Paying attention to new email software features will help email newsletter publishers boost click-through rates.
Email newsletters are not like the direct mail campaigns of old. They are based in a volatile environment where spam laws and software capabilities constantly change, and where best practice rules are still undefined. The emerging use of preview panes in email software is the latest change to that environment.
More email programs like Microsoft’s Outlook Express and Mac’s OSX Mail are adopting preview panes that reveal the top portion of emails before they are opened. This increases the number of variables that users base their “open decision” on from two to three. Previously, users would only use subject line and sender address to decide if they should open an email. Now a third variable, preview panes, are an emerging feature that email newsletter designers should be exploiting to their advantage.
Preview panes came up twice in discussion at the Specialized Information Publishers Association Conference on March 27 in Boston. Two email newsletter advocates—Guy Crossley of M. Lee Smith Publishers and Sean Donahue of MarketingSherpa—mentioned that large company logos often crowd preview panes, which is a turn off for users. They would rather see easily digestible and relevant information, like a table of contents.
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So, should email newsletter publishers discard all their designs? No! According to Donahue, simply adding a text TOC and pushing down the same newsletter increased some click through rates by about 10 percent.
Just being conscious of preview panes, however, is not enough to create a successful email newsletter. To learn how to create an effective email newsletter that will maintain a good customer relationship, drive traffic to your website and convert users, read about the Mequoda Email Newsletter Scorecard, equipped with 10 easy to follow guidelines for designing an email newsletter.
For more great email marketing tips, you should also check out Mequoda Daily contributing editor Jeanne Jenning’s new book, The Email Marketing Kit.