Boost Your ROI With These 13 Email Tips

For tech-forward financial institutions, email may not seem like the most cutting-edge marketing tool – but don’t count it out. With data showing a $40 ROI for every $1 spent on email marketing in 2023, it’s a must-have in any digital toolkit. And community banks and credit unions that are eager to engage Gen Z and millennial prospects should know that email is still the preferred channel for personalized brand communications across all age groups. But to ensure your emails hit the mark, it’s crucial to avoid common errors that can sabotage your efforts. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of 13 expert tips to use with a test send and help you eliminate any potential problems.

  1. Confirm That All Your Links Work: Click on every link in your email to ensure it directs to the intended destination. Broken and missing links can negatively impact your email’s effectiveness and negatively impact your brand, making it essential to detect and fix them before sending your email out. It’s common to use an image as a call-to-action (CTA) button, but it’s easy to forget to link it properly. Take a moment to verify that all anchor text, CTAs, social media follow/sharing icons, and images are correctly linked before sending out your email.
  2. Test Your Social Media Buttons: Social media sharing buttons are a great way to expand your email’s reach, but they can be fragile and prone to malfunctioning. Test out all social media sharing buttons to ensure they’re working correctly. If a social sharing button doesn’t work, your recipients will be unable to share your content, leading to missed opportunities for engagement. What’s more, a malfunctioning button can harm your company’s reputation, so be sure to check and fix any issues.
  3. Proofread Your Copy: In the world of marketing, spelling and grammar are crucial factors that can impact the success of your email campaigns. To ensure your email is error-free, consider using applications like Grammarly to catch any slip-ups. Always be sure to spell-check your email before hitting the send button.
  4. Confirm Image Quality and Alt Text: Images are a critical component of any email, but they can also be a source of frustration if they’re not displaying correctly. To ensure that your images are doing their job effectively, check that they are of good quality and are associated with appropriate alt text. This will provide context to the reader in case an image doesn’t render properly. Additionally, make sure that your images are displaying properly and are not distorted, stretched, squished, or pixelated.
  5. Think Formatting: Formatting problems can make your email appear unprofessional and difficult to read, potentially reducing its effectiveness. Ensure your email’s formatting looks how you intended it to, including proper bullet point display. Test the email by viewing it in various email clients and on different devices to make sure that the formatting is consistent.
  6. Pay Attention to Design: Your email design should be visually appealing and easy to read. Confirm that your font color is clear and easy to read and that blocks of color don’t make it difficult to read the text layered on top. Check that your brand is easily recognizable, and that your message has a clear focus. Also, ensure that the colors used in the email are visible on all devices. Not all colors suit emails, such as light colors, hues, and shades.
  7. Use an Effective Subject Line and Sender Name: The subject line and sender name are crucial in making a strong first impression and enticing recipients to open your email. Use a real sender name, rather than a generic email address. Keep your subject lines brief, informative, and under 50 characters. A well-crafted subject line and sender name can increase open rates and engagement with your email content.
  8. Comply With CAN-SPAM Requirements: To avoid legal trouble and protect your brand’s reputation in email marketing, it’s crucial that your messages conform to the CAN-SPAM Act. This involves providing a clear way for recipients to opt out of your emails, including your physical mailing address in each email, and ensuring that your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” subject line, and routing information are not misleading or falsified. It’s important to be aware of and follow all the requirements of the CAN-SPAM Act to avoid potential penalties of up to $16,000 per violation.
  9. Provide the Option to View in a Browser: Providing a link to the web-based version of your email is a simple yet effective way to ensure that your email appears as intended, even if there are rendering issues on certain devices or email clients. Many email service providers allow you to automatically create a web-based version of your email. Including a link to the web-based version in your email provides recipients with an alternative way to view your content.
  10. Optimize for Plain Text: While HTML emails can be visually stunning, it’s essential to ensure that your email is also optimized for plain text. This guarantees that all recipients, regardless of their email client or device, can access your content. To optimize for plain text, make sure to include engaging email copy, shortened links, headers in all caps, plain text bullet points, and alt text on all images. Additionally, use your email service provider’s plain text preview to test how your email appears to recipients who have plain text email settings.
  11. Ensure Accessibility Across Devices, Browsers, and Email Clients: To guarantee that your email looks and operates as intended, it’s important to test it across a variety of devices, browsers, and email clients. This includes testing on both desktop and mobile devices, as well as on various email clients such as Outlook, Gmail, and Apple Mail.
  12. Make It Personal: Personalizing an email campaign can be as simple as using the recipient’s name instead of a generic “Dear Account Holder.” Beyond that, consider segmenting your email lists into specific life stages and goals (like student, new homeowner, and pre-retiree) and using dynamic content to tailor your message. Additionally, you can use triggered emails to deliver narrowly targeted content based on specific behaviors like opening a new account or abandoning a loan application.
  13. Consider Your Value Proposition: Finally, ask yourself if the content of the email provides true value to the reader. Have you explained what’s in it for them? The recipient of your email should be able to clearly understand why they should care about what you’re offering. Ensure your email delivers on its promise and provides the reader with a clear benefit or solution to their problem.

In today’s digital age, email marketing is a crucial component of any financial institution’s digital strategy. If you don’t have the time to build the right email marketing campaign, LIGHTSTREAM is here to help. Contact us today to learn how we can increase your efficiency through an expertly designed and executed email marketing strategy.