After receiving an email recently, which was promoting an iPhone app but offered a terrible mobile reading experience, I began to think about other email details that often get overlooked. Through firsthand experience from working on the brand side of email marketing, I know how often marketers find themselves scrambling at the last minute to get email messages out the door, which can often lead to overlooked best practices which make all the difference in subscribers engaging with your message or completely ignoring it. While many marketers concentrate on crafting spell-binding subject lines and luring promotional offers, they often forget about the small but critically important details that can make or break message performance.
With the holiday’s approaching and inbox volume inevitably going up, make sure you include these key elements in your messages to not only create a positive subscriber experience but to also improve your bottom line:
- Preheader. The preheader is the text immediately following the subject line. It is visible when an email is previewed in the inbox and is the first piece of text a subscriber sees when opening the message. A smartly crafted preheader that compliments the subject line, can help boost opens, and including a clear call to action within the preheader can help drive engagement, especially for readers who may not take the time to scroll down and read the entire message.
- Preview Pane Optimization. The preview pane is the top section of the email that is viewable above the fold without needing to scroll down. A subscriber will decide whether or not they’re going to engage with your email in the first few seconds of viewing it, which makes the preview pane a critical component in grabbing their attention. This area needs to be clearly branded, actionable, and enticing.
- Call to Action Placement. The CTA is an instruction to your audience to provoke a desired response, such as clicking to watch a video, visit your website, or buy a specified product. The CTA language as well as its location within the email are both big drivers in increasing engagement. You can have the most enticing call to action but if it’s located at the bottom of your email below, requiring the subscriber to scroll down to find it, you risk losing their attention.
- Keep the Audience in Mind. Design the email with your audience in mind. The more your creative and content is geared towards the subscriber’s needs and preferences, the better it will perform. This not only includes using personalized content but also making sure the reading experience is a positive one, whether the subscriber is opening on their desktop or their phone.
Need help applying these key elements to your email program? Curious how many of your readers are viewing your message on a mobile device, desktop, or tablet? Return Path’s suite of tools such as Email Client Monitor can help you gain instant insight into your subscribers’ reading habits while Inbox Preview allows you to see how the preview pane will render in most devices, browsers, and email clients.