Email and content are two of the most effective tools at a marketer’s disposal. Yet, due to the many complexities that determine inbox placement, the two are often at odds. What often makes for a great piece of standalone content doesn’t always work in email form, resulting in poor deliverability and engagement.
For instance, the most common mistake marketers make is regarding the longer copy within an email as the most important piece of email content. However, it’s usually the smaller details that determine whether your emails are properly delivered and opened. When developing content for email, marketers should think beyond the body copy and keep elements such as HTML, design, and CTA placement top of mind.
With so many moving parts influencing engagement and deliverability, it’s difficult to determine how to best optimize content to improve email engagement and deliverability. Thankfully, with the right strategy, you can ensure your email and content work together harmoniously to help you meet your marketing goals.
Today’s mission is to equip you with a few best practices to optimize your email content for improved engagement, inbox placement, and even better results.
Remember That “From” Addresses, Subject Lines, and Preview Text Matter
The elements of your email that your recipient sees before even opening your message –– which include the “from” address, subject line, and preview text –– greatly impact your overall success and effectiveness of your email marketing strategy.
To start, the “from” address used can affect whether your audience and various ISPs perceive your message as spam. In general, you should avoid using generic addresses such as nonreply@, postmaster@, admin@, and similar entities. Instead, try using “from” addresses that clearly convey who you are and what your message is about. Sticking to this practice will help you ensure your email doesn’t immediately get flagged by ISPs and encourage trust and engagement from your audience.
Subject and preview lines also play a crucial role in helping you generate interest and establish credibility with your audience. To encourage your recipients to open your email, you should aim to craft these two pieces of text to be catchy but also convey the overall purpose of your email. If you’re lacking ideas on how to craft subject lines and preview text that improve your open rate, a good place to start is by looking at your analytics for top-performing keywords and conducting A/B testing to see which phrases resonate best with your audience.
In short, if you want to make sure your messages land in the inbox folder and get opened and read, take some time to think about how you can make a good first impression with your audience.
It’s Not Enough to Have a Good Call To Action
For years and years, it’s been ingrained in our minds that a strong call to action is the key to better results. In the world of email, simply asking your audience to complete an action is not enough. Aspects such as placement and design can significantly impact whether your call to action gets seen, captures the attention of your audience, and inspires them to click-through.
To help achieve increased CTA conversion rates, you should first aim to place these above the fold where your audience can easily see them. You should also make it clear to your audience what it is and what they are expected to do. Generally, having an eye-catching button that includes engaging copy that motivates your reader to take the next step is a good recipe for email marketing success. In contrast, hiding your CTA within an image or another part of your email will be interpreted as spam by both ISPs and your recipient.
Less Is More When It Comes to Content and Design
Copy that is concise and to the point is the key to all good content and is especially important in the world of email. Your recipients are likely inundated with tons of emails each day, so your copy should be written in a way that effectively communicates your message.
In addition to keeping your content short and sweet, you should also present it in a way that is easy to digest. This will help your recipients quickly understand what it is you’re trying to convey and what you want them to do, which will lead to improved engagement.
Finally, make sure to design your emails to be mobile-friendly. According to Fluent, 75% of consumers use their smartphones most often to check their email (1), so failing to make the viewing process enjoyable will likely dissuade them from engaging with your email. Tools, such as Act-On email composer, can help you easily create responsive emails that look great and are easy to view on all ISPs and mobile devices.
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Avoid Elements That Can Land Your Emails in The Spam Folder
Hidden email content is just as important as what you see at first glance. Elements such as HTML, links, images, and even certain phrases can send your emails straight to the “spam” folder and should be avoided.
Double-check the following before clicking “Send”:
- Links: Make sure all links are clear and easily identifiable. Hiding links can damage your reputation with customers and increase your spam placement. In addition, always use “HTTPS” links to secure sites and ensure that any third-party links are not blacklisted.
- HTML Cleanliness: Ensuring that your HTML is clean before clicking “Send” is important because it can affect inbox placement. Spammers try to hide content in URLs, so ISPs often interpret messy email HTML as a red flag and send these emails straight to the “Spam” folder.
- Copyrighted Images: You must have permission to use any images placed within the body of your email. Copyright infringement is monitored by ISPs, filtering companies, data centers, and blacklists, so this is a surefire way to get your email shut down.
- Avoid Spammy Phrases: ISPs scan for certain phrases that are frequently used in spam emails and, even if your intentions are good, using them will likely get your email flagged. Phrases that will trigger ISPs to label you as spam include “free,” “100%,” and “last chance offer,” to name a few.
The Perfect Content and Email Marketing Strategy Can Yield Great Results
Aligning your email and content strategies may be a challenge, but investing time to achieving that goal will yield great results for your organization. When your email content is optimized for deliverability and engagement, it will only help you improve inbox placement, drive conversions, and build solid, long-lasting relationships with your target audience.
To learn more about how you can optimize your email content, check out our eBook Deliverability 101: Your Guide to Developing a Content Strategy to Maximize Email Deliverability, which is also linked below.