Effective Email Tips

Effective Email Tips

How do you ensure that you hit the mark, rather than just becoming noise in​ the recipient’s in-box? There more to​ say about effective Email than we can fit into a​ newsletter, but the tips below are a​ good start.


Like all business programs, before you start an​ email campaign, you must define what you are trying to​ achieve. Be clear about your objectives and track the campaign effectiveness against these at​ every stage. Sophisticated and affordable technology now allows you to​ monitor interest by each click-through so you can target your future mail more accurately.


• Links: if​ you want to​ sell products from your Email, make sure that the links on the Email go direct to​ the product in​ question. Always include links to​ your website categories to​ prompt a​ site visit, in​ case no particular item in​ the Email grabs the recipient’s attention. Make the email work hard for you.

• Delivery: don’t send too late on in​ the afternoon, or​ too early in​ the morning, as​ your message will most likely get lost in​ the tidal wave of​ spam. Provide both HTML and plain text versions, some readers prefer the nicer HTML look while others won’t be able to​ view an​ HTML version due to​ firewalls and filters. Keep the file size to​ a​ minimum, without having to​ sacrifice good design as​ some customers are still on slow dial-up connections.

• Test, test, test: test frequency, format, design, copy style, calls to​ action, subject line approach, offers, content types and personalisation styles, product categories, frequency and more. Begin with a​ simple A/B split and repeat each test a​ few times to​ validate results. Monitor open and response rates for each test.

• Website: your Emails’ effectiveness will still depend on the quality and functionality of​ your website. No matter how good the open rates, it​ is​ your website that converts interested visitors to​ paying customers.

Hook and barb

An Email must have a​ good reason for being sent. Customers are less likely to​ act positively if​ they have to​ spend time working out the point of​ the Email and more likely to​ respond if​ the point is​ clear.

The hook of​ an​ Email is​ the single thought or​ message, expressed clearly and simply, that makes it​ easy for a​ customer to​ understand the point of​ the Email and should be stated in​ the headline and repeated in​ first sentence. as​ well as​ the hook you should also consider a​ barb – something that prevents of​ makes it​ more difficult to​ get off the hook. This might be an​ offer – from extra information to​ a​ price discount, from a​ free trial to​ a​ free gift ……….. and many more.

• Subject line

o Whether or​ not a​ customer opens is​ affected quite a​ bit by the subject. if​ the subject line is​ relevant or​ informative enough, customers are more likely to​ open the Email.

• Headline

o Like the subject, the headline and first sentence of​ the Email should be explicit and include the benefit to​ the customer. if​ the headline and first sentence offers something the reader considers to​ be valuable, they are likely to​ continue.

• Post Script (P.S.)

o The P.S. is​ not an​ essential element but it​ can be an​ effective way to​ highlight a​ particular point.

Headline and follow

Customers decide whether to​ read an​ Email based on the title and headline and start reading from the beginning. These elements and any P.S. get more attention than other sections of​ an​ Email and may be the only elements read at​ all. Recipients read the introduction to​ see if​ it's worth spending more of​ their time and tend to​ pay less and less attention to​ what is​ written as​ they scan more quickly through the rest of​ the Email.

To make sure customers read the most relevant information, put the most important information (the hook) at​ the top, followed by the most important supporting information (the barb).

To promote the chance of​ more detailed reading use sub headings and visuals to​ illustrate the later paragraphs. It's important to​ make it​ easy for customers to​ scan the Email so use dashes or​ bullets to​ express lists of​ ideas.

Tone of​ voice

Using the right tone of​ voice for your audience is​ important. It's important not to​ be too formal nor to​ familiar. The right tone for an​ Email varies, depending on the customer being mailed and the topic of​ the Email. (e.g. an​ Email apologizing to​ a​ customer for poor service should be more formal than the weekly newsletter.)

Keeping focused is​ important - each word and each sentence must provide valuable information and have something to​ do with the hook or​ barb.

Avoid excessive use of​ ALL CAPS, ****, !!! and ?

It is​ tempting to​ use these techniques for emphasis or​ urgency but overuse is​ ineffective.

White space

Whitespace or​ the ‘space between’ is​ as​ important as​ the text in​ effectively communicating an​ idea or​ message. The eye can comfortably take in​ a​ limited amount of​ text at​ a​ glance, particularly on a​ computer screen. Cushioning the text with space helps readers scan the text more easily. Mirror design elements from your website in​ your Emails.

Always offer an​ option to​ unsubscribe

Always offer the option to​ unsubscribe. as​ a​ convention, recipients can now typically expect to​ see unsubscribe instruction as​ the last item at​ the bottom of​ the Email.

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