For the best results, you have to ensure that your email (regardless of content) is a near-as-perfect balance of white space, images, text and links. As a basic rule, your emails also have to look and sound professional, which is quite a difficult feat to achieve if you’re not sure how. That’s why this article will feature the most common mistakes that people make when sending emails, and how you can avoid making them too.
Mistake: Using too many images and too little content
Finding the perfect balance of images and text is key to the success of your email campaign. Email marketers who use templates full of images (big or small) are more likely to see their emails getting directed to spam. Whilst highly visual emails may be aesthetically pleasing for your audience, email clients are designed to filter out spam emails, which tend to be light on text and heavy on images. Not to mention, images that are too large or are poorly aligned can make the email look unprofessional and create a bad first impression of your business.
- Shrink your image size to create an even balance between text, links and images, this will ensure the text in the email isn’t overwhelmed. Your newsletter shouldn’t look like a landing page.
- Use thumbnail images where necessary.
- ALWAYS use text in your emails. Emails that are one big image file, such as infographics, almost always get filtered as spam.
Mistake: Not including a preview pane
Preview panes have become more and more important over recent years. Previously, if you sent a longer newsletter your recipient would have to view the whole email at once in their inbox. However, thanks to preview panes, email recipients are now able to view a small snippet of your email before opening it. These panes are used by many popular email clients like Outlook. As they allow your recipient to get an idea of the content in your email without viewing it in its entirety, your opening lines have to be strong.
- Place your call to action or most important sales pitch at the top of your email, to entice your recipient to view the whole thing.
- Consider logo placement. Logos placed on the left side of the email will be visible while not interfering with your written content.
- Consider email width. Most preview panes will restrict how much of your content is visible in terms of width. Ensure the width of your email does not exceed 600 pixels.
- Consider a text link at the top of your email. If the text is tempting enough, customers will follow through to the full web-based version of your email.
Mistake: Using text URLs and dead links
Many email marketers draft their emails based on the assumption that the links and images included in their emails still work. Send a test email to check your email layout every time, to ensure that each link looks correct and directs the recipient appropriately. If a potential client received an email from you and half the links were broken, they may wonder what else is broken at your business!
- Keep your links looking professional. Never use text URLs which display the entire web address in the body of your email. They look messy and amateurish, and increase the chances of your email being blocked by email clients. Instead, add a hyperlink into a regular line of text.
- Make sure your text can stand on its own without the images. Many recipients of your email campaign will view your email on their mobile apps. These apps frequently have technical problems and fail to display images, so the text in your email has to speak for itself.
Mistake: Using complex coding and attachments
- Keep coding simple. Stick to HTML and CSS, which are more than powerful enough for you to make good-looking templates.
- If you’re sending an email to a new subscriber, don’t send attachments regularly in your emails if you want to reduce the risk of your email campaigns getting blocked by email clients. If you need for room for extended content, put a link in your email that directs the reader to a landing page of your website where you can feature the necessary information.
Mistake: Not testing on different email services
Testing an email through one email client won’t give you a clear view of how it will look to all of your recipients. An email received by an old-school AOL user may look vastly different to an email on Gmail or Outlook, for example.
- Send multiple test emails before launching the campaign. Make sure to include the most popular email clients including Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail and Apple Mail. Make sure you also view your email on multiple devices (PC, iPhone and Android, if possible). To thoroughly test your email, click on each link and image in the emails when they arrive, and always enable images when testing.
- Accept that your email will look different in different email clients thanks to coding issues. Certain superfluous issues or stylistic differences can be overlooked. However, issues that you must address are images that show up in some email clients but not others and emails that get filtered to spam folders.
Mistake: Not putting enough effort into personalisation
Your customers will appreciate being addressed personally, even if only by a first name. It’s worth investing time and money into personalising your emails, so you’re not addressing recipients as “Sir or Madam” or “dear customer”. Along the same lines, try not to make it obvious that the bulk of your email is copied and pasted. If the personalised parts of the email are a different font or colour to the rest of it, for example, it won’t look professional. It’s so easy to get personalisation wrong.
Think of the last time you got an email from Amazon; they love to recommend products based on your actual browsing history, and make sure to include your name at least a few times. So, even though we all know deep down that it’s not Jeff Bezos himself emailing us, we feel more valued as an individual customer because of the effort they put in.
- Make use of all of your available customer data: name, gender, purchase history, birthday (send them a coupon as a present!) to make them feel valued.
- Format your emails correctly so that the font and text colour is consistent throughout, so that the personalised parts don’t stand out.
And with that, we’ve come to the last of our top tips: never, never, ever stop testing! Everything we’ve listed above is good advice to follow, but ultimately, there’s nobody that knows what your customers like better than your customers themselves. So when you’re sending out a fresh new email template, make sure to test it against what you already have, as well as any alternatives you’d like to test to. Pick what your customers respond to and engage with, and you can’t go wrong!