A strong approach to forging any relationship is to put yourself in the other person's shoes, and consider things from their perspective. Let's break down your subscribers' experience into their two main choices, and then provide the best practices on guiding them toward the best decisions:
1. Should I read this email, delete it, or add it to junk-mail filter?
- Write a subject line that clearly spells out a benefit to them relevant to their current needs based on any information you have about them. Keep it short - 50 characters or less. Lean toward active voice and action verbs like "Save." Finally, remember to avoid the use of words and punctuation that will label your email as spam by filters - "!!" or "Free" are common examples.
- The top 800 pixels or so of any email are considered "above the fold," a term from the newspaper industry describing the top half of the front page. This is typically the area that appears in the "preview pane" that readers use to glance at an email while deciding if they should read it. Grab them with a strong visual expressing the benefit your campaign offers: if you sell a popular item at a great price, show a beautiful graphic of the item with the price above it. If you're a publisher of recipes and food newsletters, feature a scrumptious looking meal, Remember that some email clients hide graphics by default, so always include the same information in text.
- Include your brand name prominently in the campaign. If you've done your homework and stick to a regular schedule, they'll know your messages are valuable, timely, and take their purchasing behaviors into account when segmenting markets, so they're incented to check out what you have to offer.
2. Should I click on the Call-To-Action?
- Make the Call-To-Action button locatable at a glance: ideally include a colorful, shiny button and provide a redundant text link. Online customers are ready to click away in a moment if they don't find what they're looking for. Don't make them hunt!
- Remind them of your core benefit immediately above the Call-To-Action link. For instance, "To lock in this low price on the season's hottest gift, click here!"
- Don't overload them with choices. Ideally every campaign has a single Call-To-Action. We've seen customers have success with, at most, three. Too many is overwhelming and confusing to the reader.
- Be sure to include 3-6 additional reasons the consumer would be wise to click the Call-To-Action in addition to the primary benefit. These reasons will probably make up the bulk of your campaign content. Avoid listing more than 7 total reasons: the human mind cannot conceptualize more than 7 items without breaking them into sub-groups. Also avoid campaigns that lean so heavily on the primary benefit that you forget to mention a few others - the primary benefit typically provides an emotional attraction, but consumers will feel anxious unless they also have a few rational arguments to bolster their perception that they are also making their choice logically: "I really want this shiny red sports car... and it has great safety ratings and gas mileage, so it's a smart buy!"
Source: Topica's "Online Marketer" Newsletter