When you design an email, it is a good idea to think about how people read their inbox.  Whether it is over their morning cuppa or on their phone waiting at the bus stop, most people follow a similar process. It is how you appeal to them at each stage of that process that will determine the effectiveness of your email marketing.

First impressions matter and if you can peak their curiosity with your first impression you’ll progress to the next stage. First impression is primarily a combination of the from address and subject line.   The from address is how you appear in their inbox, typically your brand or a product  name will work best.  The following as the From name (as opposed to the email address) will be less effective…. admin@, noreply@ etc.  Subject lines may get truncated so keep the main message in the first 35 characters and they should be informative about the message content and peak the readers curiosity.

Once you get over the first hurdle, you message will  get opened if it has peaked the readers curiosity . It is worth noting that generally speaking it will only count in your email metrics as an open if they download pictures or click.  When people open an email, they scan it rather than read it to see if it is of further interest to them.  Using short to medium sized words,  succinct sentences and paragraphs that are no more than a few sentences long will help people scanning the email. If it is a retail email, the main offer should jump out at them (so make sure it’s not hidden in an image without alternative text informing them of the great deal!

If they think it is interesting they will give it more thorough attention and hopefully perform the action you want them to. To help with this you should have a clear goal or 2 for each email. You may have a couple of secondary goals but don’t over complicate things.  The message content should reflect your objectives and be clear, simple and to the point.  Image and text should be used in a balanced way where the images enhance the emails overall objective and drive readers towards the call to action.

After giving the email more thorough attention, your recipients will make the decision as to whether it is relevant to them. If they decide it is then they will perform the required call to action whatever this may be!  When creating call to action links, you should include keywords and be specific not generic, so Download Whitepaper Now instead of Click here. Include several call to action links in the message (and at least one in the bit that will appear in the preview pane).  Finally make sure you are tracking all links so you can analyse the effectiveness of the email.

Finally, next time you sit down to review your inbox pause and think about how you react at each stage and how you would react to your own emails as an independent observer!