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Email Marketing – Ten Best Practices

Posted @ 10:40 am by Christopher Ruiz | Category: Digital Marketing, Email, Technology | 0 Comments

Keeping your customers engaged in your business is becoming easier with the advent of social media, but it’s important to remember that these tools are supplemented by emails.  Email marketing continues to thrive as a tool with reliable data and accurate ROI.  Follow these ten best practices to get your email marketing campaign started.

  1. Focus on text
    Text should be concise enough to get the point across.  Remember that most people do not load pictures, so be sure to use appropriate image tags.  Space out text with titles and in different sizes.  Avoid all caps type and phrases like “FREE! BUY NOW!” and “CLICK HERE!”, because they tend to trigger spam filters.
  2. Develop appropriate subject lines
    The saying “Never judge a book by its cover” has no application here – everyone will judge your email based on the title.  Some suggestions are: Stay concise and clear, keep subject fewer than 50 characters, limit punctuation, use appropriate camel case, no personal pronouns, be specific, and most importantly, be honest.  You’re not “tricking” potential customers, you are communicating with them.  If they sense deceit, they’re less likely to open the email.
  3. Timing
    Deploy messages when your audience will read them. The best ways to know which times are most effective is to test – as suggested in ExactTarget’s blog.  If you need a starting point, iContact recommends sending business emails Tuesday – Thursday between 9:30am and 5:30pm; consumer emails between 5pm – 8pm.  These are the times when the broadest amount of people actively checks email.  In the analysis, iContact suggests weekend timing is less specific, with people checking in the afternoon.  Overall, SolutionSet advocates testing when applicable to make the most out of your campaign efforts.
  4. Adhere to email frequency claims
    As mentioned before, be honest.  Bi-weekly or monthly is best for newsletter content. Regardless of content type, ensure that customers are aware of email frequency.
  5. Use recognizable sender names (i.e. notification@acmecorp.com)
    The first item users tend to look at in new emails is the sender name.  If the name is garbled and unfamiliar, they are likely to be turned off from opening the message.  Getresponse has an entire blog post on this topic.
  6. Request permission before sending emails; provide removal option
    Do not blindly solicit people.  Give people an option to opt out from emails – mandated by CAN-Spam act of 2003.  Read over the FTC and FCC guidelines for specific legal guidelines.
  7. Personalize whenever possible
    Add name of recipient in message where appropriate and target your audience.  Keeping it personal will help drive interest and assuage spamming fears.
  8. No attachments!
    Attachments will trigger spam filters if the email is not recognized.  Load images from web servers to avoid filters when adding extra content.  If a file is necessary, lead users to a download page on your site.  This will give people the opportunity to explore other areas of your web page.
  9. Build and maintain email lists
    Acquire emails wherever possible: conferences, meetings, on your website, etc.  By signing up, your contacts will know to expect emails from you.  Maintain lists by organizing them into categories and deleting email bounce backs.
  10. Limit colors, use simple designs
    Text should be black unless it is a page link or matches the design. Use easy to read colors that contrast well with the background.  Remember that most people do not load images, so when text loads it will be against a white background.  Also, red, green, or blue blocks of text tend to trigger spam filter.

In sum, keep your emails professional with the right level of personal.  Following the best practices outlined above is a good start to reaching your email marketing goals.  The next step is to measure your success.  Determining and interpreting key metrics, and optimizing based on those metrics takes practice.   Contact us to see how SolutionSet can help you develop successful email marketing campaigns and measure their success.

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