10 Best Practices for success
With email being one of the most effective ways of marketing our products, it’s always a good time to review Best Practice email marketing templates. And while I admit this kind of cut-and-dried work isn’t as much fun for us writers, it’s still necessary to good marketing!
So contain your impatience and read on. (There is one tidbit of actual writing advice tucked away below!)
There are three main types of email marketing templates: single-topic newsletters, multi-topic email newsletters, and strictly promotion emails. Here at Mequoda, we send out five newsletters per week – four single-topic newsletters plus a multi-topic week in review – plus two promotional emails that we call “spotlights.”
Single-topic email marketing templates
Naturally, many of our clients do the same. And since no one wants to have to reinvent the wheel – or the email – regularly, let’s talk about Best Practices for email marketing templates, starting with the ones sent most frequently, the single-topic email newsletter.
Single-topic email marketing templates Tip #1
The best email marketing templates in this category are well aligned. Subject line, headline, body copy and advertising focus on one topic, which makes the email easy to understand and comfortable to engage with.
Some marketers advise us to make the subject line and the headline the same to avoid confusion. Sometimes, though, when I have several different great ways of saying the same thing, or adding a smidge more information to the headline because it doesn’t carry the character restrictions that subject lines do, I’ll make them different – as long as they’re still similar. Some folks who were compelled by your sparkling subject line to open the email might lose interest if the headline is exactly the same: Why not give those recipients the push they need to keep reading?
Single-topic email marketing templates Tip #2
If possible, try to run the entire article in the email. Users don’t want to have to find the rest of it somewhere else and are less likely, not more, to click through to your site. The goal is to drive them to a landing page on your site where you can convert them to buyers, not to the rest of the article.
Single-topic email marketing templates Tip #3
If you’re running ads in your newsletter, make them relevant and promote just one product. One sponsor per topic is less off-putting to readers, and you can keep your advertiser happy by running multiple ads in slightly different formats, at the top, bottom and right rail of your email marketing template.
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Multi-topic email marketing templates
If you want to send out a Week in Review email, or are aiming for higher page views to sell advertising instead of trying to sell your own products, you need a multi-topic email marketing template. This version relies on curiosity to get readers to click for the rest of the article: It’s tricky, but not impossible to execute if you have truly compelling copy and your content creators know how to write a good article. That leads us to …
Multi-topic email marketing templates Tip #1
Make sure your article snippets convey information and make the reader want more! The key to this is not burying the lead, but also avoiding an uninteresting, completely factual first paragraph. Your online editor should know how to take even the driest content and make it sizzle:
Quantum Microscope for Living Biology
Feb. 4, 2013 — A team of Australian scientists has developed a powerful microscope using the laws of quantum mechanics to probe the inner workings of living cells.
Good, using interesting material buried in the fourth and fifth paragraphs:
Quantum Microscope Sees the Invisible
Feb. 4, 2013 — Has science discovered a way to see invisible particles in our cells? A new microscope could allow biologists to see things only guessed at until now – and potentially discover new cures for diseases that have been thought incurable.
Multi-topic email marketing templates Tip #2
Include sponsored content. If you have sponsored job listings, forums or other parts of your website, include them in your email marketing template in your side navigation. This will increase sponsored clicks and interest in the rest of the content on your website.
Multi-topic email marketing templates Tip #3
Segment by interest. If you have dozens of categories and publish new articles frequently, split your email newsletters by topic. This will increase advertiser and subscriber interest by only showcasing relevant information and ads.
Promotional email marketing templates
You should be sending regular promotional emails to drive traffic to your (well-optimized!) landing pages, so you’ll also need one of these email marketing templates. Mequoda sends two per week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, promoting our events. If you’re ad-driven, you’ll want to send out “sponsored product” email for third parties, such as a review. This generates revenue for you and provides your users with a valuable service.
Promotional email marketing templates Tip #1
Promote only one product to avoid confusion and distraction. It almost never pays off to try to squeeze more cash out of a single email by offering multiple products.
Promotional email marketing templates Tip #2
It’s still about you. Even if you’re promoting someone else’s product or are sending out a sponsored promotion, leverage your look and feel in your email marketing templates to inspire trust. You’re the company whose emails your audience has opted into, not the third party.
Promotional email marketing templates Tip #3
Stick with text. Unless your promotion truly requires graphics, text-based email marketing templates still work best for promotions. If it does require graphics, make sure to include alt-tags, which include a description of the graphic for any email clients that have images disabled.
Promotional email marketing templates Tip #4
Never tell them to “click here!” Action-based links such as “order now” or “register today” have a much higher conversion rate.
No matter which email marketing templates you’re using, remember to ask your readers to add you to their email address book to avoid spam filters. Also, be sure to include the following:
- A mechanism to allow readers to unsubscribe. It’s also a good practice to have these links in your header to deter users from hitting the misleading “junk” button on their email client.
- A link to a subscription management page where subscribers can update their email address or change their preferences.
- A U.S. Postal Service address for your company to add credibility.
- A copyright notice to protect your intellectual property from those who might take it as their own.
There’s more to email marketing templates, particularly in regard to designing for desktop vs. mobile, but I’ll let my colleague Aimee Graeber explain that in her post, 25 Email Design Best Practices for Mobile + Desktop You’ll Want to Know in 2013.
What kind of email marketing templates, do you use? I can always use good ideas to write about on Tuesdays, so don’t hesitate to share you best email marketing templates in the comments!