Email effectiveness comes from relevance (or the offer value plus incentive to take action) minus any friction and anxiety.

When a customer first receives an email campaign, they go through a series of split-second “micro-decisions” that lead to the final “macro-yes.” If you get one “no” on the way up, the consumer often stops, clicks away, or deletes the email without engaging. These micro-decisions include effectiveness of the subject line, article titles, calls to action, and much more.

In a recent Outsell drip campaign for the new Toyota RAV4 launch, 30% of the people who interacted with the campaign and subsequently ended up purchasing a vehicle clicked on some form of “Schedule Test Drive,” and another 30% clicked some form of “New Inventory” link.

Through this and various other vehicle launch drip campaigns, we’ve discovered that using straightforward language is important when you ask the consumer to do something (ie, use “See New Inventory” rather than “Take a Look” without context). Calls to action with the word “Launch” consistently perform well. And as seen with the RAV4 launch campaign, having at least one “New Inventory” link seems to produce a high conversion rate as well.

Findings like these come from testing and more testing to continuously optimize email effectiveness. Testing is a proven strategy that can drastically improve open rates, click rates, sales, service redemptions, and the user experience. You can uncover long-standing wrong assumptions about your audience and their preferences. Simply put, you’re leaving money on the table if you’re not testing and optimizing.

And remember, it’s not about optimizing design, it’s about optimizing thought sequence and making sure that each micro-decision leads further up the pyramid to that elusive macro-yes and eventual sale.