Our last blog discussed forming email strategy goals and a target audience. Here, we’ll re-visit 5 of our best practices from 2014, because the same ideas ring true today: (1) strategic subject lines, (2) avoiding spam filters, (3) calls-to-action, (4) mobile-optimizing, and (5) personalization. We’ve ramped it up with some current stats and facts.

Use Strategic Subject Line Keywords

To start, subject lines are the first thing customers see, so if you want a customer to open your email, it’s important to carefully craft a good subject. Focusing on subject line keywords, we take a look at how 6 common keywords perform:

  1. “You” – opened 5% less than those without
  2. “Free” – opened 10% more than those without
  3. “Quick” – opened 17% less
  4. “Tomorrow” – opened 10% more
  5. “Meeting” – opened 7% less
  6. “FW” – opened 17% less

Some other interesting facts about subject lines:

  • 33% decide on whether or not to open an email by the subject alone.
  • Personalized subject lines are 2% more likely to be opened.
  • Subject lines that appear urgent or exclusive are opened 22% more.
  • Subject lines with a character count under 15 are opened the most;
  • But subject lines with 28-39 characters maximizes your click-rate.
  • Subject lines regarding discounts have a 52% open rate.
  • Emails sent specific to the brand sending them, had an average 39% open rate.

Avoid Spam Filters

Back in 2014, we discussed that email platforms use point systems to determine which emails end up in spam. The same idea is recommended today. When writing emails, it may be a good idea to avoid including the following flags in your content:

  • Talks about money (.193 points)
  • Talks about breakthrough (.232 points)
  • Mortgage sales pitches (.297 points)
  • Talks about an ‘urgent’ matter (.288 points)
  • Says the words ‘Money Back Guarantee’ (2.051 points)

Spam scores are on a score from 1-10. Accordingly, try to have a score no higher than 3.5-5, but the lower the score, the better.

If you’re looking for particular words or phrases to avoid, the following sites offer extensive lists:

Create a Call-to-Action (CTA)

Our previous advice on CTA’s remains true. Focus on the following 3 ideas when deciding how to present your CTA:

  • Location: There is an average 17% increase in conversions for CTA’s that are placed on the bottom of an email, rather than the top or middle.
  • Design: Just like social media and general websites, blue does best, according to Google. It increases conversions by 20-30%.
  • Timing: 6am has a 9% higher conversion rate than any other time during the day.

Focus on Mobile

63% of emails will be deleted immediately if they are not mobile-optimized. With the increased use of smartphones, more and more consumers are using mobile for routine tasks, like opening email. If your email isn’t optimized, many readers will not view it.

Keep it Personal

Personalization can be as simple as using the customer’s name or demographics to something more targeted – identifying the users personal interests or preferences. Mass, generic emails are quickly losing the interest of consumers. They don’t want to receive the same message as everyone else. So creating different forms of emails for different types of customers acts as a better way to gain attention. Trigger emails (emails triggered by a certain action) are one great way to personalize, and despite making up only 2.6% of all emails, these types of emails earn 20% of total email revenue.

Email is Tried and True

Email is one of the few forms of digital marketing that becomes outdated less frequently. While writing this article, we found that much of what we stated back in 2014 could still effectively be applied today. Remember to avoid the spam folder, grab the reader’s attention, personalize, use a CTA, and mobile-optimize. Keeping these best practices in mind will ensure email marketing success.