Text in email how much to use and what to say


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Comm100 Email Marketing tells you how to optimize your use of text in email template and all of the best practices of email text.

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Text in email how much to use and what to say

  1. 1. Text in Email: How Much to Use and What to SayIf theres one thing that we learned in the previous sections, its that the text in email is incrediblyimportant. No matter how you integrate images and even video into your email marketing, email is stillprimarily a text medium. So how do you optimize your use of text in email template? This section willsummarize all of the best practices of email text.Font Style, Color, and Size. What’s Best to Use for Text in Emails?For the purposes of your email template, the font style, color, and size that you use only needs to meetone criterion. It needs to be readable. In general, a font size of ten or eleven and a non-serif font such asArial in a traditional black color will be most readable in the smaller resolutions of many email viewingdevices (remember, these days, your email may be getting read on a tablet or even smaller mobiledevice). We will talk later about the best ways to code your email templates, but if you are not using apre-made template then its always best to code your fonts using tags rather than CSS. Gmail, inparticular, will force you to use inline CSS which makes it just as time and control valuable to simply usefont tags.If your brand guidelines dictate the use of another font size or style, consider using that font size or stylefor headlines. Do some testing of display and readability and remember that designing an emailtemplate is not the same as designing a webpage or piece of print marketing collateral. You may want toallow some flexibility with brand font guidelines to improve email display rendering and response rate.Headlines: How Big?As we previously discussed, headlines will be incredibly important in inciting customer action in emails,especially when your images may or may not load in various email service providers. How big shouldyour headlines be? And what color? Again, the most important thing in this case may not be brandadherence. It will be display rendering in the email as well as the ability to draw attention to theheadline. In truth, the amount and placement of the headline real estate will also matter. To a certaindegree, so will spam and email deliverability concerns.Lets discuss the spam and deliverability concerns first as they are fairly simple. If you use too manyheadlines in your email in relation to the full content of the email, then you may suffer a spam scorepenalty. Additionally, the excessive use of red fonts has also been proven to be on the "spam watch list"for several email providers. Whats the importance of this? You want to use headlines, but not inabundance. When possible (and it should always be possible), you should play it safe and not have yourheadline be in a red font. 1
  2. 2. Real estate in the email is also important. Its important to have at least one headline above the fold inthe top two inches of your email to ensure that the most important message gets seen in the previewwindow. However, the more large headlines that you put in the top part of the email, the less overallinformation that you can convey. Make sure to include a headline in the top section of your email, butdont use so many headlines that its not possible to give more information to your users or subscribersthan just the headline content.In terms of size and color of email headlines, you simply want to ensure that the headline is big and boldenough to draw attention without being so big that it becomes the only focal point in the emailtemplate. Use your best design judgment.How Much Text in Email Should You Use?When deciding how much text to use in your email template, its actually a fine line to walk. Youcertainly want enough text included to engage users and incite them to either make a purchase or clickthrough to your website. However, the more text that you include in the body of your email, the moreyou risk being flagged as spam by spam filters at various email providers.One solution, and the one that we would recommend, is to use sections of teaser copy that then provide"read more" or "learn more" or "read the rest of this article" links to full pages on your website. After all,the primary goal of your email is to drive users to your website or landing page where they areultimately more likely to convert to purchasers or to give you a page impression. Blocks of text in emailof a hundred to a hundred and fifty words are often more than sufficient to convey the message orinformation.Remember, most users will scan your email for less than two seconds before they decide to read it or todelete it. If you include too much text in email, they may simply decide that its "too much to read."Select the most enticing sales points of your text and convert them into teaser blurbs that then link tolanding pages or your website.What Should You Say?What should you say in your email? The basic answer to this is, "Whatever your customers want tohear!" Of course, thats not entirely true. Determining what text will resonate with your subscribers andcause clicks and conversions is, unfortunately, a long testing process in most cases. The more that youcan test different theories of content and find out what words, content categories, offers, and articletypes get the best response from your email recipients, the better. Once youve determined thatinformation, you can craft a forward-looking email content plan. On a basic level, however, here aresome key points that you should keep in mind: 2
  3. 3.  Seasonal content is always a good idea. If the holidays are right around the corner, incorporate holiday messages into your content plan so that youre writing about things that are relevant and on your customers minds.  The baseline for content should always be: Is this something that will be valuable to my users?  If you are emailing an offer that has terms and conditions, make sure that the terms and conditions are mentioned in the email. That may simply mean including a line that says, "This offer subject to terms and conditions as listed on the website," or it could be comprehensive. If you do not include a statement of terms and conditions, however, youre setting yourself up for customer service phone calls and emails later on.  The more that you can craft content that will stand out in the inbox, the better. Its a crowded email marketing world out there. If your competitors are all emailing about advice on toasters, be sure to email about advice on how to make the best toast instead!  Do some competitor research to get good content ideas. Especially if you have competitors with a well-established email program, they may have already researched what makes great newsletter content. Taking a look at what theyve done can save you time and effort.What Should You Not Say?What should you not say in your email text? The rules are pretty simple!  Dont lie or mislead customers. Not only could this ruin your brand reputation and create customer service nightmares, but in certain cases it could ultimately get you into CAN- SPAM trouble.  Dont say things that are offensive or hateful. While theres nothing legally preventing you from doing so, its just not nice!  Dont use words that may trigger spam flags. As a general rule, if your email reads like spam email that youve received in the past, it will likely be treated as spam email.Other than that, you are entitled to your free speech in your email newsletter or marketing email. Behonest, be nice and be aware of what words may get you into the spam or junk folder (hint: free!).Using Font Styles or All CapsUsing various font styles and all caps can certainly help your emails performance. Because subscribersand recipients will scan your email quickly, using bolded fonts and all caps fonts on key, important wordsand phrases can make those words and phrases jump out at a user and make them aware that there issomething of interest to them in the email. Select the words that you know (or suspect but have not yettested) will engage your users. For example, pretend that you sell stuffed unicorns and you know that astuffed pink unicorn is very rare to find and desired by your users. In any email that you send out, thewords "stuffed pink unicorn" should be bolded and/or listed in all caps. That way, your users will seewhen scanning the email that there is a reference to a product that they have a high interest in. 3
  4. 4. Its best to bold some words and use all caps for other words and then, occasionally, use both. Not onlydoes mixing up the font styles (and in some cases colors or sizes) help to draw user attention toimportant keywords and concepts, it also makes the email more visually interesting to scan. This isespecially important if youve chosen to dramatically reduce the use of images in your email templatefor the purpose of deliverability or usability. Dont use the same font style technique to highlight everyinstance. Mix things up to create a visually arresting email.Dont overdo it though! If you cram stylized font treatments into every tenth word, youll ultimatelymake the email template harder to read. Youll also take away the importance of the words that areusing the stylized font, and readers will have a harder time telling whats most important to them inyour text in email.Finally, dont rely too heavily on italicized fonts. In the context of an email template, which typically hassmaller chunks of text in smaller spaced, italicized text can actually present a readability problem.The Call to ActionOf course, potentially the most important text in email newsletter or template will be the call to action.Depending on the design and purpose of your newsletter or marketing email, you may have a single callto action or multiple calls to action. Whether youre only asking users to click one link or whether youreproviding multiple opportunities for them to take advantage of offers, buy products, or click-through toread the full version of an article, there are some basic keys that you should keep in mind with the textin email template for your call to action.  Keep it short. The longer you make the call to action, the more likely it is to be misunderstood or overlooked by your readers.  Bold your calls to action.  Make sure that your calls to action look like a link. Dont sacrifice making it easy for readers and users to know where to click to take the action that you want them to take from your email for slick looking design. Blue, underlined call-to-action links will still work best.  Separate your calls to action out from the surrounding text with a paragraph or line break.  Dont be afraid to tell users to click! In basic web design, using the words "click here" is often frowned upon. However, in an email template where ensuring that you drive clicks is so critically important, the words "click here" can keep a call to action both short and effective.As a general design rule for text in email, you want your calls to action to be highly visible, not buriedwithin the text and to use words that make it clear to users what you want them to do.Should the Text in Your Text Version Email be the Same as the HTML VersionWhether you choose to only send a text-based email or whether youre sending a multi-part message 4
  5. 5. thats part text and part html, you should take a moment to think about the content in the text versionof your email. In some cases, email marketers choose to simply default to the text that they used in thehtml version within the text version and use text copies of links instead of coded calls to action wherethere would have been html links in the html version of the email.Given the increasing number of people who will be reading your email as text only on a mobile device,its worth your time to put some more effort into the text included in the text-only version of youremail. Nobody wants to look at an email of typed out links!In general, the best practice for the text in a text based version of an email will be to write a somewhatshortened version of the text that you used in your html email, and at both the bottom and the top ofthe email provide the url where users can see the online version of your email.Its also important that urls that you provide in the text-based version of your email are short and easyto remember! Youll be counting on users to actually type (or potentially copy-and-paste) those urls intoa browser. In some cases, youll be counting on users to remember those urls once they close theiremail. Make urls promoted in text-based versions of your email short for optimum usage.Best Practices for Text in EmailWe just covered a great deal of information about using text in an html email or a text-based email.Heres a summary of the best practices to remember regarding using text in emails. Keep It Readable: No matter what your brand or font usage on websites or in print marketing collateral, the most important thing about the text in email is that it is readable. Arial font in a ten to eleven point size in black typically reads the easiest in most email clients. Not Too Many Headlines: Using multiple headlines is fine, but dont over-clutter your email with them. It will make the email less readable and may count against your spam score. Avoid Overusing Red Fonts: Too many red fonts used in email text have been shown to trigger spam score increases. Use an off-shade of red or an alternative color if youre using multiple headlines. One Headline Above-the-Fold: Try to get at least one headline in the top two inches of your email template to excite users. However, dont make that headline so big that you cant get other information into that extremely valuable section of the email template. Dont Make Headlines Too Big: Dont make your headlines so big that they break the design of your email template or otherwise clutter it and make it difficult to read. 5
  6. 6. Limit the Amount of Text in Email: Include as much text in email as you need to in order to make your point and get users excited. However, remember that the more text that you include, the more you run the risk of going to the spam or junk folder. Consider teaser sections of text with links to full landing pages or article pages. Compelling Content: Seasonal content, content that competitors with successful email programs have promoted, and content that will stand out in a cluttered inbox and should all be incorporated into your email content plan. Include Terms and Conditions: If you are emailing an offer that includes terms and conditions or limitations, be sure to mention or include them in the email promoting the offer. Dont Overuse Spam Words: Words like "free", "$" and "credit" can trigger spam filters. That doesnt mean that you cant use them in your email, just be wary of how much and how often you use them. Use Font Styles, Colors and Caps: Mix up the visual presentation of your email by pulling out "trigger" words for your users and putting them in a bolded font, a font that is a separate color, an all-caps font or any combination of the above. Avoid Italics: Italics in an email client can often negatively impact readability. Calls-to-Action: Calls-to-action should be short, should be bolded, should look like links, should be separated from the surrounding text with a paragraph break, and should clearly tell users what you want them to do. Text Versions of Your Email: When creating the text-only version of your email, shorten the copy and use short-version, easy-to-remember urls to increase user return.No matter what email marketing strategy you are taking, the first step to ensure a successful emailcampaign is to choose a reliable email sending partner. Comm100, who provides this comprehensiveemail marketing ebook, offers you powerful Email Marketing Software, which is both a great long-termand short-term solution to improving your email marketing program to a new level. For moreinformation please visit : http://emailmarketing.comm100.com/ 6