Design Your Emails To Get More Responses

Of course you want subscribers to open and read your

Of course you want subscribers to open and read your email newsletters. Everyone wants that. But what you want even more is for them to take action, right?

When I was working with customers to optimize their email campaigns, I was on the lookout for strategies that help improve message. You first need to get the subscriber to open your message, then the ultimate goal is usually to get the subscriber to take action.

If you’re looking for ways to increase the number of responses your emails get, there are three things you should try…

Include a Web-Based Version

So you’ve gotten subscribers to open your message, but what happens if they can’t read it? To make sure everyone sees what you’ve created, you should include a link to a web-based version of your message.

How can you do that? You just need to archive it while you’re on the message editing page. This will give you the direct link to that message:

You can then link to that web-based version in the pre-header of your message.

HTML + Plain Text = More Responses

You might not think a plain text copy of your message can help increase the number of responses you’re getting, but it can. If you have an HTML version, it will go out by default, but if a subscriber’s email client does not accept HTML it can revert to that plain text version. Remember to include a link to your web-based version here as well.

If you install email web analytics on your site, most of our analytics features can work with plain text messages. This means you still have the ability to track who is clicking on your links, while also making it easier for them to do so.

By doing this extra step to accommodate all subscribers, you’re setting it up so everyone will be able to read, and then hopefully click though, your message.

Eyes Should Be Drawn to Your Links

After working on getting subscribers to open and read your message, you don’t want to drop the ball now. In order to get more clicks, you want subscribers’ focus on your call to action.
Here are some things that might help:

Find out where clicks are happening. Are people more likely to click links in your header or footer? The only way to find that out is to track where the clicks are coming from. Once you know where, you put your most important links there.

Don’t bury the call to action.Make the link prominent among other text and images. You want eyes to be drawn to it, so give it plenty of room. At the very least, put a line of space between your link and surrounding text.

If you’ve been using just text links, try creating a button or linking up an image. Snowboard Addiction does that very well:

If the subscriber wants to see the video, they need to click on the screenshot to get there.

Note that while images and videos can be very effective, you should also include a text link in case the image is blocked.

What Have You Found To Help Optimize Campaign Results?

We’ve talked about tactics to get more subscribers, keep subscribers on your list, and improve messages.

But what about you? Have you ever done something that helped your campaign’s performance? Please share it so we can identify other common optimization tips!


  1. Glenn

    7/25/2011 11:53 am

    Great information, looking forward to using your service…

  2. Rainvale

    7/26/2011 9:25 am

    Thanks for sharing these tips! I will definitely apply this and see the changes on my Clicks’ Analysis.

  3. Etienne Juneau

    7/26/2011 9:53 am

    Hi Crystal,

    My two best tips for getting more response from emails are:

    1. Email every day

    2. Include 3 identical links to your stuff in the email (one at the top, one in the middle, one at the bottom).

    Both have done wonders for me.

  4. Tony

    7/26/2011 5:25 pm

    Thanks Crystal, great tips.

    Etienne, I’m glad that works for you, however, sending me an email everyday is a sure-fire way of ending up on my spam list and I don’t suspect I’m that different from most people.

  5. Kimberly Quiroz

    7/26/2011 10:53 pm

    Thank you, this is an wonderful idea!

  6. abdul hadi

    7/27/2011 7:55 am

    I don’t know how to design my email.Can you help me to solve this problem?

  7. Mitchell (Snowboard Addiction)

    7/27/2011 2:49 pm

    Great post. Stoked to be featured in it!

  8. Crystal Gouldey

    7/27/2011 3:28 pm

    Tony – great point! Etienne found that emailing her list daily brings her the best results, but that’s not necessarily the norm. Testing needs to be done to find what works best. It also goes back to setting expectations. If subscribers know how often you plan to send right from the start, there won’t be any surprises.

    Abdul- This article can help you get started creating your message.

    Mitchell- Your emails are sweet! We love good examples.

  9. Lynn Bruines

    8/2/2011 9:52 am

    Great article Crystal, I’m going through the list one by one to make changes to my (newly launched) newsletter. A question I have is how to include a web-based version when my newsletter is blog broadcasted. In which message should I add the direct link?
    Thank you!

  10. Crystal Gouldey

    8/2/2011 3:54 pm

    Lynn- You’ll need to set your blog broadcasts to not send automatically so you can manually edit them before they go out. This will allow you to go in the message when it’s listed as a Pending Broadcast in the Messages–>Broadcast page, copy the direct link, then insert it at the top of the message.

  11. Lynn Bruines

    8/3/2011 3:17 pm

    Thank you Crystal for your quick reply and easy-to-follow instructions. I understand now what to do.

    My only concern is that I am “scared” of sending the newsletter out manually. What if I miss a deadline? I have a full-time job and working in the hospitality industry that means long hours. If I set it on manually – will it only publish on the exact time that I hit the “publish” button?

    Thank you for your help! It is much appreciated.

  12. Crystal Gouldey

    8/3/2011 3:50 pm

    Lynn- once you update the pending broadcast you can either set it to go out immediately or whatever date you schedule. If you have deadlines, there is the risk of it not getting out in time since you will need to make some changes prior to it going out.

    Solution: Since this is a blog broadcast, the content is already hosted online. Just put something at the top that says “If you’re having trouble viewing this email, you can read it on my blog” and just include the link to your blog there. You would do that in the blog broadcast editor so it’s on all your emails, and there will be no need for manual changes.

  13. yaliren

    8/3/2011 9:12 pm

    Thanks Crystal, I am fond of your blogs.

  14. Lynn Bruines

    8/5/2011 10:10 am

    Thank you once again Crystal for helping out a newbie. Your answer is clear and I will make the required changes and set it up according to you.

    thank you!

  15. Jerzy Drozd

    8/7/2011 6:52 pm

    I’ve just got aha moment with this “archive message” tip. I simply realised that web based copy of my messages is a must.

    Thanks Cristal, that’s a great tip!