Earlier in this book, we gave you some brief lists of best practices to use when sending various types of emails. To make email sending a little bit easier for you, the next several sections will sum up best practices in easy-to-use checklist form for any type of email that you may be sending. Feel free to print out these pages and use them whenever you're putting together an email send for a specific type of email. In this section, we'll cover a best practices check-list for sales conversion emails.
Subject Line for Sales Conversion Emails
A sales conversion email should practice all best practices for email subject line in general including:
Urgency: Create a sense of urgency so that users will okpen your email as quickly as possible, but do this without creating a sense of your email being outdated if a short period of time passes before users see it.
Content: Use words that are proven within your industry or email list segment to create actions and responses. Don't use words that may get you into trouble with spam filters. If appropriate, repeat your company or newsletter name in the subject line of the email.
Length: Do not write a subject line that is longer than thirty-five to fifty characters.
Personalization: If it's appropriate for your industry or email list segment, include a personalization field to use the subscriber's first name or site user name in the subject line of the email.
HTML Design for Sales Conversion Emails
As a general rule, the following are design best practices for sending sales conversion emails:
Minimize Images: Even though you are most likely selling or promoting a product, limit your use of images to no more than thirty percent of your email template. Remember, images won't load in the large majority of email service providers.
Use Alt and Title Text: Because your images may not load, be sure to apply both alt and title text behind the images so that text displays when the images don't load. Make the text a compelling call-to-action and make the image a link to your landing page.
Maximum Email Width of 600 Pixels: Make sure that your sales conversion email template does not exceed 600 pixels in width. It may not display in the email preview pane if it does.
One Column May be Appropriate: For sales conversion emails, it may be more appropriate to use a single-column email template rather than two columns. You only want readers to focus on the deal, offer, or revenue-generating event. You do not want to distract them with a great deal of extra information and links that may deter them from following through on your desired action.
Don't Trap Calls to Action in an Image: As tempting as it is to use graphic buttons or links in your html email, be sure to not trap the call-to-action or any important information in an image. Again, your users may not see the image, and if they don't they may not know where to click. Make sure that links and calls-to-action are all text-based.
Easy-to-Find Unsubscribe Rules: Make sure that it's easy and clear to users where to unsubscribe from your email list. If you don't, they may mark you as spam, which could impact your ability to get delivered to the inbox in the future.
Follow CAN-SPAM Rules: Make sure that you have followed all CAN-SPAM laws including a physical mailing address, an unsubscribe link or address, and an indication that your email is an advertisement.
No CSS! Stay away from coding your html email template using CSS. Many email service providers will strip it out. Use traditional < font >and < table > tags instead.
Format Text: Format your text so that it is interesting to look at by using a variety of bold fonts and font colors. Avoid italics if possible.
Format Links: Format links to look like links so that users recognize them. The best option is a blue font with an underline. However, if you can't make your font blue, at least make links underlined. It's also advisable to make them bold.
No Dark Background Colors with Light Font Colors: Because many email service providers will strip out your background image or misread your font colors, a dark background with white or light fonts can end up looking like a white background with white fonts or a dark background with black fonts. Stick to light background colors and dark fonts.
Include Social Sharing: Include social sharing elements, but don't rely on buttons or images.
Content Practices for Sales Conversion Emails
Content is the area of an email where you will experience the largest variation in best practices. Here are the most important best practices for sales conversion emails.
Single-Call-to-Action: If the goal of your email is to drive a single or targeted revenue generating act, then only give users or readers the choice of one action to complete. Don't suggest that they buy a product and then also suggest that they read an article. Keep your call-to-action to only one motivation, and that motivation should be to purchase, sign-up, or click through.
Keep It Reasonably Short: The more copy you put in an email, the less likely a user is to complete your call-to-action. You also increase your risk of ending up in the spam or junk folder. Keep your copy to a minimum and include only the highlights that will inspire your reader to click-through.
Don't Use Too Many Navigational Links: While navigational links are great in content or retention emails, in a sales conversion email they can take users away from finishing a revenue-generating activity and onto a content or website page that doesn't promote the offer. Strip navigational links out of your revenue generating or sales conversion emails and focus on the single call-to-action.
Include Contact Information: Though you don't want to distract users from your call-to-action, you do want to make it easy for them to contact you if they have questions or problems. Including contact information also builds trust with your users or readers. In a revenue-generating or sales email, be sure to include contact information prominently.
Be Careful with Spam Words:Sales, revenue-generating, and conversion emails are often the most likely to end up in the junk folder because they overused spam trigger words like "sale" or "cash." Write compelling email copy without emphasizing potential spam words too heavily.
Personalize: In most cases, your email will perform better if you use a personalization field in the body of the email or the call-to-action. As always, consider if personalization is appropriate for your industry segment.
Segment Your List and Your Content: The more targeted you can make your offers and content; the more likely your offers are to convert. In the case of revenue-generating emails, try to segment your database by purchase history or average spend in order to put the most compelling offer or revenue generating event in front of the most likely candidate to take advantage of it.
Provide Terms and Conditions: Whenever you're sending an offer in an email that has terms and conditions applied to it, be sure to include either the full terms and conditions or a disclaimer that terms and conditions apply and can be found at a specific url within the sales conversion email.
Follow the list above, and you'll be able to craft successful sales conversion emails!