It’s hard to escape the reach of email. We all know the feeling of dread that comes with opening your inbox on a Monday morning. We all know the notification “badge of shame” that tells us how many unread emails lie in wait on our phone. Did you know that the average American office worker receives 121 emails per day.

121. Per. Day.

So as a marketer, how do you make sure your emails don’t end up another victim of the unread abyss? You’ve got to think like your audience: people who are more than likely already inundated with email. If you design and build the foundations of your emails around what they appreciate—including content that they signed up to receive, for starters—you’ll start heading down the path to improved statistics across the board.

In addition to an audience-centric focus, you’ve got to avoid common pitfalls that plague so many emails. Remedying these mistakes will produce both quick and effectual changes to keep your user experience enjoyable and technically sound. Here are six to get you started:

1. Don’t Forget to Prune Your Mailing List

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider for any email send is whether or not your audience still wants to receive your emails. If you’re not regularly examining your list for signs of attrition or unresponsiveness, you could be in danger of damaging your reputation as a sender. Sorting emails based on Open Rates and Click-Through Rates is a good place to start. For example, if someone hasn’t opened or clicked on any of your emails in the last six months, it might be time to cut them loose.

2. Don’t Use a Generic CTA

Your email’s call-to-action has just one simple purpose: to produce an action. With that semi-obvious statement in mind, why do we so often use generic and unimaginative CTAs like “Click Here” or “Get More Info”?

Try making your CTA specific to the action you’re hoping for. If you’re promoting a new eBook, how about using “Download Our Latest eBook”? Or, if you’re looking to promote a new item in your product catalog, try “Explore Our Latest Innovation.”

You need something that will stand out and pique someone’s interest, like telling them what they’ll actually be getting when they “click here” so you can catch them while they’re skimming through your email.

3. Don’t Use a Generic “From” Address

Outside of the subject line, the “From Address” is the only other tool you have to engineer a good Open Rate. It’s arguably the first thing anyone sees when your email finally appears in their inbox—so why would you send email from a generic, faceless address?

Think of it this way: Would you rather open an email from Sales@CompanyName.com or John@CompanyName.com? Being able to match a real person to the email goes a long way towards building trust with your audience.

4. Don’t Embed a Video Directly in Your Email

While some email campaign platforms now allow for embedded videos, it’s not a guarantee that your audience’s email providers will. Consider the damage to your brand when recipients are unable to view that video or, worse yet, just see a broken image inside the email.

Until video embedding becomes accepted across all email providers, it’s probably best to play it safe. We recommend taking a captivating screen grab from your video and overlaying a play button to indicate that you’re providing video content. The image would still link to an external source like Vimeo, YouTube, or the embedded video on your website, but the expectation of video content would be made clear.

5. Don’t Use Full-Size, Hi-Res Images

According to a recent study by Litmus, mobile devices account for 54% of all email opens. As mobile increasingly becomes the standard by which people consume email, it is imperative to keep your images small enough to not hinder load times. Since the email will most likely be viewed on a 2” wide screen, you’ll want to limit images to within 500-700 pixels in size. Make sure you’ve scaled down your images so that your email opens all at once—don’t waste precious seconds on loading high-resolution images on a tiny mobile screen.

6. Don’t Forget to Preview Your Email on a Mobile Device

Similar to point number four, how your email appears on a mobile device is crucial. Emails are often designed in desktop clients like MailChimp or Constant Contact, but how they show up on a mobile device is increasingly important. These websites will often provide a method of previewing the template within a “mobile” view window, but if you can also send yourself a test email and open it on your device, all the better. Here are some things to check:

  • Are images loading in an appropriate timeframe?
  • Is there any overlapping text?
  • Do important words in your subject line get cut out?
  • How far does someone have to scroll before they see your CTA?

We hope these simple, quick fixes will help get those Open Rates and Click-Throughs back up where you need them to be. If you’d like to discuss revamping your email marketing campaigns from the ground-up, we’re all ears!

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