12 Email Marketing Best Practices From Admail.net

Date posted: Mon, Feb 22, 10 | Author: Dan Lukens | Category: best practices, design, email marketing, sending email, tips

We've covered a lot of ways to improve your email campaigns in our numerous blog posts. We get so many questions about best practices and how to improve campaign results that we thought that we'd gather up all of our best practices tips and put them in one place. Here is a list of our favorite "Best Practices".

1. Write great subject lines.

Subject lines are the first things your customer will see and can be the deciding factor in how much attention they give your email. Don't rush the writing of your subject line. Come up with several different ideas, and chose the one you think would appeal most to your customer. Be honest and avoid the hard sell,  also stay away from SPAM language and your subject line will support your well thought out campaign.

2. Don't forget the preview pane!

The preview pane is the handy little window that exists in email clients like Outlook and Thunderbird. It shows a preview of the email before it is actually "opened". It's so useful in fact, that many people read their emails almost exclusively through this window. Create your email so that the most important part of your offer or message is visible in the preview pane. This means the top section of your email is very important as would be the case regardless since grabbing your reader's interest quickly is your primary goal anyway.

3. Avoid SPAM language.

Chances are good that you've gotten a SPAM message in your email inbox. Have you ever noticed how they all seem to share the same language? SPAM stoppers have been designed to pick up on this recurring "language of SPAM" by using Bayesian style filters. These filters have been popular for years and use common "SPAM words" to block potential SPAM messages. Actually, it's fairly complicated and if you'd like you can read more here. The general idea is that avoiding certain words and phrases can make your email more deliverable. We've compiled a list of some of the words to avoid in our Email and Spam Blockers FAQ.

4. Make it look good.

Despite the common advice to not "judge a book by its cover", all people have a tendency to make snap judgments. Bad design can detract from the positives in your email and can ruin your campaigns potential for success. Not every email needs to be a work of art, but take some time and objectively view your email. Ask yourself, "Does it look like SPAM? Would I be comfortable giving my credit card information to this company?" Make your campaign look professional and your clients will be more apt to click your links and buy your products.

5. Treat your recipients like real people.

In the world of bulk email, treating your clients with a respectful and personal touch can be the difference between success and failure. Email has the tendency to be cold and impersonal. If you manage to find a way to break the mold and connect with your recipients, you will give them a refreshingly positive experience that is sure to drive results.

6. Focus on meaningful content.

Find out what your customers want and give it to them. Too many marketers get so wrapped up in their own product that they forget about the consumer. If you provide your recipients with something valuable, your campaign will be a success. Blatant solicitation without value is a waste of everyone's time and your money.

7. Establish your brand.

If you are already producing content that your recipients actually want, the next step is to ensure that they don't overlook your email. Maintaining cohesive design and messaging will make your email familiar and allow your recipients to pick your email out of a crowd. If they have a high traffic inbox, this strategy can be crucial to the success of your campaign.

8. Include an offer.

Including an offer is a fantastic way to attract attention. Avoid being misleading at all costs, if the customer feels lied to, you've just lost a customer. Exclusive offers are more attractive and have the potential of prompting recipients to forward the email to a friend. Free marketing doesn't get any better than that!

9. Avoid large images.

Large images give your email a higher probability of tripping SPAM filters and may also ruin your email design. You may want to show off pictures in high resolution but an email is not the place to do it. Include a thumbnail of the image and have it link to the full sized image hosted elsewhere.

10. Ask to be on their list.

There is no better way to ensure that your future emails don't wind up in a willing recipients SPAM folder than just asking nicely. Ask your customers to add you to their contact list and, in most email clients, your message's delivery will be ensured. You can include this request in your first campaign or in all of your campaigns.

11. Know and follow CAN-SPAM regulations.

This one is simple, CAN-SPAM regulations are the law and if you break them you could find yourself with a hefty fine and a nasty mark on your reputation. Avoid these problems by understanding the regulations before starting any email campaign.

12. Study major email providers policies.

Professionals in any field always do their homework. They know more about their topic than anyone else and they use that knowledge to their advantage. If you want to be a pro in the email marketing world, you need to know the policies of the major email providers. You wouldn't ship goods somewhere without knowing the docking regulations of the port, so don't be uninformed of the rules and regulations of companies like Yahoo!, Google, or Microsoft.