Welcome to Thanx Media’s “Elements of E-Commerce” blog series. Follow along as we wade through the nuts and bolts of e-commerce technologies that you need to know.

Today we’re diving into modern email marketing. Emails are some of the strongest marketing tools available—email is 40 times as effective at engaging customers compared to social media. But we all know about cluttered inboxes, so do we really think anyone is opening all those email blasts? As it turns out, personalized emails are pretty effective. But customers need them to be engaging, focused and relevant to keep them from a quick trash click.

In this post, we’ll go through some of the best practices for successful email marketing using personalization. Join us in our follow-up post, Email Marketing with Automation & Data Analysis, which will walk you through automation solutions that keep your email marketing up to date and your customer base growing.

Email Marketing Best Practices to Personalize & Engage

⋅  Grow your email lists from signups — Don’t bother buying mailing lists; there is way too much email, and consumers do not have the time or patience to open email from sites they don’t recognize.

⋅  Catch attention with your headers, especially by personalizing — Subject-lines and preview lines are your chance to grab attention. Personalizing the subject line to include your reader’s name or a demonstrated interest make it more likely (26% more likely) they will care enough to read further.

⋅  Don’t end personalization at the subject line. With automation, you can keep personalizing from subject line through text and any footers.

⋅  Keep your emails short and write good copy — Readers’ attention span is best kept by 50-125 words that are well written, and entertaining or interesting (not just attention-grabbing).

⋅  Make content interactive — Asking your reader to engage with your message is the best way to help the message sink in and capitalizes on the attention already given to the email. Try some of these:

º  In-email buttons that navigate your reader to complete a call-to-action (CTA)

º  In-email navigation, with hamburger menus or search

⋅  Use animation and video — Make sure your reader can see your message easily, even if they don’t fully read your content; animations, like thoughtful and relevant GIFs, and short videos are easy to consume and easy to remember. These also help emails feel interactive.

⋅  Tie your emails to the customer journey — Make emails personalized by responding to the customer’s behavior, e.g. reminding customers of items in their carts. Automation offers the ability to respond to many different behaviors with targeted email; we will look at these more closely in the second part of our email-marketing discussion, so check back!

⋅  Use the captured attention of transactional emails — Emails such as order confirmations and receipts are viewed 4-8 times more often than other marketing emails. Why waste this time with your customer? Include more information that will entice the customer back.

⋅  Send live social media feeds via email — Expand the reach of a Twitter or Facebook feed by sending updates via email. Don’t send every update and do make sure this type of email is targeted to the reader’s interests.

Check back for our continued discussion: learn how to implement these email-marketing goals.