This is a contributed post from Kevin George of Email Monks.

Email metrics are critical when it comes to gauging your email campaign performance.

If you are struggling with constantly underperforming email campaigns, it is time you revamp your email design and improve your subscriber engagement.

The key metrics that you should consider are your email open rate, click-through rate, bounce rate, and unsubscribes.

Let’s discuss how you can improve your email design based on the email metrics.

First things first, we shall start with the open rate.

1. Open rate

Email open rate means the percentage of the total number of subscribers who opened your email campaign. Usually a low email open rate suggests that your email subject line or preheader does not intrigue the reader enough.

Here’s how you can modify your email design and improve your open rate.

Craft catchy subject lines

The subject line is the first thing that your subscribers see whenever they receive your email. Therefore, you should write engaging subject lines that can capture the subscriber’s attention and compel them to open the email.

Write short, sweet and personalized subject lines that match the email copy and arouse the subscriber’s curiosity.

Pro-tip: Using emojis in subject lines is a good idea to draw the subscriber’s eye and enhance your open rates.

Here are some examples to help you out:

subject line examples

Write a relevant preheader text

Many brands overlook the importance of a preheader text. Instead of having your preheader text as “View this email online”, it should elaborate the subject line and throw some more light on what the email is about.

Urban Outfitters email example

Send the email from a recognizable from name

The from name is an important aspect that influences your open rates.

Make sure it is credible enough and the recipient recognizes it.

Check out the screenshot below:
from name examples
Pro-tip: Get your email address whitelisted from your subscribers by asking them to add you to their address book.

Have a look at the email by Butlin’s:Butlin's email example

2. Click-through rates

Click-through rate is the percentage of the total number of subscribers who click-through your email campaign. Usually, if a subscriber opens your email but does not click, it could mean that the subscriber did not find your offer interesting enough to prompt the next action.

Read on to learn some tricks on how you can improve your click-through rates by tweaking your email designs.

Create personalized emails

Personalization works wonders when it comes to enhancing your email click-through rates. Segment your list based on the demographics, past purchases, the buyer’s journey, and the stage of buying cycle before sending out any email.

For example: Have a look at this personalized email sent by Travelocity:
Travelocity email example
Pro-tip: You can apply the principles of artificial intelligence to send more personalized emails to your subscriber like Netflix does.Netflix email example

Add interactivity to your emails

Interactivity in emails helps you to engage your subscribers better by creating an impactful visual. It highlights the offer in an interesting way and makes your email stand out from the pack. This is especially true for occasion email marketing and holiday emails.

See how Boden sends out a quirky GIF email during Christmas to grab more eyeballs from the subscribers:
Boden email reindeer
Pro-tip: You can also use countdown in emails to promote limited time offers and create urgency just like Macy’s does. This will help drive instant click-throughs and higher conversions.Macy's email example

Gamify your emails

Gamification adds an element of fun in your emails, thereby enhancing the user experience and reward-based engagement. It can be effectively used to collect surveys and boost customer loyalty programs. Ascertain the motivators that can encourage the desired subscriber behavior and prepare a gamification strategy around it. This will pique the interest of the recipient and build a better brand reputation.

Make the CTA stand out

Your CTA placement and design determines the click-through rates for your email. Make sure your CTA is placed in such a way that it easily gets noticed.

It should be easily tappable for the mobile users too.

Check the CTA in the email by Hollister and the pulsatory movement given to the important phrase – ‘Last day!’:
Hollister email example
Pro-tip: Your CTA directs to the landing page and that in turn decides the fate of your conversion. Therefore, you should have a well-designed landing page in sync with the respective email campaign.

J. Hilburn presents the perfect example of consistently designed email and landing page:
J Hilburn example

Create accessible emails

Accessibility is of paramount importance. Design accessible emails so that everyone can read your emails and understand the message it is trying to convey.

3. Bounce rates

Bounce rate implies the percentage of email addresses in your subscriber list that failed to receive your email as it got returned by the recipient mail server. Bounce rates can be of two types, namely hard bounce and soft bounce.

Hard bounce is the one wherein the recipient’s mail server rejected the email and returned it to the sender without delivering it.

Soft bounce, on the other hand, is a temporary failure in delivery despite being accepted by the recipient’s mail server.

We shall focus on how to reduce hard bounces as it directly impacts the deliverability of your emails.

Use double opt-in

Invalid email addresses are the primary culprit for hard bounces and a higher bounce rate. A simple workaround for this problem is to employ a double opt-in strategy wherein a verification email is sent to the users once they provide their email address for sign up. Moreover, prune your email list and weed out the hard bounces at regular intervals. This will help you maintain your email list hygiene and prevent hard bounces.

Follow the design best practices

Spam filters do not appreciate flashy emails. Design subtle emails without using too many bold colors like red and green. According to your overall email length, set the text to image ratio at 80/20. Do not hide your unsubscribe button.

Avoid typing your emails in capitals, using too many exclamation marks, and sending emails with attachments as it triggers the spam filters.

Pro-tip: MailingCheck and IsNotSpam can help you check the email for spam. Use it to mitigate the bounce rate.

Always test before hitting ‘Send’ button

Test the emails for flawless rendering on the diverse email clients, all devices, and browsers.

4. Unsubscribes

Unsubscribe is the biggest blasphemy for any email marketer. Imagine all the hard work that you put in and then someone just brutally unsubscribes. It hurts! So, here are some tips that can help you reduce the unsubscribe rate.

Design fast-loading emails

Add light-weight animations and images in your emails so that they do not hamper the loading speed. Take a minimalistic approach to design more appealing emails.

Pro-tip: Always have a ‘View Online’ link and Alt-text for all your images and visual elements. This will serve the purpose of the email even on email clients that block the images by default.

Ask for feedback and make necessary amendments

High Frequency of the emails could be a reason for too many unsubscribes. You can ask for feedback from the subscribers, allow them to set preferences and modify your strategy accordingly. Moreover, share your social media links so that they can connect with you on alternative channels except email.

Relevance is the key

Irrelevant emails can compel your subscribers to unsubscribe or mark your email as spam. As said earlier, segment, personalize, and design relevant emails that match the subscriber interests and preferences. Consequently, your unsubscribe rate will go down.

Wrapping Up

Gather insights from your subscriber metrics and correlate them to conversions and revenue. Optimize your email design elements taking into account these details and drive the desired business goals with your email campaigns.

Happy Emailin’!

Kevin George, the Head of Marketing at EmailMonks, one of the fastest growing email design and coding companies, specializes in crafting email newsletter design templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and provides free responsive html email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices at his EmailMonks blog.