability, sender reputation, engagement rate, and ultimately your ROI.
Pre-send optimization allows you to make targeted changes that can prevent these kinds of errors, enhance the user experience, and increase the likelihood that your campaign will be successful.
Here are some quick and simple tips to optimize your email performance before hitting send:
The subject line is one of the most important elements of an email.
If your subject line isn’t just right, your subscribers will scan over your message without opening it and all your hard work will have been for nothing. Not good.
To craft a click-worthy subject line, take these factors into consideration:
For an email campaign to be successful, it’s crucial that you’re only sending to valid email addresses. Sending to invalid addresses is viewed as “spammy” behavior by mailbox providers and can damage your deliverability and sender reputation.
It’s also important that you’re only sending to people who want to receive your messages. If you’re sending to people who have not opted into your email program or wouldn’t benefit from receiving your messages, you’re likely to receive far more spam complaints, which can prevent your future messages from reaching the inbox.
As part of your pre-send process, be sure that you can answer “Yes” to the following questions about your targeted email list:
If you answered “No” to one or more of these questions, you need to work on improving the quality of your email list. Start by using a contact verification solution to validate all of the addresses on your list. This will help you build a clean and actionable database so that you can reach and engage more people with future campaigns.
Before scheduling your campaign, run some design tests to ensure you’re delivering the best possible experience and enticing your recipients to engage.
The simplest way to do this is to use an automated design test tool to preview your content and see that your messages function and render properly. A test tool can help you identify issues with your content, including broken images, missing alt text, and invalid links, before your recipients do.
Be sure to proofread the message’s full content before sending, along with other members of your team to make certain nothing gets overlooked. And if your message includes dynamic placeholder elements, confirm that they have been replaced with personalized data.
Messages tend to rely heavily on images to showcase their content. While these emails look amazing, they can sometimes appear blank when images fail to load. For example, animated GIFs and images optimized for Apple’s devices with Retina Display are notoriously large files, which can increase loading time.
Optimize your messages by compacting your image files with a free tool like TinyPNG. This will shrink the overall file size and reduce loading time. Including fewer images in your message can also increase the likelihood that its contents will fully load upon request.
Email messages are usually an HTML content type that references images hosted somewhere on the internet. Total content shouldn’t exceed 102 kb (anything higher can result in messages being clipped at Gmail).
Use tools that clean up the code by removing unnecessary whitespace and line breaks or stripping empty attributes and comments. Keep in mind this requires some HTML and CSS knowledge, and if it isn’t done properly, it can distort your messages.
The top of your email is where you should place your most important pieces of content. After all, it’s the first section people see when they open your email! Make the most of this prime space by including your logo and a catchy call to action.
This is also a great spot to place an unsubscribe button. This might sound counterintuitive, but it does far less harm than good. If someone wants to stop receiving your messages, you should give them the option—otherwise they’ll fall to the alternative, which is to hit the spam button.
People marking your messages as spam hurts your sender reputation and increases your chances of landing in the spam folder in the future. To avoid this, be sure to place the unsubscribe link at the top of your email and make sure it appears clickable.
Making the most out of the limited time before you send your campaign is the key to its success, and pre-send optimization tactics can help you do just that. Be sure to follow these quick tips to prevent errors, improve your email performance, and boost the ROI from your email program.
For more information on how to measure the effectiveness of your email campaigns and troubleshoot problems, check out our eBook, Guide to Email Marketing Metrics.