With timelines and approvals needed for every marketing email that goes out, it’s sometimes challenging to take a step back to devise ways to generate new growth. Rather than dreaming up a whole new creative strategy, focus on the small changes you can make to improve your clickthrough rate. By paying close attention to details, you can learn a lot about what works — and what doesn’t work — for your subscribers and customers.
Photo: New growth 15 by flickr member Greg Wagoner
Ready to start making things better? Here are our favourite tactics for improving newsletter clickthrough rates. You’re welcome.
1. Make a testing plan and stick to it
You already know that we are strong advocates of testing. Whether you’re testing small variations in your email creative or previewing your email on different screens and clients, stepping up your clickthrough game requires patient tweaking and observation. And conducting lots and lots of tests.
Start with a hypothesis. Develop and test small variations on your email creative and very, very carefully track the results. Before implementing any testing plan, make sure your analytics are up to the task. Are you tracking all referred conversions? Are you accurately reporting the sales value of each marketing email? We sure hope so.
2. Start strong
Users are easily distracted. Who knows how many of your subscribers opened your email, saw something shiny, and fluttered away? It is crucial to structure your email content to capture these users’ attention up front and get them to do one thing — click — before that shiny distraction comes along. Or better yet, find a way to be that shiny distraction.
Focus your email around one core conversion goal. Show users right away what you want them to do, and front load your tagline and product benefits so users understand at a glance what they’re being asked to do. Let that top-of-email content lead subscribers to your call to action, which, in case you haven’t figured it out, should be unapologetically high on the page.
Better yet, find a way to be that shiny distraction.
3. Resize responsively. And be the right size.
After all the effort you put into crafting your campaigns, you want your email — and landing page — to be 100% responsive to ensure it appears exactly as it should on devices of all shapes and sizes. Test and preview on every device and email client you can get your hands on. And if your current template is not responsive to every device and screen size, it should be your short term priority to make that template responsive… or choose a new one.
Make sure the width and height of your email template is the optimal size for all email client preview windows. In 2016, emails should (still) be 600 pixels wide at most so that they appear exactly as you want them to every time on desktops.
4. Make it all about them, not you.
If someone has been inspired enough to click on your subject line, you want to reward their behaviour with content that is short, sweet and punchy. Make it about them, with copy that is you-facing (not “Huge selection of shoes”, but “All your favourite brands”).
While you’re at it, focus on how your product or service will benefit your subscriber, rather than simply describing its features. There are a dozen crafty ways to flip a feature into a benefit. For example, instead of writing “1 terabyte of data”, write “With 1 terabyte, you have enough storage for everything.”
And be patient.
Even if you decide to completely redesign your email template, begin by testing two iterations. Change a color. Change a tagline. Try out different tones. Just keep it going until you find that mix of elements that inspires your subscribers to engage and click.
Easy does it. Don’t think of your newsletter as a series of standalone emails, but instead as an iterative work in progress. By fine tuning and testing with each send, you will learn what works for your particular flavor of subscriber.
What did you learn from fine tuning and testing your email content? I’m sure it wasn’t always what you expected. Share your stories, and maybe we’ll share one of ours…