Email Marketing is Like a First Date

Education & Training

Email marketing is a bit like a first date. You have about two seconds to capture your audience's attention, so your pick-up line better be on-point and your intentions have to be crystal-clear. Having seen my fair share of bad emails (and bad dates), here's my two cents on how to make your email stand out from all the other fish in the sea.

Call to Action
A good call to action will make two things obvious:
   1. What the reader will get out of it
   2. When it needs to be completed by

Who is your audience? Not every email needs to go to your entire distribution list. If you overload people with promotional messages, they are more likely to unsubscribe. Instead, create lists to send readers targeted information that shows you're listening to their needs.

Remember the phrase 'Above the Fold'
Considering 85% of people who open your email won't actually read it (sorry to bust your bubble, but 'open rate' is just fluff. Check out your 'click thru rate' instead!), your main call to action needs to be visible as soon as the reader opens the email. Don't force people to scroll down!

Subject Line
The shorter, the better. Try for 38-47 characters (5-8 words) or less. Good subject lines include:
   - Catchy questions
   - Numbers
Bad subject lines include:
   - All caps (hello, spam)
   - Excessive symbols / punctuation
   - Something misleading. Sure, you want to capture their attention, but don't lose their trust.

   - In the text body, use a sans serif font for better readability and a more professional appearance.
   - Don't use more than two fonts in one email - it will look cluttered, and your call to action will get lost.
   - Header text should be 22pt
   - Body text should be 11pt

   - Stick to just 2-3 colors in your email (excluding black & white).
   - Match these colors to your branding. Use a hexadecimal value tool (Color Cop or Pipette 4) to capture the exact colors of your company website and use these same colors in your email.

Make your header 150 pixels tall.

Make all images (including logo) clickable.

   - When including a link, it's not necessary to say 'click here.' In fact, stats show that click thru rates actually go down if you use the word 'click.' Choose a verb or other keyword to hyperlink instead and avoid being redundant.
   - Brand the hyperlink color to match the rest of your email. You'll be amazed at how much cleaner this makes the whole message appear.

Include Social Buttons
Don't even think about forgetting these little guys!

Which of these tips are you already practicing? Are there any you disagree with? I want to hear your thoughts!


Comments (6)

Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Alicia - this is a comprehensive list.  There are some things that I can change in my emails.  Thanks, I will use the information

Feb 11, 2014 10:18 AM
Dagny Eason
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo

Alicia - Great tips!   Thanks for the nudge - I keep procrastinating on doing what I know I should do!   Change the color of my emails ... 

Mar 15, 2014 03:05 AM
Alicia Clarke
Seattle, WA
Putting the Social in Marketing

Dagny - It's a small thing but it makes a huge difference! Branding your emails to match your website = solid gold ;)

Mar 17, 2014 02:43 AM
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Great post Alicia! I'm going to reblog. This is valuable information for our members!

Mar 25, 2014 04:21 AM
Alicia Clarke
Seattle, WA
Putting the Social in Marketing

Donna - Thanks for your kind words! I'm happp to be able to share some valuable tips with a community that does so much for me.

Mar 25, 2014 04:40 AM
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor


Very informative post. Just like a first only has a few seconds to make that first impression. Going to reblog.

Mar 31, 2014 05:22 AM