Optimize your snippet text. You would never leave your subject line to chance, or be careless with your sender name. However, most marketers don’t fully optimize their snippet text, the sometimes third element of envelope content along with your sender name and subject line. It’s like a second subject line since it appears after the subject line in the inbox view of many email clients like the native iPhone email app, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail.
Recent research on snippet text found that only 47% of B2C brands fully optimized their snippet text so that it works hand-in-hand with their subject lines. Forty-one percent didn’t optimize their snippet text at all, allowing URL gibberish and administrative preheader text to appear; and another 13% poorly optimized it by using static text, including brand name and tagline.
By using visible or invisible preheader text, it’s easy to optimize your snippet text and make your emails more compelling to open and engage with.
Implement predictive intelligence for personalized recommendations. While not low-effort in all cases, this idea is high-return in most cases, so the effort-to-reward ratio is very favorable. This is a great way to harness the big data of customer behavior on both the individual and aggregate level, turning it into product, content, and other recommendations.
Adding PI-powered recommendations to broadcast emails makes them less “one size fits all.” But this tool really shines in triggered and transactional emails, which are already one-to-one in nature.
Add defensive design elements to your email templates. Even though Gmail now enables images by default, image-blocking is still quite prevalent. Using HTML text where you can, instead of imbedding text in an image, is wise because it allows you to communicate your message even when images are blocked.
In particular, consider replacing your graphical buttons with “bulletproof buttons,” where HTML text is floated grid cells with background colors.
Test special characters in your subject lines. A little gimmicky? Maybe. Silly? Some executions are definitely more thoughtful than others.
But whether you’re talking about blog posts or just about anything else in the marketing realm, adding an image generally makes it more effective. Special characters are the images of subject lines. If you haven’t A/B tested them yet, give it a try.
Expand your A/B testing beyond subject lines. ESPs have made it super-easy to test subject lines, and as a consequence they are the most tested email element. However, it’s also pretty simple to test other elements of your emails. Try testing different hero images, copy, and calls-to-action.
Selectively remarket to non-openers. Sending more email to the right subscribers is a proven winning tactic. Resending an email — with a new subject line — to active subscribers who didn’t open it the first time can be an easy way to increase email revenue.
Just be sure to monitor your negative metrics to ensure that you’re not overdoing it and irritating your subscribers with the additional emails.
Add the opt-down option to your unsubscribe page or preference center. “You send me too many emails” is consistently one of the top two reasons that people unsubscribe (along with “your emails aren’t relevant to me”). You can significantly increase retention by allowing subscribers to select to receive emails at a lower frequency. Higher retention equals less list churn equals a larger, more engaged list.
Re-permission your chronically inactive subscribers. No marketer wants to see their list size shrink, but keeping chronically inactive subscribers on your list represents an increasing risk to your deliverability. Send a series of three re-permission emails to your subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked an email in the last 25 months, and remove those who don’t reaffirm their permission.
I consider 25 months of inactivity to be the outer bounds of what’s potentially safe for the average-volume sender, so that’s a good place to start. Re-permission at that threshold, monitor the impact on deliverability and revenue, and then narrow the threshold further if the results are favorable. Repeat until satisfied.
For the vast majority of high-volume senders, 25 months will be well past the danger point. Many of these senders find that inactivity in excess of 13, nine or six months, or even less, result in depressed deliverability.
Take inventory of and review your triggered emails. It’s easy to lose track of your triggered email programs, but it’s important to review them regularly not only for optimization purposes, but for quality assurance reasons as well. Triggered email programs have the unfortunate reputation for being “set and forget,” when they’re really “review and renew” programs.
The turn of the calendar is a great time to chase down all your triggered emails, take inventory, note the last time they were updated, and look for opportunities to improve them. For instance
After you’ve taken inventory and assessed your opportunities, plan on doing this every three to six months. Triggered emails programs are incredibly productive and deserve regular attention.Add these low-hanging fruit opportunities to your list of email marketing New Year’s resolutions to ensure that your email program gets off to a strong start in 2015.