Anatomy of a Good Email

Ultimately, you want customers to click on a title or event in your email. For that to happen, they have to open the email and engage with the content. Here are some tips on optimizing your emails to accomplish your goals:

  • Subject: Your subject line provides a peek at the email’s content and needs to encourage the recipient to read more. Give a few of these tips a try!
    • Keep it short – no more than 3-7 words.
    • Tease the content (“New history titles you shouldn’t miss…”), ask a question (“Who shot JFK?”), include a number or list (“Our top 5….”), give a command (“Join us…”), make an announcement (“Our top staff picks for…”), be timely (“Our favorite winter romance reads”), or state a benefit of opening the email (“All your holiday gifting right here!”)
    • Avoid writing in ALL CAPS or including an excessive amount of exclamation points!!!
    • Personalize with the recipient’s name.
    • Don’t be afraid to add humor and personality (“Shhh! We’re busy reading these titles…), but avoid spam-like, sales-y language.
    • Create a sense of urgency or include a deadline when appropriate (“Pre-order now…”).
  • Preheader: The preheader is the text that shows right under the email subject in a recipient’s inbox. Take advantage of this additional real estate to add more detail about what is inside the email.
  • From: The “From” email address should clearly represent your bookstore (i.e. it should include your store’s name and not just be your personal name). Often, “From” email addresses with actual staff names have higher open rates (e.g. “Sara at Indie Bookstore, sara@indiebookstore.com”).
  • Branding: Logo and branding should be consistent. It helps the recipient recognize that the email is from you, a store they trust! Maintain your brand’s voice throughout all of your email campaigns.
  • Headlines: Headlines are the first thing a recipient sees when they open your email! Make sure they convey your main message and mirror the style/tone of the Subject.
  • Content: Include the right number of titles. Too many links and images can be overwhelming. It might take a little testing to find the sweet spot with your store’s customer base. We recommend starting with no more than a dozen.
  • Links: Make sure that your “call-to-action” buttons are clear. Try something like, “Read More” or “Pre-Order.”
  • Frequency: Send often enough to be front-of-mind for your customers but don’t overdo it. If you’re sending too many emails, you’ll see your open and click rates decline.
  • Testing: Experiment and learn. Every business is different. Try out some tactics and see what works for your store!