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Bonus material: How to increase email open rates [Infographic]

Before I hear screams from every email marketer across the land, let me explain my point.

When I refer to email newsletters, I refer to the company-centric emails that are sent out at a fixed cadence. For example “Oh, it’s the first Wednesday of the month, it’s time to send our company newsletter out — let’s pull together all of our internal company news that nobody cares about and send as usual.”

When I began email marketing over a decade ago, the norm was to gather up your latest news and press releases, paste them into a plain-text-looking email, then hit send – to everyone in your list. No segmentation, no personalisation, not goals or outcomes other than “it’s that time“.

Since those days, email has come a long way. These days it’s far more common for companies to ditch the fixed cadence + company news + entire list approach, and be more driven by content and subscriber. Hooray!

By being content and subscriber driven, you are forced to send only if you have something relevant and valuable to say, whether that be 5 times in a week, or just once in a month.

As companies have seen a real ROI with email, they’ve taken it more seriously and input more resource into the channel. This has attracted some of the brightest minds to move into the email space and major in some of the key disciplines.

Like the following:

Design

Email design has improved greatly. With dedicated boards on Pinterest and showcase websites like Really Good Emails, email-centric design has become an industry in itself.

At MailNinja, we focus on both UX (user experience) and CRO (conversion rate optimisation) for our email design work. In a nutshell, this ultimately means we take a close look at the user (in this case subscriber) and design emails around how this will impact them; how to ensure their interaction with your brand is consistent and relevant, and how to create content that is designed to convert.

Coding (from a designer’s viewpoint)

Email coding is a tricky beast, and there’s been very little HTML development since the 90s. The trick is to work within the parameters of what’s possible and instead focus more on design and aesthetics. To be a great email designer, you need to understand these constraints in order to create email-safe design that works across all major devices and email clients.

At MailNinja we always ensure our designers work closely with our development team to gain a base level knowledge of what’s possible.

Technology

As email coding has remained dormant since the 90s, technology has advanced much more. Email platforms which allow you to connect stores and third party apps to enable action-triggered automated emails are now common place.

Analytics

These days you are able to tap into a wealth of consumer data, then segment and group people by demographics, behaviours and engagement. Email is probably the only marketing channel that allows you to track and analyse this in such a granular way.

So, next time you think about sending an email. Think beyond “it’s that time again“, and instead, here’s what I want you to ask:

  • Why are we sending this email?
  • What’s the goal / outcome?
  • How will we know it’s been successful?
  • Who is this going to, and will they care? = relevance