How to make killer emails to promote your business
3. Design your emails for delivery
But it’s not only the position of your opt-out link that’s important. Platform agnosticism is key, just as it is when designing for the web. It’s getting more difficult to accurately predict which device your recipients will use to read your dispatch and, increasingly, you need to be thinking small first, before building up to full-blown computers.
The only way to gauge the desktop/mobile split within your audience is to examine your stats, but when just starting out, it’s useful to examine global trends. Email marketing giant Adestra tracks the devices on which emails sent through its system are opened, and in 2015 it saw a consistent shift away from the desktop towards the mobile workspace.
By the end of 2015, iPhone and iPad alone accounted for 48.9% of all opens (up from 37.8% in January 2015), while bundling in Android devices increased the mobile response rate to 57.3% – by far the majority, and a group you can’t afford to ignore. There was more bad news for anyone targeting desktop clients, which saw an overall decline of around 10% for the year. Webmail services Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, Windows Live Mail and AOL captured 21% between them.
And Outlook? Only 16.7% of all emails sent through Adestra were opened using the business behemoth. This is a trend that Kevin Mandeville, from email marketing analytics firm Litmus, predicts will continue over the next year, so that by the end of 2016 Outlook will polling less than 5%. “Businesses will continue to shift away from expensive desktop suites like Microsoft Office toward more scalable services like Google Apps and Outlook 365.”
The trend towards wearables has other implications, making it more important than ever to include plain-text alternatives to the HTML view in every email you send. Without them, Apple Watch pushes your message almost entirely below the bezel to warn that the device can’t properly render the content.
“As a marketer using email, you need to be always thinking of the context of how your audience is consuming your email,” said AWeber’s Harbison, whose advice is always to “begin with the end in mind” when setting up a campaign. “[Context] influences design, which has to be front and centre. When you start to think about other ways that email can be consumed outside of mobile, such as wearables and the form they take, it’s less about images and more about snippets of copy that make sense and are more relevant.”
4. Use email as part of the marketing mix
Unless you already have a strong brand, your email has to work very hard to be opened. Mailjet calculates a “good” open rate to be between 15% and 25% for a marketing email and 30% and 40% for a transactional email (the latter being an order or account confirmation for example). So, always consider at least half of your potential audience to be missing your message, and formulate a strategy that enables you to reach them in other ways.