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3 Tips for Optimizing Email Content in Real Time

Learn these must‑know tactics to successfully prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

You’ve done all the planning and strategizing. Now it’s time to get the word out about your business. When you’re activating your campaigns, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make them as effective as possible. That’s how we can help. You no longer need to wait until your campaign ends to analyze performance data. We’ve set up tools that help you get ahead of the game so you can skip some of the learning and get straight to optimizing.

Focus on your subject lines

One row in their inbox—a subject line and preview text—is all the space you have to convince someone to open your email. The effectiveness of your subject line can be the most crucial part of your email campaign.

We recently conducted an analysis of more than 24 billion emails to find the common denominators of our most successful email campaigns when it came to open rates, and found some useful trends.

First, keep it short and snappy: we recommend no more than 9 words or 60 characters. We found that personalization works, specifically using both the readers’ first and last names, which leads to double the open rate compared to using only their first or last name.

Next, create some urgency, or even FOMO (fear of missing out) for your readers: new product or event announcements and limited time offers are proven ways to increase open rates. Even including words like “urgent” or “important” may increase open rate, but use those sparingly.

At Mailchimp, we send over 10,000 emails every second. Our machine learning AI analyzes all those emails and helps you on things like word count, punctuation, and yes, even emoji (😎) use. Our subject line helper can be your editor in real time to make sure you’re being as effective as possible with your emails.

Be at the top of the inbox

When your customers get your emails, timing matters, and that time is not the same for everybody. Whether it’s catering to different time zones or just your customers’ personal usage habits, the exact timing of your email can mean the difference between being at the top of their inbox or being buried below the spam.

Check through your website analytics (or get started on that today by integrating Google Analytics), which can tell you when your site is getting the most traffic. Your social media channels should have similar measurements about when the most people are engaging with your brand. Start there and use that information as a guide. Continue tinkering until you get the most optimal results.

If you have a Standard plan or above, you can also use our Send Time Optimization feature, which can take the guesswork out of when your users are most active. It’s a tool that uses data science to determine when your contacts are most likely to engage, and sends your emails at that time.

Make sure your content seals the deal

Congratulations! You got your timing and subject line right, and your customer opened your email. There’s no one-size-fits-all for every audience, but here are a few things to ask and consider as you get started.

  • Is it skimmable? Is your message clear and concise or is it convoluted? You may not have the readers’ entire attention, and you won’t have it for long, so make sure you are getting across your key points in easily digestible ways.

  • Is it visually interesting? Is there a way to add relevant imagery to keep your reader’s eye in a way that fits with your style and brand?

  • Is your typography consistent? Keeping consistent fonts and headline structure can help draw the reader’s eye through your content.

  • Does it accomplish your goal? It could be awareness of your website, a transactional email, or one of many other email objectives. Do you have buttons and CTAs that drive to your desired action?

From there, the key is to continue optimizing. Try A/B testing small tweaks to improve performance over time. Or, if you have a Standard or Premium plan, you can skip some of the learning process with our brand new Content Optimizer we launched in time for the holiday season.

The Content Optimizer compares email content against best practices and offers suggestions to improve copy, imagery, and layout to help drive better performance of future campaigns. That means data-driven feedback about your links, CTAs, your copy, and your visuals—all to make sure your marketing is as effective as possible, before the whole world gets to see it.

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