Case Study: Extreme Email Makeover
November 5, 2013
One of my clients communicates using more than 30 email campaigns per month. However, the email response rates had been dismal for years.
To understand the client’s strategy, I analyzed 20 sample emails and considered:
- If I received this email, would I even open it?
- Is it clear? Do I understand why I have received it?
- Is it concise? Would I read the entire email?
- Is it compelling? Would I perform its call to action?
My analysis yielded problematic patterns, which I addressed with these suggestions:
- Reach the right audience: Use an accurate, up-to-date email list. The distribution list contained errors, including a website in lieu of an email.
- Use a known sender: Wherever possible, make sure the sender is either an person or organization the audience already knows to increase the recipient’s willingness to open the email.
- Make the subject count: Since the email subject line is your headline, choose short, specific words for clarity.
- Answer ‘What’s in it for me?’: Winning copy stresses the benefits of performing the call to action.
- Let your copy breathe: White space is your friend, so add blank lines between paragraphs for readability. Use short sentences, not dense copy.
- Keep it simple: Sophisticated designs may impress readers; however, if images take too long to load, the recipient may delete the email before reading it.
After implementing these best practices, the client’s reach and engagement improved. Email open rates increased five-fold. Response rates increased by up to 60%. The number of phone calls and emails requesting clarification significantly decreased.
What email best practices do you use?
Lisa Goller is a marketing and communications professional with over 15 years of experience serving B2B, technology and retail companies. She helps businesses tell their story through irresistible content marketing and strategic communications.