By: William Nichols, Founder, Naranja MKTG
Email marketers place a lot of importance on sexy subject lines, and rightfully so—effective subject lines are what drive your subscribers to open your Emails. But great subject lines that lead to mediocre in-Email content are like tabloid gossip column headlines—pure link-bait with lots of flash but little substance. Lots of opens with very few clicks leads to, well, few very clicks; which brings me to my point—don’t overlook your Click Through Rate (CTR) metrics when evaluating the effectiveness of your Email campaigns. Here are the top 5 tactics to increase your CTR and drive more clicks from your Emails—once your killer subject lines have enticed your subscribers to open.
1. Deliver on your Promise—Great copy is absolutely crucial to convincing your subscribers to click, and your initial hook is generally delivered in the form of a promise. Your promise is the “why” element of your message—why should your subscribers bother reading your message and why should they care? But it’s not enough to simply state a promise—you need to deliver on that promise! Achieve this by offering proof, whether social proof or empirical proof like data points, and then drive your promise home by tying in your call to action with your initial promise. For more on delivering “promise” and the rest of the “4 P’s of persuasive writing,” see this overview from the folks at Coppyblogger.
2. See the Big Picture—Don’t be afraid to go big with your Email images. See this killer example below from MrPorter.com—the Email leads with a huge, clear, highly relevant image. The entire image is clickable and drives to a lander—and it’s easy on the eyes, too. And don’t forget, if you go big with images, make sure they’re hi-res! Nothing kills the mood like a pixelated photo.
3. Lots of Hyperlinks—Sure, it’s an old fashioned tactic, and blue underlined text isn’t the prettiest, but for text-heavy Email, it’s tried and true. Metrics show that Emails with more hyperlinked text get more clicks. As web users, we’ve been conditioned to click on blue, underlined text, so the same principle applies to Email. Of course, there is an upper limit to this technique—if you hyperlink entire sentences or paragraphs, you’ll confuse your audience and even risk getting flagged as spam. So be selective, but don’t be afraid to hyperlink highly relevant bits of text throughout your Email copy.
4. Contain One Single Call to Action—This is copywriting 101 stuff, but it’s worth repeating. Your readers or subscribers or potential customers are very busy—be respectful of their time by delivering one, highly-focused call to action. Ask yourself, “what one, single thing do I want my readers to do or take away from this message?” That’s your call to action. Build your Email copy and message around that principle. See this example from Norm Thompson—you can’t miss that “500 WOW Gifts!” CTA in the middle of the message. (As an aside, this Email also features a huge image, adhering to tip #2). As a general rule of thumb, don’t confuse or overwhelm them with multiple CTAs.
5. Dumb it Down for Thumbs—A recent study showed that 64% of decision-makers read their Email via mobile devices (Source: TopRankBlog). Translation—lots of thumbs tapping tiny screens. Simplify your content to optimize for mobile devices. This means:
(Note: There are varying degrees of mobile-friendliness, from mobile aware to fully responsive—if you don’t have the resources to go the whole 9 yards for all campaigns, focus on making your most important campaigns, like your newsletter, mobile aware. Campaign Monitor offers a great primer in responsive email design; it’s a great place to start.)
You can’t get clicks without first enticing your subscribers to open your messages, but you need killer content to drive clicks and engagement—a sexy subject line alone isn’t enough. To increase engagement and drive meaningful clicks, make sure you deliver on your promise, leverage big images where appropriate, don’t shy away from hyperlinks, simplify your message with a single CTA, and optimize for mobile.