How to Win at Email

An email full of copy with zero visuals hits your trash can as fast as it hits your inbox. We’ve all seen gross emails—and even though we don’t read them, we take two seconds to be appalled by them before clicking delete.

Taking time to spruce up your emails can do wonders. We have five quick tips that make all the difference once you press send. Work your email magic!


Use White Space

If you look at all the elements of an email, you’ll find that about half of them exist on the outside of the email. Your reader sees so much before they even click through to the actual content. What happens when they do? Is your email as crowded as their messy inbox?

White space isn’t wasted space. It’s especially helpful for readers who are viewing your emails on their phones. Squeezing too much content into one place will make your readers want to turn away from your email and look for the delete button instead.

Just because space exists for content doesn’t always mean it needs content. Like a fine wine, an email should breathe a little for best results.


Add Photos

An email with visuals is much more likely to hit the jackpot than one without. Pictures add intrigue and help tell your story in a compelling way. They’re eye-catching, easy to take in and they can say some things that we can’t by only using words.

Make sure you’re not just using one single image for your whole email, though. If people open your email and aren’t able to view the images inside, then you’re both out of luck. Use photos to complement your emails instead of using photos to complete them.


Keep It Short

The length of your email should match the subject. If you’re telling a story, then a longer format is a great option. Sending coupon codes or downloads might call for something a little more brief. Email isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation.

Every piece of your email should be compelling. Nix the unnecessary pieces. Consider sending emails that have too much going on in two separate pieces. If that means sending your supporters a few extra emails with more varied content, then so be it. Short and sweet does the trick.


Have Only One Call-to-Action

What do you want your recipient to do after they receive your email? Donate, volunteer, learn more or call you? Make it clear. If you have one distinct call-to-action, there’s less opportunity for your readers to be confused by what you’re asking them to do.

Don’t be afraid to get a little funky with your calls-to-action, either. Your direction should be no longer than four words, so they have to pack a punch. Instead of sticking with the same old “download,” say something like “show me how” instead. Just remember: it’s named call-to-action for a reason. Your readers should be compelled to take action.


Know When to Stop

You don’t have to say everything in one email, just like we won’t say everything about emails in one article. Choose one goal for your email. If you choose one thing to do, then you can focus on doing it really well. If you’re trying to do too many things with one email, things will start to slip through the cracks.


These are just a few stepping stones to get your emails on their way toward success. With some strategy and time, you can make email new and exciting again.

What are some of your best practices for crafting the ultimate email?

How to Email

Claire Shinn

March 24, 2017

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