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Email: update and split test your templates

Why?

I still see a lot of charities sending their newsletters and mailshots using very formal, over designed templates.  There’s a few issues with this:

  • Email is a personal medium – the more your emails look like an email from a real person as opposed to an organisation, the more likely people are to engage with them 
  • Emails that use heavily branded templates, lots of images and the ‘view this email in your browser’ link at the top, are more likely to end up in a subscriber’s Spam folder or the Promotions tab

Try a stripped-back email template and see what kind of results it gets. By stripped-back, I mean:

  • Minimal branding – just put your logo in the footer or the top right of the email
  • No header image. If you need to include images, put them below the opening salutation and first paragraph.
  • Remove the ‘view this email in your browser’ link
  • No headlines – the email should open with the salutation. Always personalise with the first name field
  • Plain white background, no coloured layout blocks
  • One single column of text
  • Sender name and signature should be a real person in your organisation, not just the organisation name

If you’re not sold on this approach, it’s really easy to set up an A/B split test. Send your usual template to half your list, and a stripped-back version to the other half. See which gets the better result.

How?