Are there truly any best practices for email anymore? The answer is yes, but are they the same list of rules from years past? No, the list along with consumers has changed. In the age of automations, animations and ridiculously personalized journeys, the age old email best practices have changed, evolved and in some cases have been flipped on their heads.
For example, the standard “Important Info Belongs Above the Fold” rule no longer applies, as consumers have adapted to the need to scroll (which has become nothing more than a flick of the thumb on mobile). Look around in any public place and all you see are consumers scrolling on their devices. If you build a message that incentivizes a user to scroll, they will generally do just that. We say, give them a reason to break this rule. We would even suggest a step further in breaking this rule: train your audience to scroll to the good stuff. You will be amazed at what you can position at the bottom of your emails.
Then there’s the rule that says “You Must Have a CTA and Button” so your audience knows what to do. This rule has evolved as consumers have evolved into educated shoppers. Do you shop, scroll and click intuitively through your emails or do you wait for instructions? Consumers click on indirect CTAs all day. In fact, they have been trained into this behavior since the first day they got online. If the product imagery, brand story or service offering is clear and well designed, audiences will take action. If there is a situation where the action you want needs to be highlighted, use the CTA and button as part of the conversation. Try, “Yes! Sign me up” instead of “Sign Up Here”.
So what is the single most important thing that actually should be on the list of best practices? Be relevant. Seriously.
Don’t send emails just to check the regular communications box. All too often we stick to our schedules, once a week, every Monday or that third Friday of the month because that’s the way it’s always been done. That’s your schedule so you stick to it – but it’s a mistake
Instead, let your messages, goals or incentives dictate your schedule. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the customer at the other end of that email… are they receiving something that matters? If the answer is not a resounding yes, then you have an opportunity for improvement.
Make a choice:
- Improve the message
- Change the goal
- Scrap it
Just make sure to be relevant. Your audience will thank you by viewing, clicking and staying more engaged long-term as well. Next time you plan out a new email, ask the question, “Is this message relevant?”