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Although a shrinking percentage of emails are being opened in today’s electronic-fueled world, people are getting more of their information from email marketers than ever before. It’s the way many people today learn about what businesses or schools have to offer, and it can provide direct communication between a brand and its potential customers. This shows us that the emails people do open are more important than ever – which means it’s critical to follow certain practices to ensure your emails reach their target markets.

“People are being bombarded with email newsletters and social media posts. Some people still get phone calls,” says communications strategist Doug Levy, who has headed the communications offices at the University of California, San Francisco, and Columbia University Medical Center. “So you need to make sure you’re putting something out that’s relevant, interesting, and easy to access.”

Here are 10 tips to improve your marketing metrics.

10) Use capitalization sparingly. Excessive capitalization feels like spam, looks unprofessional and is the internet equivalent of shouting. Make your point clear by choosing words carefully.

9) Punctuation is unnecessary in the subject line. Similar to excessive capitalization, most punctuation will cause readers to tune out an email and immediately categorize it as spam.

8) Use color ... carefully. Stick to a white background, and keep most of your text black. Don’t miss opportunities to selectively add blue, red and gray, though. Other colors may come across as harsh.

7) Use A/B testing. A/B testing requires some skill, but some direct email services may provide this kind of testing. A/B testing uses statistical analysis to tell you what forms of messaging reach people better so that you can hone your content and copy for maximum impact.

“I would call it malpractice to put out any kind of marketing piece – honestly, any newsletter of any kind – and not look at the data,” Levy says. “The data tells you whether you’re wasting your time.”

At the very least, you should track the results of emails to note which ones are more effective so that you can optimize those types of messages.

6) Use email formats with a responsive design. More and more emails are opened on mobile phones, so designing emails that look nice and are easy to read on those devices will make people more likely to pay attention to them.

5) Craft a strong Call to Action (CTA) – A call to action should take into account the interests of the recipient. Figure out what will motivate them to do what you want them to do.

“’Turn off your lights. You’ll save the university a lot of money’ – that’s not really a good motivation,” says Levy. “But if you say, ‘Last year, we saved $1 million because of energy conservation programs. Here’s how that million is benefiting your department this year. Keep shutting off the lights and we’ll be able to do more next year,’ it’s better.”

4) Make your CTA easy to execute. In addition to finding the right motivation, you should make it easy for recipients to do what you want them to do.

“If you’re trying to get people to sign up for an event, make sure that they can sign up from one click within the newsletter,” says Levy. “Don’t make people go through hoops.”

3) Consider the “from” field. The identity and standing of the sender can be a motivation to open an email, so make sure you use it well. Choose the person who the recipient is most likely to open an email from, but don’t abuse this field. If you overuse a name, or use an inappropriate one, recipients will start to sense spam.

2) Be brief. From subject line to email content, keep your copy short and to the point.

1) Consider who is on the receiving end. Understand what you want your recipient to do with the information you’re giving them and what their needs are. Putting yourself in the shoes of your audience will help you craft an email that resonates better with them.

“It’s got to be simple, clear, actionable and easy. Don’t make anybody have to work to get the information you’re trying to get across,” advises Levy.