Four E-mail Opportunities You Could Be Missing
Few direct marketing channels are as challenging to navigate as e-mail, with its awkward dance between marketers, e-mail service providers (ESPs), ISPs, corporate IT departments and end-users. Your success is based on an ever-changing list of best practices that boil down to one overarching principle: Do everything possible to ensure your e-mail will not be detested by anyone in the receiving audience. Since, of course, campaign execution is far more complicated than this, let’s try to pin down a few of the best practices that current research shows are vital to reaching your e-mail marketing goals.
Anne Holland, president and founder of MarketingSherpa, a Warren, R.I.-based research firm that publishes case studies, survey findings and other information on successful marketing strategies in both online and offline channels, shared with Target Marketing her observations on the top four opportunities marketers are overlooking in their e-mail marketing programs.
Missed opportunity #1: Make sure your message is visible to recipients.
This sounds obvious: If people can’t see your e-mail message, they can’t respond. Holland points out that the vast majority of marketers never review what their e-mail creative looks like in Outlook with the images blocked—especially when it’s viewed in the horizontal preview pane. Of the roughly 60 percent of business people who use preview panes, she explains, the majority opt for the horizontal preview. What’s more, of the consumers who have e-mail software that allows them to use a preview pane, more than 30 percent use this feature. Finally, regardless of whether consumers use a preview pane or not, about half use e-mail clients that block images, Holland adds.
The solution is to design your e-mail layout so that if images are blocked, what the recipient sees still looks good. Holland says, “If the very top portion of your e-mail is all images, then nothing shows up in the preview pane.” Instead, intersperse text and images so that the copy is still visible and compelling enough to drive recipients to click through to your Web site.