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When producing an effective marketing campaign with emails, marketers, advertisers, and sales representatives often focus too much on the click-through rate. While CTR is an important metric, it is not the end-all-be-all to evaluating your email campaign’s success.

Think of your email as a series of events leading to one another. Before you get someone to click-through to your website, there are two additional steps the reader needs to take. First, you need to grab their attention and entice them to open your email. Secondly, the recipient needs to actively read and engage with the email. If you achieve these two goals, your readers are much more likely to click-through to your website and continue consuming your content.

Here are our top five tips to keep your subscribers active and interested in your email content.

Timing.

Consider your target audience and think strategically about how to best schedule your email blasts to optimize your open rates. For example, if you’re targeting the average adult with a 9-to-5 job (like MassLive Media does with our Digital Media Insider), you want to reach them as they are filtering through their emails, but you don’t want your email to get buried and passed off as junk. Historically, we’ve found that the sweet spot is 9 – 10 a.m. By this time, the reader has had enough time to read, respond, file, and delete a majority of their mail once they arrived at work for the day.

Choosing your day is just as important as the time—shoot for the middle of the week (Tuesday – Wednesday). Sending mid-week can mean that your audience isn’t overwhelmed by all of the emails that come through over the weekend, but they haven’t checked out on Friday yet. Depending on who your emails are being sent to, you might find other days or time are more beneficial. For example, if you’re targeting new stay-at-home parents, try sending mid-afternoon, once the kids are taking their naps, when many moms or dads may have time to sit down and go through emails.

Subject Line.

Now that your email is reaching your subscribers at the right time, you need to hook them with a catchy subject line. Think of your subject line like an article headline—if the headline is lackluster, you’re less likely to continue reading. Best practice is to make your subject line concise, direct, topical, and creative or something that generates curiosity or incentive to open. In a way, your subject line is going to be a call-to-action, that action being opening the email.

Stay Consistent, But Not Repetitive.

Keep a set schedule when you send out emails. Your readers will be more open to receive your emails routinely rather than in a sporadic fashion. Also, stay topical and varied. You don’t want to consistently reference old information, events, or offers, and you don’t want to send out the same content over and over. People may open your email, but they’ll recall a message they’ve already seen, and possibly delete the message. Mix up your content and keep it fresh!

Comply with the CAN-SPAM act.

If things get really bad, you could be marked as spam, swiftly diminishing the integrity of your lists. The best way to avoid this is to comply with the CAN-SPAM Essentially, you want to be open and honest. Don’t use false, misleading or deceptive language in your subject or email body. Be sure to include an unsubscribe link and be candid about who you are and where you’re located. It’s best to also make sure you’re not using spam trigger words like “FREE” or “SAVE” or “HELP” (especially when in all-caps). Use of exclamation points or dollar signs could seem like a phishing email to some readers as well. One other technique is to include a plain-text version of your email within your marketing-automation software for each send. That way if your recipient chooses to not view their e-mail in HTML, they will still be able to continue reading your message, without all the confusing code.

Format:

An important rule of thumb is to make sure your emails are responsive. This way, they render well on different types of devices like smartphones, tablets and computers. However, testing is necessary! Your email won’t look the same on each device, platform, email provider, or operating system. Depending on how your subscribers view their email, it could distort the way your email looks. This is mostly unavoidable, but you can debug this by thoroughly testing your email message on desktop, mobile, and tablet, and even several different types of each device.

Try sending your email test to multiple email servers, like Gmail, Yahoo, and AOL. Check all links, make sure text isn’t overlapping images and again, be sure to include an unsubscribe link. One other recommendation is to not include any crucial information in an image. It may be fast, easy, and at first seem like a great way to make sure your content is consistent. However, you are running the risk of many of your users having images turning off in their e-mail. They may see x’d out images in the email. Therefore, are more likely to unsubscribe or report you as spam. Taking the time to test all of these little details will pay off as more of your audience will actually read and engage with your content.

MassLive Media has the in-depth technology to properly test and send emails to your desired audience. Learn how to kick-start your effective email campaign today.