All you need to do to increase your email clickthrough rate (CTR) is to implement every single technique you can find on the net which promises a massive boost. Pretty soon your CTR will exceed your open rate, and a bit later you’ll be getting more clicks than emails sent. Keep going and you’ll exceed the number of people on Earth! OK, if you want to get back to reality then you can implement these top three tactics that really do work!

Where’s the headline? Above the fold!

Research has shown that 93% of your email recipients never scroll down past the fold. So when you’re looking at your email design, consider that whatever time and effort and energy you’re putting into all those elements you’re integrating below the fold will only ever be seen by less than one out of 13 recipients. Therefore you don’t need a Ph.D. in digital design to figure out that your critical links have to be set high and dry as far up on the email page as you can possibly get them. Keep in mind that in the age of mobile emails when there are over 600 screen types on Android alone “the fold” varies greatly. Where the fold lies on a 30” 2560 x 1600 is going to be five times more pixels down the screen than on a 426 x 320 smartphone in landscape mode. Therefore, where is the “safe area” for links? The answer is right there: The top 320 pixels! Place all your links there and you’ll be giving your recipients the best chance to actually see them and act on them. Of course it goes without saying that if you are one of the ghastly email senders who force your customers to (gasp) horizontally scroll, you’ll need to place your links in the top left hand side of your layouts, no more than 426 pixels to the right of that margin.

Segmentation is not just for oranges

Yes, it is 2013, well into the third decade of bona fide large scale email marketing and it literally boggles the imagination as to just how many online brands are still sending the same email to each and every single recipient on their list. Segmentation is not what is done to oranges in fancy restaurants, it’s the very lifeblood of email marketing and you are abandoning any hopes of seriously boosting your CTR unless you are segmenting your list into at least these categories:

  • Geography
  • Demographics
  • Behavior
  • Purchase history

Doesn’t it make perfect sense that the customer in Minneapolis is going to be less interested in your January bikini promotion than the one in Key West, or that the new and improved mobility scooter is going to have limited appeal to your 18 to 24 age group? You would think so, but there are some email marketers out there who are still resisting this meat and potatoes aspect to obtaining higher CTRs… or for that matter any CTR at all.

Testing, 1, 2, 3, Testing

Just like there are some who do not segment there are others who do not test. Failing to test emails is somewhat tantamount to handing out college diplomas at a test-free institution. “You attended class, you pass!” Even though tat may be Nirvana to millions of student slackers, it’s a poor way to run an academic program and just as poor a way to run an email campaign. The most popular element to test is the all-important subject line, but don’t stop there as you can get critical data by also testing:

  • Message (greeting, body, closing)
  • Call To Action
  • Layout
  • Images
  • Day of the week sent
  • Time of day sent
  • Personalization
  • Landing Page
  • Target Audience
  • From Line

A/B split testing is the workhorse of the industry, but when your math skills are up to the challenge don’t ignore multivariate testing which allows you to accurately test more than one factor at once, significantly increasing the amount and accuracy of your data.

Will integrating all three of these factors increase CTRs hundredfold? No, but they’re the most effective and realistic boosts available!