6 benefits of email marketing for ecommerce businesses

Despite all the new digital marketing platforms coming out, email remains a valuable, effective and inexpensive tool. In fact, email marketing can play a significant role in the success of ecommerce businesses.

Essentially, email marketing is a direct marketing channel. It enables businesses to share new products, sales and/or other updates and content with their contact list. Once viewed (and treated) as a one-size-fits-all mass messaging tactic, email marketing has evolved to focus more on relevant content, segmentation and personalization so that the right message is targeted to the right person at the right time.

With the right strategy, ecommerce businesses that invest in email marketing efforts can generate an average return on investment of $42 for every $1 spent.

Still not convinced? The following are six benefits of email marketing for ecommerce businesses, which face strong competition in a big marketplace.

Boost customer retention (and sales)

Regardless of how long your ecommerce company has been in business, customer retention should be a priority.

The cost of losing one customer equates to seven times the resources used to convert them. Customer retention is about maintaining your current customer base and increasing loyalty by offering better products or services and other benefits. Customer retention tactics include loyalty programs, discounts, special offers and targeted marketing campaigns.

Simply put, just a 5 percent increase in customer retention can lead to at least a 25 percent increase in profit. More returning customers translates into more sales.

With email marketing, you can create campaigns that remind customers that you haven’t forgotten about them by sharing great content (such as tips) and offers. Doing so helps you stay top of mind when they are shopping for a product that you offer.

Check out our six tips to improve your customer retention rate.

Lead nurturing via email can make leads ready to buy

Email marketing offers the ability to nurture your leads over a period of time. The intention is to build a trusting relationship that warms them up for purchasing from you. 

Specifically, lead nurturing can be defined as the process of building relationships with potential customers in order to help them move forward in your sales funnel.

In other words, you’re educating uncertain leads about your brand and the value of your products over time. Then, when you do incentivize them to make a purchase, they are more likely to do so.

Email marketing can support your ecommerce business with the popular approach of email drip campaigns. Email drip campaigns are a type of time-release email marketing tactic. Think drip irrigation systems. Drip emails are intended to land with purposeful timing and targeting with minimal waste (and technically minimal effort once set up to run automatically).

Think about it like a conversation that you’re building upon along the way.

They can be daily reminders, weekly specials, monthly updates, yearly renewal notices or anything in between, depending on your intention and goals. The idea is that while each email in a drip campaign should stand alone, they also should build upon past messages and even set the stage for future messaging.

Check out our 14 best practices for email drip campaigns.

Increase your landing page conversion rate

Landing pages are incredibly valuable for ecommerce businesses. They’re where you can promote products, increase brand awareness and host transactional features that make purchasing from your company secure and easy.

But landing pages also can be hard for the average consumer to find.

Enter email marketing, where you can leverage the offerings (and link) of your landing page(s) to increase your landing page traffic and ultimately sales conversions.

Remember that a landing page can be as specific as you want it to be, but it should work hand in hand with the email promotion behind it. It’s a place where interested consumers can learn more and dive deeper into your promoted product(s). Include clear call-to-actions not just in your email, but on your landing page, too.

DailyStory is a comprehensive marketing automation platform that includes the ability to create and host landing pages.

Deliver better customer service

Customer service can make or break your ecommerce business. About 73 percent of customers become loyal to a brand because of great customer service experiences.

When something goes wrong with a purchase, payment method, shipping or anything else, you must be ready to receive those inquiries and offer quick solutions.

About 54 percent of customers prefer email customer service channels over other methods of communication. 

Leverage your email marketing to be more than just a broadcasting medium. Be ready to help your customers through email as well, and make it easy for them to reach you via email.

Check out our five ways to improve your overall customer service for your ecommerce business.

Recover those abandoned shopping carts

Abandoned shopping carts are one of the biggest challenges for ecommerce businesses.

About 70 percent of online shopping carts were abandoned in 2019. That’s lost revenue that you’re missing out on.

Email automation, which is a series of emails you automatically send to your prospects or customers, can help with abandoned shopping carts. Using a tool, such as DailyStory, you can schedule emails to send based on your audience’s interactions with your business.

Unlike email newsletters and one-off campaigns, email automation allows you to create a campaign one time and then automatically reach individuals when certain triggers are hit. That means emails will continue to send long after you set up that automated campaign without you lifting another finger.

That means that an abandoned shopping cart can trigger an email to that customer reminding him or her of what was left behind and potentially offering an incentive to complete the purchase. This is huge for your ecommerce business.

Learn more about what email automation is, why it matters and 14 examples to inspire you.

Support your ecommerce sales experience

Email marketing isn’t just about selling your products to consumers or reminding them that your brand exists. It’s actually a powerful tool to support your customers’ purchasing experience every step of the way as well.

You can use email to keep in touch with your customers about their orders. Do this by sending order confirmations, shipment tracking numbers, thank you messages, product review requests and more.

Optimizing your customer experience through email can boost your ecommerce sales.

In conclusion

Embracing email marketing for your ecommerce business is both cost-effective and can boost your revenue. Make sure that you leverage segmentation and personalization to achieve your email marketing goals.

Check out our 11 do’s and don’ts of email marketing, as well as 16 email marketing best practices that can make an impact.

As you’re evaluating how email marketing can benefit your ecommerce business, consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process. This includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

10 ways to create email marketing campaigns that convert

Email marketing campaigns are still one of the most effective tools in your digital marketing toolkit.

For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $40. In addition, email is the main driver of customer retention and acquisition for small and midsize businesses. About 81 percent of small and midsize businesses still rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel and 80 percent for retention.

Email marketing is truly about the art of relationship building, which can then lead to sales. Through your email marketing campaigns, you have the opportunity to bond with your potential customers and existing customers.

The following are 10 ways to create email marketing campaigns that convert to that sought-after sale.

Understand your audience

Knowing your target audience is critical for any digital marketing channel if you want to be successful with your efforts.

But true understanding goes beyond simply identifying key demographics such as age, gender, location and so on. You should thoroughly research your target audience to learn about their interests, needs, preferences, problems, perspectives and principles. 

By doing so, you’ll avoid creating generic email marketing campaigns that get lost in the noise of cluttered inboxes. About 70 percent of millennials are frustrated with brands sending irrelevant information. Instead, you’ll be delivering messaging that will catch the attention of your recipients and encourage them to engage with your content.

Check out our seven tips to determine your target audience.

Segment your contact list and get personal

Once you understand your audience, you should take the next step and segment your email contact list. Segmentation allows for more personalized messages, which can lead to higher sales conversion rates in your email marketing campaigns. This is due to the increased relevance and value of personalized messaging.

Segmentation can be done in a number of ways, including:

  • Those who have purchased from you
  • Those who never have purchased from you
  • Age range
  • Geographical location
  • Interests

The sky is the limit, but the power of your segmentation is directly tied to the strength of your contact data. The more you know, the more you can segment and personalize your email marketing campaigns. 

In fact, about 80 percent of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand that provides personalized experiences. Personalization ideas include:

  • Using the subscriber’s name in the subject line and/or email copy
  • Including the name of a real service representative instead of the company name in the “from” field
  • Using different visuals in emails to appeal to different customers
  • Leveraging demographic and geographic data to create more personalized content
  • Targeting product or service recommendation emails based on previous buying decisions

Learn more about audience segmentation and personalization.

Embrace the basics of psychology

You don’t need a PhD in psychology to leverage the basics in your email marketing campaign. By doing so, you can improve your email conversion rates.


  • Color psychology
  • Subconscious understanding
  • FOMO, or the fear of missing out
  • Visuals that can spark emotions

Learn more about color psychology and FOMO, and how they can boost your marketing effectiveness.

Include one effective call-to-action

One of the simplest ways to help convert an email recipient to a purchaser is to stick to one call-to-action per email. More than one dilutes the power and ultimately the effectiveness of getting them to do anything at all.

That CTA should be clear and concise that’s hyperlinked to wherever the consumer needs to go to complete the action, such as “claim discount” or “read it here.” Of course, the nature of your CTA depends on the goal of your email marketing campaign.

Invest effort in your email subject lines

You may be spending a lot of time on the content of your email, but don’t let your subject line be an afterthought. Truly, your email subject line is the likely the first (and possibly the only) thing your email recipients will notice about your email.

If it’s not compelling enough, they’ll never even open it. On the flip side, if you overpromise in the subject line and underdeliver in the full email, you break trust and risk appearing as spam.

Focus on using impactful words, invoking emotions and being as clear as possible. 

Check out our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Go beyond the sale by offering free value

It might seem counterintuitive at first, but one of the best ways to build up your email contact list and grow trusting relationships that ultimately lead to sales is to offer free value through your email marketing campaigns.

Free value refers to educational, inspirational, motivational and/or informative content that’s free of charge. It’s about offering content that benefits your audience without asking for anything in return.

When you spread out the “hard sale” type messaging with more free value, your email recipients are more likely to purchase from you when you are selling. This is because of the relationship that is being nurtured through alternative content.

One way to approach this is through email drip campaigns, where you can even include pieces of your brand story and social mission (if you have one) to better connect with your recipients. 

Learn more about email drip campaigns.

Stay relevant and concise

Just because you aren’t as constrained by the character limitations of a text message or tweet doesn’t mean that your email should read like a novel.

Your audience has the same time limitations and inclination to skim as they would on any other digital marketing channel. So, you want to get to the point quickly.

The more concise you can be while remaining relevant and engagement, the more likely your email will lead to a sale.

Get exclusive with your offers and discounts

Are you offering your email subscribers the same discounts and other incentives that you’re giving across multiple digital marketing channels?

Remember that your email contact list has already signaled their interest in your business by subscribing in the first place. What can you offer specifically and exclusively to them as a reward?

Of course, when offering anything exclusive, make sure you communicate that, so your email recipients know they’re special and can’t find a better deal elsewhere.

Leverage user-generated content

User-generated content, also referred to as UGC, is any type of brand-related content that’s created by your customers. This includes photos, videos, posts, testimonials, reviews and so on.

UGC can generate about a 73 percent increase in email click-through-rate, while about 82 percent of consumers say user-generated reviews are extremely valuable.

In other words, UGC is an effective form of social proof that helps grow consumer trust and boosts the likelihood of a sale. And you can collect this content from your other digital marketing channels (such as social media) to then include in your email marketing campaigns.

Check out our 10 tips to encourage more user-generated content.

Test and monitor your email marketing campaigns

Testing is the only way to ensure that your email looks the way you intend and that your email marketing campaign acts the way it should. But beyond meeting that basic standard, using A/B testing can help you optimize your campaigns even more for better conversion results.

In addition, monitoring the performance of your email marketing campaigns is critical to understanding what’s working and what’s not. And that information can help you create more effective campaigns in the future as well.

In conclusion

Because there is so much that you can do in any given email marketing campaign, start simply with your goals and who your target audience is. Then, go from there. The key to a higher email conversion rate is to build relationships with your subscribers that keeps them wanting to open your emails. But every brand is different, so keep experimenting and monitoring until you find what works for you.

Also, check out our 16 tips to increase your overall sales conversion rate.

While you’re considering how to increase your email conversion rate, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more that can directly benefit your email marketing and SMS text message marketing. Schedule your free demo with us today.

11 do’s and don’ts of email marketing

Email marketing is an important tool in your digital marketing toolkit.

Not only is it continuing to grow in popularity, but it’s powerful. About 92 percent of online adults use email, and about 61 percent of consumers prefer to be contacted by brands through email.

Plus, about 59 percent of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions, while 80 percent of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention.

Simply put, email marketing refers to businesses sending emails to potential or existing customers to encourage those recipients to take action or engage with the sender in a way that generates sales or leads to new potential customers.

Email marketing is still the most cost-effective way to reach a large number of people with a single click.

The following are 11 do’s and don’ts of email marketing to help your business be more successful from the start.

The do’s of email marketing

Set small and big goals

Just like with any digital marketing tactic, you should ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve. Some common goals tied to email marketing include (but are not limited to):

  • Increasing engagement
  • Delivering value to existing customers and subscribers
  • Re-engaging with inactive customers and subscribers
  • Acquiring new subscribers
  • Generating sales

Setting various goals (both small and big) can help you stay focused across the different email marketing campaigns you’re creating. Just make sure that you’re clear on how you measure success.

Dive deeper with our seven expert tips on setting achievable marketing goals.

Determine who specifically will be receiving your email(s)

It’s imperative that you determine who you want to reach with your email marketing campaign as you’re creating your email marketing campaign.

Are you encouraging past customers who haven’t purchased from you in months to return? Are you introducing yourself to new leads? 

Audience segmentation, available with DailyStory, is a great way to group up your contact list in such a way where you can best focus your message to the right people based on the data that you have about them.

If you’re still building up your contact list beyond your customer database, check out our 12 strategies to capture more email leads.

Decide what type of email you’re sending

Likely, the type of email you’re creating and sending is tied to the goals you’re striving for and the recipients you’re targeting, but it’s key nonetheless to be aware as you create.

Be specific with the point of your email. No email should have everything plus the kitchen sink thrown into it. You’ll lose interest and risk losing subscribers as well.

Are you creating a newsletter touting updates about your business, products and/or services? Perhaps you specifically want to promote new services and products. Are you offering a special sale? You could be welcoming new subscribers to your list. Whatever it is, keep the focus there, and know that extra, unrelated information can always become a separate, new email in the future. 

The best practice is to keep each email as focused, direct and short as possible.

Use technology to your advantage

Email marketing technology includes such tools as analytics, segmentation, software integration, automation, templates, personalization and more.

These tools will help you send the most effective promotional emails, target those emails by demographics (and other contact characteristics or behaviors) and best understand what is working and what isn’t with your email marketing campaigns.

Personalization especially can humanize your message in a way that not only catches your audience’s attention but pursuades them to act.

Leveraging the power of DailyStory and all its features is a great way to take advantage of the technology available to you.

Create eye-catching subject lines

Email subject lines are the first thing a recipient will likely see when your email reaches their inbox. And what they see can make or break your email marketing campaign.

You want your subject line to attract their attention and interest so that they will open your email and continue reading (and potentially taking action).

Ideally, your email subject lines are short (between 40 and 50 characters long), straightforward and personalized (with their first name or something else).

Check out our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Always test before you send

No matter what email designer tool you’re using, it’s imperative to not only preview the email but to send a test email to yourself (and a few additional colleagues if possible). Of course, don’t just open the email on a computer, make sure to open on a mobile device as well.

By doing so, you’ll better catch any typos, broken and/or missing links, mis-sized images and more. 

Without testing, you risk sending out an email that looks unprofessional and loses the trust of your customers and subscribers.

The don’ts of email marketing

Bombarding your subscribers with too many emails

Because it can be so easy to send an email to so many, it also can be easy to overdo it. Sending too many emails will not only turn off your subscribers, but it could get your emails a one-way ticket to spam folders and even drive subscribers to unsubscribe.

Use a content calendar or other scheduling tool to understand the pacing of your emails, as well as when any might overlap or are too close. You’ll get some flexibility by segmenting your audience since not all contacts will receive all emails, but you still need to make sure that you’re not overwhelming anyone with your messaging. 

Waiting a minimum of three days is good, but keep an eye on your email marketing analytics. Everyone’s audience is different, so your metrics will show you what’s best for your email frequency. (In particular, look for an increase in opt-outs tied to your sending frequency.)

Overusing images

Mobile devices account for at least 50 percent of all read emails. So, keep in mind the mobile experience. 

For example, because of data usage limits, some consumers disable email images on their phones. If your email is using a lot of images to convey information, that experience might be very broken for the mobile user.

Images also can take a long time to load, and you could lose your recipient’s interest as they wait.

Visuals are still great to use in emails. In fact, check out these six ways visuals can increase your email conversions. You just want to use them strategically and with mobile in mind.

Forgetting a call to action

With all the time and effort you invest into creating an email, don’t forget to tell recipients what to do next.

Call to actions can be as simple as clicking a link to your website, forwarding your email to a friend and so much more. 

Keep it simple and make it easy for the recipient to do.

Leaving out a physical address on your email

Including your physical address in the footer of your email helps build trust with your subscribers, but more importantly, it’s the law. 

Fortunately, you can use a valid P.O. Box instead of your home address if necessary.

Learn more about the legalities of email marketing and what you should know.


No legitimate business wants to appear spammy to its email subscribers, but it can happen without proper planning and execution of your email marketing campaign.

Spam is unsolicited, overly promotional email that’s not only unexpected but also can be unwanted.

Spammy keywords (such as “make money”), too many links, over capitalization, too many images and so on can flag spam filters in various email clients. If you’re not flagged, you could be manually flagged as spam by your email recipient.

Make sure that the content you’re sending is wanted, needed and formatted appropriately.

Learn more about what happens if your subscribers mark your email as spam.

In conclusion

The power of your email marketing is a result of your overall strategy, as well as how direct yet human you can be in your messaging. Remember that your subscribers are people, not just dollar signs. Before sending out any email, ask yourself if the content would compel you to take action.

Check out our 16 email marketing best practices that can help you make an impact.

As you’re evaluating your email marketing strategy (along with its do’s and don’ts), consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 ways to comply with email marketing laws

It can be so easy to simply send an email, but email marketing laws require you to do more than that.

While you might be focused on catching any broken links, typos or other email marketing mistakes, non-compliance with email marketing laws is the biggest mistake you can make.

The biggest thing to know is the CAN-SPAM Act, which governs how businesses can act when sending promotional and commercial emails in the U.S. CAN-SPAM stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act.” It’s regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

At its core, the CAN-SPAM Act aims to promote honesty, responsibility, transparency and choice, so email recipients have greater control over their inboxes and can trust the messages you’re sending (while being able to opt out at any time).

Violating the CAN-SPAM rules can get you fined up to $43,792 per violation, which can apply to each separate email. To avoid this massive financial penalty and conduct your email marketing honestly, the following are six ways to comply with email marketing laws.

Always get consent first

Before you add any contacts to your email list, you must get consent. Of course, consent can be applied in two ways. 

Implied consent is when a customer makes a purchase on your website or signs up to be part of a community. You then are allowed to send them commercial emails because they have engaged in an action that implies they’re willing to do business with you.

There’s also express consent when a user enters his or her information through a pop-up ad or a lead-generation form on your website, etc. You can then send them commercial emails in this scenario because the user knows that he or she is signing up for marketing emails once the user hands over contact details, which will result in messages from the business periodically.

You must refrain from scraping public databases and social media accounts to find emails and add them to your list. All underhanded methods are expressly forbidden.

Check out our 12 strategies to capture more email leads without annoying everyone.

Be clear about who you are as the sender

Your email messages must clearly indicate who the sender is. If you attempt to obscure or hide the sender information in any way, you risk non-compliance.

Remember that this includes your “from,” “to” and “reply-to” fields, as well as any routing information that goes along with your email.

Simply put, you cannot hide who the sender is. But on the flip side, being clear not only follows email marketing laws but help build trust with your email recipients.

No misleading subject lines

When the subject line blatantly differs from the actual content of your email, you’ll not only alienate your audience but fall into non-compliance with email marketing laws as well.

Email subject lines are critical for compelling recipients to open your email, but don’t go so far as to trick anyone into opening it. Do not promise what isn’t there.

For example, if you’re promoting a sale or product launch, you should include that in your subject line. But in general, allow your brand personality and honestly lead the way when writing subject lines.

Check out our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Show the difference between promotional and transactional emails

Email marketing laws require you to make it clear to recipients that your marketing email is an ad. Of course, this can be open to interpretation since there’s no specific requirement for your wording in this case.

The goal is that your audience can distinguish between promotional and non-promotional emails. Recipients should be able to quickly tell from the content that a message is for information purposes (transactional), such as a shipping notification, or for sales purposes (promotional).

Rely on your common sense and focus on being as clear as possible.

Include your physical address in the email footer

The FTC requires that you share a valid physical postal address in the footer of your emails. Doing so boosts transparency and makes it easier for people to get in touch or file a report if they have any concerns.

This address must be physical and valid, but it doesn’t have to be a street address. The CAN-SPAM Act allows for post office boxes or private mailboxes. This is great news for any businesses that are just starting up and don’t want to use a home address.

Make opt-outs easy and responsive

By providing their email addresses, contacts aren’t necessarily saying that they want to receive emails from you forever. Email marketing laws require that you make it easy for them to unsubscribe. 

Specifically, the CAN-SPAM Act says unsubscribing should be “clear and conspicuous.” This means it should be written in plain language so that anyone can easily understand how to opt out.

Not only should the unsubscribe process be easy, but you must honor these opt-out requests in a timely manner. Most email marketing tools, such as DailyStory, processes unsubscribe requests immediately, you still need to confirm that they are, in fact, being honored. Technically, email marketing laws require that you remove opted-out contacts within 10 days in the U.S.

Make the experience simple and warm. You never know when a contact might opt back in at a later time.

In conclusion

Regardless of whether you’re directly handling your email marketing or have an in-house or outsourced team managing it, it is your responsibility to make sure that your business is in compliance with all email marketing laws.

In addition, check out our 16 email marketing best practices that make an impact.

As you’re evaluating your email marketing strategy, consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process. This includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

16 email marketing best practices that make an impact

Email marketing might feel “old hat” in a world of new and ever-evolving digital marketing tools. But it deserves your attention more than ever.

In 2022, the number of email users worldwide is estimated to be about 4.3 billion. This is expected to grow to about 4.6 billion in 2025, making up more than half of the estimated world population

See these 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

Simply put, email marketing is the use of email to promote your brand’s products or services. But in addition, you can develop relationships with your current customers and connect to potential customers. It’s about informing and engaging your recipients with a personalized message that resonates. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective and conversion-rich tactics you can embrace within your overall digital marketing strategy. And embracing its best practices can make you even more effective in your efforts.

The following are 16 email marketing best practices that will help you make an impact.

Never purchase contact lists

There are a number of reasons why you should not purchase contact lists for your email marketing efforts.

Of course, data protection laws (such as the General Data Protection Regulation) are critical to keep in mind. You need consent.

But beyond even that is how differently email recipients act when you’ve bought them versus when you’ve earned them.

Email recipients you’ve brought are essentially cold leads. They could have no idea who you are and may even wonder how or why you are emailing them. This could lead to low open rates, low click rates and even higher unsubscribes or (even worse) spam reports.

See our 11 tips to increase your open rates when you are cold emailing.

The contacts you’ve earned have opted in somehow, so they have a better recognition of your brand and are more likely to open and click (and not unsubscribe or report you).

Regularly review (and segment) your contact list

While several of your contacts might not opt-out of your emails, they could simply never open an email of yours either. This can kill your open rate and cloud some of your campaign analytics.

It’s important to regularly audit your mailing list and segment accordingly so that you can target the right message to the right recipients at the right time. 

Removing contacts is an option some brands use to maintain a more engaged list, but we actually recommend grouping your less-active contacts so that you can target them in different ways (whether that’s frequency or contact channel). Ultimately, the least engaged of your contacts will be the most likely to unsubscribe in the future. So, keep that in mind as you decide how best to engage with them.

On the flip side, you can (and should) segment your contacts into groups that are relevant to your marketing goals. A segment is a grouping of your audience who shares common attributes.

Examples include contacts who have not made a purchase yet or customers whose membership is about to expire, and so on.

By targeting the right group with the right message at the right time, you’ll see better conversion metrics in every email campaign.

Dive deeper into the power of audience segmentation.

Timing is everything

Granted, there is no “silver bullet” time that all marketers can guarantee better conversion rates.

But data suggest that mid-morning, afternoon or evening Tuesdays through Thursdays is a good place to start. We also recommend trying “off” times, like 10:13 a.m. rather than 10 a.m.

That being said, you’ll still want to think about your audience and their habits. Then, you’ll want to track the performance of your emails and see if there’s particular timing that works best with your audience.

Do not use “no reply” in your sending email name or address

Considering CAN-SPAM, which is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, you want to avoid using “no reply” (or anything similar) as your sending email name or address. An example would be “noreply@example.com.”

This interferes with a recipient’s ability to respond or even opt out, which is a huge protection with CAN-SPAM.

Instead, make your sending email name and address as clear, recognizable and even as human as possible. This not only follows commercial email regulations but also builds trust with your recipients, which can encourage them to open and engage with your emails.

Invest effort into your email subject lines

A successful email subject line is part art, part science but typically a recipe for anxiety for any marketer or business owner.

But it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve noticed that your emails aren’t getting the open rate you are looking for, then it’s time to take a look at your subject lines.

Of course, some subject line recommendations include:

  • Keeping it short (between 30 and 50 characters, including spaces)
  • Using action verbs (instead of passive voice)
  • Leveraging urgency
  • Giving an air of exclusivity
  • Being very clear about your offer (whether it’s an incentive, discount or something else)
  • Embracing a compelling or engaging angle

You can also test your subject line with an A/B test or resend through an automation with a new subject line.

Dive deeper with our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Optimize your email’s preview text

About 24 percent of email recipients look at an email’s preview text first when deciding whether to open an email.

The majority of email clients provide a snippet of text to preview the contents of an email in your inbox. Leverage this to your advantage.

You should use the space to dive deeper into why recipients should open your email. You can build off of what you say in your subject line, tease something that’s inside the email and so on.

Keep in mind that if you don’t include any content in the email preview text field, a recipient’s email client can pull whatever content it decides to. This could be your preheader (if you have one) or simply the first 40 or so characters of your body text (which could be confusing as preview text). For example, many preheaders say, “Email not displaying correctly? Click here.” You definitely don’t want that.

While you can’t control how much text will be shown in your email preview, you can control what text is shown. And you should include at least 160 characters of text in your preheader copy.

Dig deeper into what email preview text is and how you can best use it to your advantage.

Confirm that your email template isn’t too wide

While many email marketing applications account for automatically resizing your emails to appropriately for the screen sizes your email recipients are using, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your email template is no wider than 650 pixels wide.

Going wider (unknowingly or not) can force your recipients to have to scroll horizontally. Having to do so makes your brand appear less professional.

Readability is critical not just for conversions but the overall user experience that can build relationships with your contacts, which can lead to further conversions in the future.

Limit your font types and sizes

Think clutter. The more font types and sizes you use in a single email, the more cluttered the overall email will feel. 

And that clutter can turn off your email recipients.

Strive to use web-safe fonts between 10-point and 12-point sizing. This helps ensure that your email will be legible on all email clients and possible devices.

Seek opportunities for personalization

Are you sending emails that begin with “Dear Member” or “To our customers”?

Personalization can take your emails to the next level by automatically inserting details about each email recipient that really shows you care enough to speak specifically to them.

Especially in DailyStory, the sky’s the limit with the types of information you can automatically personalize in your messaging. Some examples include:

  • First name
  • Location
  • Number of purchases or visits

First names can be especially powerful, and you can leverage that power in your email subject line and the body of your email.

Dive deeper into the one-to-one marketing that personalization offers.

Always include your logo in your emails

Logos are part of branding, which is critical to your digital marketing in general but your emails as well. 

Brand recall increases about 18 percent after a five-second exposure when including a logo in the email, and the likelihood of a purchase goes up by about 34 percent in emails with logos.

Emails are simply a great opportunity to not only include your logo but also your branded colors, fonts and voice.

Get your main message and call-to-action ‘above the fold’

“Above the fold” in email body copy refers to the information that’s visible to the recipient before he or she scrolls down. 

Consumers spend about 57 percent of their email-viewing time on above-the-fold content, and that decreases to about 17 percent on the second screen below.

Clearly, you don’t want critical call-to-actions (CTAs) getting lost in the need to scroll.

There are many tactics for this, depending on how you design your email. One example is including a CTA button at the top and bottom of the email. Another example is leveraging your banner at the top to be a clickable CTA while also being visually engaging.

You also can run A/B testing to determine what approaches work best for your audience. See our nine tips to make your A/B testing more effective.

Include an email signature

No matter how broadly you’re sending a message or newsletter, you’ll want to consider including an email signature at the bottom. Even when an email is representative of your entire company, a signature adds a touch of human personalization to your messaging. It shows that a human is behind the email, not just a marketing department.

About 41 percent of marketers say they use email signatures for branding and visibility.

Send an engaging welcome email

About 74 percent of users expect to receive a welcome email immediately after they subscribe, while only 57.7 percent of brands actually send a welcome email to new subscribers.

You want to be a brand that gives all new subscribers a warm welcome. Welcome emails give you the opportunity to re-introduce yourself and explain to new subscribers what kind of emails they’ll receive from you (and how often they should expect them).

It’s about getting started on the right foot with your new subscribers but also sharing the value of your emails and getting them excited to keep an eye out in their inboxes.

See our nine tips on how to engage new leads with a welcome email series.

Provide an opportunity to subscribe within your email

Of course, common sense suggests that your email recipients are receiving your email because they’re already subscribed to your list.

But that train of thought forgets about the possibility of your email being forwarded from a subscriber to someone else.

Being clear and giving the opportunity for a non-subscriber to subscribe to your email newsletters ensures that you’re not missing out on that opportunity. No one overtly slips through the cracks.

The CTA doesn’t have to be big, just clear. You don’t want it to compete with your primary CTA for the email.

Make unsubscribing easy

On the flip side, you also want to ensure that your subscribers have a clear and easy way to unsubscribe from your emails.

This can feel counterintuitive if your goal is to either grow your email mailing list or boost your conversion rates (or both). 

You’re required by commercial email laws to offer the clear path to opting out. By not doing so, you risk being in violation and/or getting reported as spam, which can hurt your email sending reputation.

Even if the email recipient only moves your emails to a folder he or she never opens, that’s not a win either.

Truthfully, your campaigns will perform better by allowing those no longer interested to easily unsubscribe and focusing on your more engaged recipients while building up your contact list with other interested subscribers.

Use a common phrase like “Unsubscribe” as your hyperlink text, so subscribers can quickly find it. And make the unsubscribe link big enough so that people using mobile devices will be able to click on it easily.

Test and monitor performance as much as possible

Before officially sending out an email, you’ll always want to send a test email. One can go to yourself so that you can confirm everything looks and acts the way it should. The other should go to at least one friend or colleague. 

Not only should that person do a basic proofing and testing of your email, but you’ll also want to ask him or her to tell you whether the CTA is apparent within the first five seconds of looking at the email. If it is, great. If not, you’ll want to adjust.

Beyond the work you’ll want to do upfront, you must follow it up by monitoring and tracking the performance of your email campaigns. Keeping an eye on what is generating higher open or click-through rates and conducting A/B testing will help you learn what works for your audience and what doesn’t.

As you’re evaluating your email marketing strategy, consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 ways visuals can increase your email conversions

WIth many marketers investing time and energy into engaging subject lines, visuals can be just as important to boosting your email conversion rates.

The right email visuals can help you stand out from your competition and encourage your recipients to click.

And email matters. Four out of five marketers said they’d rather give up social media than email marketing. For every dollar invested in email marketing, brands can earn about $36 on average in return. 

Of course, consumers spend an average of 10 seconds reading brand emails, so your visuals can make or break a conversion.

The following are six ways you can use visuals to increase your email conversions.

Leverage visuals to brand consistently

Branding is critically important for all businesses. When done well, it creates a sense of trust and familiarity among consumers. You’ll also be perceived as more professional.

A brand consists of:

  • Visuals, such as colors, logo, images, font, etc.
  • Tone of voice
  • Content
  • Online presence, such as website, social accounts, etc.
  • Influencer and other types of partnerships

Visuals are definitely at the top of that list. Use them to brand yourself in your emails like you would on any other digital medium.

Refer to your brand style guide to stay consistent throughout. Don’t have one? Check out our five tips to create a brand style guide for your business.

GIFs can add personality to your email

An animated GIF embedded in your email can grab attention, add personality and boost click-through and conversion rates (if used appropriately).

In fact, GIFs have been shown to increase email conversion rates by about 103 percent.

Creating your own customized GIF is likely easier than you might think. There are many free GIF-making tools available online, where you don’t have to know any coding to be successful.

You can:

  • Offer a how-to explainer via GIF.
  • Share an animated infographic.
  • Provide a brief product demonstration.

Just make sure your GIFs are fun but also true to your branding. You’ll also want to keep your GIF file size at about 1 MB and within 600 pixels in width.

Incorporate images into your call-to-actions

It’s likely that your call-to-action buttons within your emails are fairly simple, possibly even text-only. You’ll want to experiment with using images as part of your CTAs.

Imaged-based CTAs in emails report a higher conversion rate than simple text links. This is because they can be more compelling to email recipients and are nearly impossible to miss.

Of course, as you start to experiment, you can begin with a button approach, where the background color contrasts with your email background color and the color of your text. 

Learn more about color psychology in digital marketing.

Be sure to not go overboard. Overly aggressive CTAs won’t increase click-through rates.

Dive deeper into image-based CTAs.

Seize opportunities to use infographics

Infographics add more credibility, so they definitely have a potential place in your emails.

They’re an opportunity to educate your audience, which shows the value of your brand that can help you stand out from your competition.

Check out these 11 free graphic design tools that even the biggest non-designer can use.

Tread carefully with stock photos

Stock photos can be a great help when you’re creating visuals for your branded emails.

However, they can be a double-edged sword: They either look professional, or they look generic and inauthentic. 

About 35 percent of marketers say they use stock photos more than any other type of visual content, so if this is the case for your brand, you’re definitely not alone.

Simply take extra care to only select images that look genuine and natural. If it feels artificial to you, it’ll feel artificial to consumers.

Add videos to your emails

Did you know that videos can potentially boost your email click-through rates by about 500 percent?

It’s true. However, you want to make sure you’re using videos correctly within the structure of your email because many email clients will not allow recipients to play your videos inside of emails.

Oftentimes, linking an image with a play button on it to a YouTube video is the best practice.

See our how-to guide for embedding videos into your emails.

Videos give you the opportunity to share:

  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Personalized video messages
  • Tutorials

If you’re still unsure, check out any of these eight email marketing courses online to level up your skills.

While you’re exploring how to use visuals to boost your email conversion rates, consider supercharging your digital marketing process. DailyStory features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Increase your email open rates with these 8 strategies

In the email marketing industry, the consensus is that a good email open rate is between 15 percent and 20 percent.

If you are below this, there are some simple things you can do. But with a little more work, you can get your email open rate much higher.

Increasing your email open rate directly impacts the click rate, too. This leads to more conversions. And conversions directly impact the success of your email marketing campaign(s).

Below are eight strategies to get the highest possible email open rate.

Increasing email open rates requires getting to the inbox

Your first objective with any email campaign is to get to the inbox and not the spam (or junk) folder. Seems obvious, but too often, important steps are skipped.

So, before spending your time tweaking subject lines, A/B testing or doing anything else this article outlines, make sure you’ve set up your email marketing for success.

And, while this may sound surprising, we constantly find marketers sending marketing emails with simple email marketing fundamentals completely ignored: Bad sender domains, missing DNS records and so on.

Dive into these technical email setup details with our guide on email inbox placement and avoiding the junk folder.

Once you have confirmed your email isn’t landing in spam, it’s time to focus on increasing your email open rate.

It starts with the subject line.

A great subject line increases email open rates

The subject line is the first thing people read when they receive your email. The subject line is the determining factor when they decide to open your email, ignore it, trash it or mark it as spam.

Writing a clear, concise subject line is often the difference between a successful email marketing campaign and a failed one.

Below are some recommendations for how to craft a great subject line:

  • Ask a question: This can be as simple as, “Mark, what is your biggest marketing challenge?” A question is a great way to capture the readers’ attention. This is especially useful if you target your question to fit the audience.
  • Announce a product or offer:15% off today for fitness friends like you, Anne.” An offer or announcement that is relevant to the recipient will have a high likelihood of getting read.
  • Offer a solution to a problem:Our SMS marketing delivery rates are 95%.” By addressing a problem the recipient is facing (perhaps with sending SMS marketing, for example), you are positioning yourself as a solution to a problem.
  • Educate:Update your terms of service to adhere to new CCPA laws.” Providing education creates value for the recipient and gives them the information they may need – before they know they need it.

There are many other opportunities. The point is to craft a meaningful subject line that the recipient finds useful and relevant.

See our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Personalize your subject line to increase email open rates

In the preceding examples of email subject lines, several included the recipient’s first name. While you may not always have this data available, personalizing the subject line is a great way to achieve higher open rates.

What should you consider personalizing? First name and company name are the most obvious candidates. However, depending upon the data you have, you can go even further. For example:

  • Bill, you’re an O+ donor, and we’re low on your blood type
  • Amy, we know you love spin class, and we just updated our schedule
  • Tom, your favorite whey shake mix is back in stock
  • You made your 3rd purchase – thank you, Kayley, here is a 15% coupon

In the examples above, the bold text is an example of content that is personalized.

Find out more about the email personalization available through DailyStory.

Use emojis to help your subject line stand out

Most email subject lines can be pretty boring. To increase email open rates, your goal is to stand out!

While not appropriate for every email, use emojis and other non-standard text in your subject line. For example:

  • Amy, the 🎥 [webinar] on SMS marketing for 💪 fitness gyms is tomorrow
  • [Cheat sheet for you] 🔍 the ABCs of A/B testing your emails

Both the bracketed, e.g. [webinar], text and use of emojis helps the email stand out in the inbox. It provides some visual cues to the reader about what the topic of the email is about.

Here is a list of the 100 most commonly used emojis. Just copy/paste into your email subject lines.

Consider different subject line lengths

Marketers love to debate which works better: a short focused subject line or a longer more detailed subject line.

Use a subject line too short, and you miss out on content you could have included.

But long subject lines get clipped on mobile email clients. This prevents them from even being seen. A long subject line also negates the benefit of the email preheader.

Aim for the ‘Goldilocks zone’

The “Goldilocks zone” for your subject line is not too short and not too long.

Therefore, the ideal subject line length is between 40 and 60 characters. This ensures your subject line is readable on any email client. A mobile client allows for less space than a desktop client, and in both cases, a longer subject line may get trimmed.

Staying in the “Goldilocks zone” allows you to optimize the preview text of the email. Set in the preheader.

Use this tool to check how many characters your subject line is. DailyStory has built-in tools to help you optimize your subject line length.

Always use a personalized preheader

Modern email clients show a preview of an email in the inbox. This provides additional information beyond the subject line.

Email clients determine what is shown exclusively by what text comes first in the email.

Set email preheader to increase open rates

While the subject line is the most important factor for your email open rates. The preheader is a very close second. And you should always take as much time writing the preheader as you do the subject line.

A preheader is text content, usually not more than 100 characters, that is added to the top of an email using some advanced HTML. The preheader is a feature provided in modern email marketing platforms.

When the email is opened, the preheader is hidden from view. But, by adding the content to the very top of the email, the preheader ensures that it is the content displayed when the email is previewed.

Learn more about how an email preheader works.

Writing an effective email preheader

The preheader content should not be the same as the subject line. It should be personalized, and while it can include emojis, the preheader should be treated like a small ad or the continuation of the subject line.

If the subject line captures the reader’s interest, the preheader is often used to validate the expected content. For example, here is a sample subject line with a related preheader:

Subject: “📅 Amy, we updated our spin class schedule

Preheader: “More spin classes at 5:30 a.m., 6 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. Be sure to sign up soon as classes are likely to fill up.

In the above preheader example, we include more copy that we expect to be shown in the inbox preview. Any overflow copy will be replaced with ellipses. But that’s OK. Too much is better than too little!

Remember, if you don’t set the preheader, you are letting the email client pick the text it shows. If you care about email open rates, always set the preheader.

DailyStory has built-in tools to tell you if you have the right length for your preheader text.

Don’t ignore the ‘from’ address

You’ve written a killer subject line. Optimized it with personalization, included emojis and complimented it with a preheader that just begs for the reader to open an email.

Don’t hit the “send” button just yet. There is one more thing to do: Set the “from” address.

A basic email address is “hello@example.com.” But an email address can also include a more friendly name. For example, “Rob Howard <rob.howard@example.com>.”

So, why not use something descriptive for your marketing emails, too? For example,  “Marketing Webinars <hello@example.com>.”

Your marketing emails should always come from an email address that identifies who the sender is.

Want to make the email important, make it appear to come from someone senior on your team that customers know? Like your CEO, “Elon Musk <elon.musk@example.com>.”

Is the email about an upcoming webinar? Set the address to include the company name and the focus “Tesla Webinars <hello@example.com>.”

The goal is to use the email address to signal who and what the email is about.

Should I send from a no-reply address?

Generally, we’re not fans of sending from a no-reply address.

Email is meant to be used for discussions.

Furthermore, it’s possible to set a reply address when sending the email so that the email comes from one address, e.g., “Tesla Webinars <hello@example.com>,” but replies are sent to support@example.com.

A/B test to optimize email open rates

Finally, once you’ve optimized everything, test it.

A/B testing works best if you are sending to a large audience and you have some good ideas about your subject line and preheader variations.

See our nine tips for effective A/B testing.

In conclusion

Start by focusing on getting your email to the inbox. Then, turn your attention to the subject line and preheader. Optimize these, and use personalization. And don’t forget about the “from” address.

Following these strategies will help you craft better email marketing campaigns that lead to higher email open rates.

As you’re improving your email open rates, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 expert tips to create an email onboarding sequence that converts

It’s one thing to convert website visitors to email subscribers. It’s another to convert those subscribers into paying customers.

That’s what makes an effective email onboarding sequence so critical to your sales efforts.

An email onboarding sequence is a series of emails intended to deepen the relationship they have with your brand, show them how to make the most out of your product or service and/or get them to use your product or service as much as possible.

A recent study found that about 80 percent of marketers have reported increases in email engagement, while the ROI of email marketing has increased to $55 for every $1 spent on it.

With effective email onboarding, you can increase your customer lifetime value by about 500 percent.

And email marketing in general boasts a high ROI when used strategically.

Onboarding is about nurturing your email recipient with valuable information that builds a trusting relationship and guides them to decide to purchase a product or service from you. It can’t be forced (and there is an art to it), but there are several best practices that can help boost your conversion rate.

The good news is that your subscribers are already interested enough to give you their email addresses in exchange for engaging content and/or more information. (Check out these six ways to collect email addresses without a website.)

You can dive deeper into email drip campaigns (with examples) for further inspiration.

The following are eight expert tips to create an email onboarding sequence that converts leads into paying customers.

Begin with a confirmation email

It might sound simple enough, but you’ll want to verify that every new subscriber is a real person with a legitimate email address.

A concise confirmation email can do just that. The email is sent immediately with a link requesting the recipient verify his or her email address by clicking.

While most will likely confirm right away, you’ll want to include a follow-up confirmation email for anyone who fails to do so.

Of course, when it comes to confirmation emails, the simpler and more direct the better. Focus on a clear call-to-action, which asks the recipient to click to confirm his or her email address.

Seize the welcome email opportunity

This is the first official step (and possibly the most important) of the email onboarding sequence.

It’s your opportunity to make a strong first impression and show your subscribers why they should open future emails from you.

Consider taking the approach of offering guidance and expressing your appreciation for their subscription. Remember, this is about starting to build a relationship. Treat it that way.

Consider multiple sequences

Logic and thinking through engagement scenarios is critical for effective email onboarding sequences. Not all subscribers are going to engage with your business in the same way or even engage with your emails in the same way.

You’ll want to segment your audience to account for these differences so that you’re sending the right messages to the right people at the right time.

Different actions they take (like making a purchase) or actions they don’t take (like failing to open an email) should trigger different sequences.

Personalization helps

Personalizing your email onboarding sequence can increase both your open rates and click-through rates. It can also boost the overall user experience with your emails.

However, the trick to personalization (like including the subscriber’s first name in the subject line of your email) requires data about your audience.

Email addresses alone won’t cut it.

Look at including additional fields to collect more data, such as name, city, age and/or any other information that can help you better personalize your messages.

You also could include a “complete your profile” email in your onboarding sequence as a call-to-action to obtain more data about your subscribers. You can even include an incentive, such as a discount code, to encourage subscribers to do so.

Think mobile first

About 46 percent of all emails are opened on mobile devices. Therefore, mobile optimization for your email onboarding sequence is critical.

Tactics that can help you optimize your emails for mobile include (but are not limited to):

  • Use a responsive email template that automatically resize across devices and screen sizes.
  • Choose simple images that are a smaller file size, which will load more quickly.
  • Keep the character count in your subject line as short as possible since most mobile devices only show so much.

Focus everything around your call-to-action

Setting and achieving goals with your onboarding emails comes down to using the right CTAs at the right time while focusing each email on that CTA.

It’s common to be tempted to stuff too much into any one email. 

Remember who you’re writing to. More than ever, you’re writing for subscribers who often skim more than read.

Time is a valuable resource. No one will feel the need to invest a lot of time reading a long, unfocused email. An email with more than one CTA can also lead to confusion and a loss of subscriber engagement.

Focus your content on capturing the attention of your subscribers and then incentivizing them to take a specific action.

Engaging. Direct. Incentivized. 

Don’t overthink it. Pair your CTA with the right visuals, but the simpler the better.

Think through valuable content for your subscribers

Whether your sequence is educating your subscribers with tips, showing them how to best use your product, sharing how they can get the most out of your service or something else, your content has to be just as well-thought-out as your CTA.

This can include, for example:

  • Video tutorials
  • Freebies, like an ebook or webinar
  • Behind-the-scenes content
  • Q&A with industry-related experts

Whatever the specific content thread, map out each sequence. Then, balance out the anticipated actions that your subscribers could do so that you can meet them where they are every step of the way.

Test as much as possible

Email onboarding sequences shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Testing will help you best understand what will work best with your subscribers.

One way to do this is with A/B testing. It’s about showing two variants of any particular element to different segments of your audience at the same time. You then compare which variant is more successful. A/B testing is also known as split testing.

Check out our nine tips to help you get the most out of your A/B testing efforts.

Plus, you can level up your email marketing skills with any of these eight online courses.

While you’re thinking through your possible email onboarding sequences, consider using DailyStory to optimize your digital marketing process with automations, audience segmentation and more. See more about how we can help, and schedule your free demo today.

Plain text or HTML email – which to use in your next campaign

Plain text emails focus on content versus design.

We’ve read a lot recently about a resurgence of plain text email. And, some email marketers even promote writing exclusively plain text emails instead of using HTML.

We at DailyStory want to share some of the research we’ve done and the recommendations we give our customers.

What is a plain text email?

A plain text email is devoid of images, colors, styles, tables and everything else marketers typically use to make emails as visually attractive as possible. It then sends as text/plain in the body of the email.

It includes no HTML, and any HTML that was included is stripped out.

Below is an example when viewing the raw email content:

An example of a plain text email

Should you send plain text-only emails?

No, you shouldn’t. And writing plain text-only emails is terrible advice.

With today’s modern email clients, there is no reason to send a plain text-only email.


Because writing an email that isn’t overloaded with images, colors, and styles can be a solid strategy for connecting with your intended audience.

Confused? Let’s dig in a little deeper.

Technical background on text/plain email

An email message can include both HTML and plain text content in the same email. And, some email clients now support a third option, AMP content.

This is called Multi-part MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions).

Don’t let the technical jargon scare you. All it means is your email may contain two versions: a plain text (text/plain) version and/or an HTML (text/html) version of your content.

Note that we said “versions” and not “copies.” This is because the text/plain and the text/html content can be different.

Mail clients can be (but usually are not) configured to only display plain text. In fact, configuring an email client to only display plain text is a lot of work.

And most email marketing platforms, including DailyStory, enable you to set both the HTML and plain text versions of your content.

For example, in DailyStory, you can switch between tabs to edit your HTML or text content (or use the drag-and-drop HTML designer).

DailyStory plain text email editor

While we don’t recommend sending plain-text emails, we do still recommend including the content in your email.

Always include plain-text content with your HTML content

You should always include an edited plain-text version of your content in your email in addition to your HTML content. The following are some of the reasons why.

Accessibility is important

People who have difficulty reading for any reason can use accessibility features to read email. Although many readers are capable of reading HTML, make sure to provide an alternative just in case.

Increasing popularity of Internet of Things (IOT), mobile devices, and smartwatches

Including plain text versions of your email content is important to ensure these devices properly display your content in alerts and notifications. Some devices may not have a browser built in to parse HTML content.

Decreased spam score

While some older anti-spam platforms have the ability to flag HTML-only versions of emails as spam, the real culprit is link and image to content ratios. Email with lots of images and links (but very little content) is a red flag. But your sender score and properly configured SPF and DMARC are much more important as it relates to spam scoring.

Some people do choose plain text

Some email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, provide an option for users to only display the text-only version of an email. And some clients are exclusively built for plain text emails, such as Bat and Mutt. But keep in mind that users of these clients are not the target audience for most marketers.

As an example, SPAM Assassin, a popular Open Source anti-spam platform includes a rule MIME_HTML_ONLY. This rules triggers when an email message “only has text/html MIME parts” and is missing a text/plain alternative.

It should be noted that while the points about people choosing plain-text email readers are a real possibility, they are remote and the exception. The majority of modern email clients only display HTML.

While we recommend including content in the plain-text section of your email body, this content doesn’t need to be an exact copy of your HTML version. In fact, you should include only a summary and instead redirect them to an HTML version on your website.

The tactic that you should use as part of your email marketing strategy involves writing HTML emails that appear to be written as plain text.

Write HTML email that looks like Plain Text

So, what is the reason for writing an email that looks like a plain-text email?

  • Improved delivery: As an example, Gmail identifies HTML-dense emails as non-personal and thus less important. Because of this, it filters those emails to the “Everything else” category or worse, as “Spam.” This makes these messages more difficult to find.
  • It looks more personal: Email that isn’t HTML-heavy is perceived to be more personal. Because of this, it has a higher open rate than HTML-heavy emails.
  • It is easier to read: Simple emails – such as the ones you send to your friends or co-workers – are easier to read. This is both because of substance and style. Expect these emails as less formally written and not overloaded with links.
  • Readability on mobile devices: Related to mobility and the Internet of Things (IOT), more and more people read emails on mobile devices. And reading complex HTML emails on mobile devices can be frustrating.
  • Support for linked text: HTML email can use anchors to hide complex links. And the links can be as long and complex as required to capture click tracking data. A plain text-only email can’t use links and must include the full URL.
  • Track when the email is opened: Embedded tracking tags enable your email marketing platform to detect when an email is opened or viewed. This is only possible with HTML email.
  • Brand affirmation and identity: Logos and brand colors ensure that the recipient quickly identifies with the brand. This can create a level of trust beyond what can be accomplished with plain-text email.

Hopefully, by now, you realize that the best strategy is to use varying levels of HTML in your email marketing.

How much HTML to use in your email

We’ve laid out the case for HTML email and to avoid plain text-only email. Next, let’s talk briefly about how much HTML you should use.

For the sake of simplicity, we’ve identified three categories.

In reality, there is a continuum of very light HTML to very heavy HTML. The guidance below should give you a general idea of where you need to be based on your objectives.

  • Plain HTML email: HTML formatting used to look like it is text only. It may include basic stylings, such as bold text and links. An image may be included as part of the signature.
  • Light HTML email: Light HTML formatting. Typically a logo or other image, and some light formatting beyond a plain HTML email.
  • Heavy HTML email: HTML formatting that makes no attempt to appear as plain text. Typically with lots of images, colors, and laid out with tables.

Let’s look at some examples.

Plain HTML email

Check out this simple example of a cold email below that’s written to appear as a simple email. The objective here is for Anna, your recipient, to click the link or reply to the email.

Light HTML email

Here is a simple example of an email with light HTML markup. We’ve included images and some light styling.

Heavy HTML email

Here is an example of an HTML email that makes heavy use of HTML.

Choosing when to write a plain HTML email, light HTML email, or heavy HTML email depends on several factors:

  • Sender: Is this email sent from an individual or an alias?
  • Audience: Is the email meant to appear personal or impersonal?
  • Personalization: Is the email personalized to the recipient?
  • Purpose: Is the email communicating status or requiring an action?
  • Reply: Is a response required from the email?

Deeper dive into factors for the amount of HTML used

Plain HTML Email Light HTML Email Heavy HTML Email
Sender Appears to come from a person, e.g. anna@example.com Appears to come from a person, but on behalf of an application, e.g. anna@example.com Clearly comes from an application, e.g. orders@example.com
Audience Personal, one-to-one communication. One-to-one communication, but more formal. One-to-many communication. Formal.
Personalization Speaking to the person. Written for the person. Written about the person.
Purpose Solicit a direct reply. Generate a call-to-action. Solicit a call-to-action or is purely informational.
Reply Desired outcome Optional Not expected

Recommendation: For HTML-heavy emails where you don’t expect a reply, don’t use a no-reply email address.

Key points

Instead of writing plain text-only email, write HTML-light email. The majority of modern email clients all support HTML, and there are many benefits from even light use of HTML.

Always include a plain-text version of your email content along with your HTML version. The plain-text version should be a synopsis and ideally references a URL.

Choose the right amount of HTML to use depending on factors, such as the audience and the purpose of the message.

Personal communication should be light on HTML whereas broad impersonal communication can use heavier HTML.

Share your tips and ideas. We’d love your feedback!

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