The first step to enhancing deliverability, however, is not centered on newsletters themselves, but rather the websites to which they lead.
“You always want to be emailing people who want (and expect) to hear from you. This means not buying lists – ever,” said Ginny Soskey, editor of HubSpot content. “Instead, you should create awesome content on your website, and offer people the chance to hand over their email to hear from you more often.”
A well-designed website also offers subscribers the chance to interact and potentially spend money on company services.
“Fix your base first,” said Sam Insalaco, digital marketing specialist and owner of theBrewRoom, LLC. “The website that you drive people to is your online storefront, so you’ll want to have that fixed and ready when you send an email.”
Once these preliminary actions are taken, it’s important to set up the email in ways that are user-friendly, keeping in mind that about 50 per cent of all emails are opened on a mobile device.
Layout and design tips from Insalaco and Webdesigner Depot include:
• Be clear about who the sender is and what the message entails, preferably as close to the top of the email as possible and within the mobile “preview” box. Oftentimes readers only open an email if they know how it will specifically benefit them.
• Follow a consistent template that features links in contrasting colors and large print, incentivizing subscribers to click on them.
• Emails should be in text format, as some subscribers can’t receive HTML, but should include images as well as written content. “Several clients will give me a pdf and ask me to send it out, but you never want to just send out a pdf or flat image. I always say, send me other text and images to be included, and we’ll work on that,” said Insalaco.
• Break up text into chunks of writing that can be easily scanned, with the most pertinent information in large or bold font.
• Properly test emails to ensure that they appear as they should on computers, tablets, and smartphones. In addition to ensuring that content is optimized for each device, specialists also recommend experimenting with different formats, subject lines, and newsletter copy to determine which practices are best received by an organization’s particular audience.
“My advice is to keep it short and simple. Nobody wants long, drawn out emails without visuals, just like they wouldn’t want that when they read website pages,” said Insalaco. “Keep information in emails short, concise, clear, and attractive, which will lead users to click on that message to go to your website and learn more.”
On average, companies now credit 23 per cent of their total sales to email marketing, according to Econsultancy’s 2014 Email Marketing Industry Census. This showcases the importance of delivering emails to the right inboxes, and making sure subscribers actively open them.