I have a thing for email marketing.

I think it’s fun. I like trying to figure out all the pieces. Which subject line is best? To emoji or not to emoji? How much text? What should it say?  What kind of photo or graphic should I use? What’s the best call to action? Who should I send it to? On what day and at what time?

I love experiments. I love sending the message and then watching the results. How many people opened it? More importantly, how many people clicked on my call to action? MOST IMPORTANTLY, how many people did the thing I wanted them to do?

Maybe I just like convincing people to do stuff.

Email is not dead, at least not for libraries. People want to hear from us. They love free stuff and that’s basically all we have to offer! I send tens of thousands of emails a week to my cardholders (I live in a large county service area with nearly a million residents). My unsubscribe rate is zero percent. No kidding.

Email marketing truly is the most effective method of digital promotion for libraries. I use it whenever I can at my library because it gives the best return on my investment of time and money.

And because it’s the most effective digital tactic at my disposal, I spend an awful lot of time researching email marketing. I read a ton of blogs. I listen to a lot of podcasts. I comb surveys for insights that will make my emails better.

I’ve started a document where I keep a bunch of statistics and insights gleaned. I realized that I needed to share these insights with you. Email marketing could be your most valuable asset too. So here are the eight newest things I’ve learned about email marketing that will improve the work you’re doing at your library.

How cardholders look at your emails

You’ve heard it before but I’ll say it again. You must make sure your emails are mobile-friendly and responsive. About 3 in 5 consumers check their email on the go. 75 percent of Americans say they use their smartphones most often to check email. (Blue Corona)

And you must assume your cardholders will use their phones to respond to your email call-to-action. 62 percent of email opens occur on mobile. Only 10 percent occur on desktop. That’s huge! (Adestra)

Your cardholders are checking their email literally everywhere. People admit to checking email while watching TV, in bed, on vacation, in the bathroom, while walking, during meals, during commuting, while talking, while working out, while driving, and while at a formal ceremony! (Adobe)

Your cardholders are spending more time reading emails. In the last decade, the amount of time people spent reading an email actually increased by 7 percent, to 11.1 seconds. (Litmus)

How to design the best library email

Your subject line is the most important part of your email. It gets your cardholders in the door, so to speak. Focus on sentiment by using emotional words. Use different words for different audiences. The subject line for a message you send to teens will be completely different from the message you send to parents. Make it simple and easy. However, length doesn’t matter anymore, so you can make your subject longer if you need too!

Write like a human and make sure everyone can read your text. For the text, speak conversationally. No industry-speak (words like periodicals are out!).You don’t have to convey all the information about your product or service or collection item in the body of the email. Get to the point and drive users to your website or another platform for more information. Avoid multi-colored fonts. Use fonts that are accessible, like Arial, Helvetica, Lucida Sans, Tahoma, and Verdana. (Bureau of Internet Accessibility).

Make your email design hard to ignore. Use a one-column layout so people can scroll easily. Make the text large! Headlines should be no smaller than 25 pixels, body text should be no smaller than 18 pixels.  Call to action buttons can be pretty huge– anywhere from 44 x 44 pixels to 72 x 72 pixels.

Images matter. Photos of real people, especially faces with emotional expressions, are best. But don’t be afraid to use gifs too!

Learn more about email marketing for libraries

The Step-by-Step Method for Figuring Out the Best Time to Send Library Marketing Emails and Why You Should Never Stop Experimenting!

The Tiny Little Mistakes That Ruin Your Library Marketing Emails AND How to Fix Them!

This Advice Will Boost Your Library Marketing Email Click-Thru Rates

Don’t forget to join us for the LIVE LIBRARY MARKETING TALK ON INSTAGRAM every Tuesday at noon ET. We’ll talk about library marketing topics for about 15 minutes each week. My handle is Webmastergirl. You can email questions and topic suggestions ahead of time. Just fill out this form.

And check out these upcoming events and webinars where we can connect and discuss library marketing. Registration links included.

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