Promotional Email Best Practices

Steps to Help Retailers Send More Successful Emails

We have to face the facts that the world is getting more influenced by the internet and all things digital. You have worked so hard to obtain your customer base, now how do you get them to keep listening? There’s so much content that customers are consuming now between TV commercials, social media posts, online advertisements, and YouTube personality sponsorship’s- it can be overwhelming to figure out how to keep your audience engaged with you. Luckily, we’re here to provide you with the best email practices to get your voice heard. Or in this case, read.
Steps to Help Retailers Send More Successful Emails

Here are the three best practices for your emails to be read and engaged by your audience:

1. ‘Sent From’ Addresses are essential to any email you send. People want to know who is writing them.

  • Most recipients use the From Header to determine whether to open your email. Your goal is to have the email opened, and people only open emails that are written by people or companies they recognize.
  • You want to be recognized quickly, so you are not reported as SPAM, and so your email is opened, increasing your open rate.
  • Ask yourself how your audience is most likely to recognize you and then craft your Sent From line to include that information.

For example:

2. Your Subject Lines need to PREPARE and ENTICE.

A Subject line gives your audience a hint at the content of your email. Over 30% of people use the Subject line to determine whether or not to open an email.

Remember, the goal of a Subject Line is to prompt your audience to open the message to look for specific information. You need to ENTICE your audience. How do you do that?

  • Clearly and accurately describe the content of the email – relevancy is key. If it doesn’t peak their interest, they’ll quickly trash the email to create space for a better one to come.
  • Highlight the immediate benefit of opening the email.
  • Create a sense of urgency with a specific statement.
  • Include personalization – Using a name or username in a subject line will improve open rates as users typically assume that this email has come from a trusted source.
    • To that same effect, using a name or username within the content of the email itself improves conversion rates and has the added benefit of creating brand loyalty with the user.

Beware of “Trash-bin” Subject Lines – Subject Lines that look like SPAM are trashed! Avoid the following in your subject lines:

  • Excessive punctuation !!#@$??
  • Symbols such as $ or *****
  • Using RE:
  • Vague subject lines:
  • Hey you
  • Check this out!

Test Subject lines with A/B testing to determine the most effective ones (i.e., those resulting in the most opens)

  • Most email programs display only the first 30-50 characters (not words) in the subject space, so keep subject lines to 50 characters or less.
  • For mobile devices, there’s less room. So 20 – 30 characters at the most.

3. An image says a 1000 words, which may be too much.

  • Avoid busy background images that make your text hard to read. An image should only ever facilitate your readers.
  • Use small images and link them to larger images on your website so interested people can view your images in more detail.
  • Make sure your images support the text in your email instead of including generic image.
  • Limit your image use to one image per article or offer
  • Use alternative text for your images.

Important Tip- you should always add Alt Text to your email images

  • Adding Alt Text allows people whose ESP automatically blocks images (i.e., Gmail) to know what images are in an email, so they are more apt to download the images.
  • Reading devices read alt text, so a visually impaired person knows what images are in the email.
  • Some people set their email to render text only, so alt text will allow them to know what images are associated with the text content.

Example HTML code with Alt Text:

example of alt test for email marketing

The retail industry is changing- but not just retail- everything is moving faster and the “noise” can be overwhelming.  It’s important for retailers to find ways to “break through the noise” and have their messages stand out, as opposed to blending in and getting lost or worse yet- getting marked as “unsubscribed”.  These tips can help improve your email marketing; increasing your open rates, click throughs and ultimately- online sales.


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