Email is Not the Web

Most of us read email every day. The vast majority of us write email every day as well. We compose quick notes to our bosses, convey information to our clients, and update our loved ones on current events.

Email is great for simple, direct, and to-the-point communication.

Take a moment and read that again. What are some keywords? Simple. Direct. Communication.

The World Wide Web is another great tool, but with a fundamental difference in the type of control a List Member has. When a List Member visits a web page, they chose the time and place to do so. Conversely, they have no control over when your email lands in their Inbox and that 'Delete' button is very handy.

An email is NOT a web site.

Web sites are great places for information heavy presentation. Web users are looking for data and welcome it.

Email is about simple information. It should be a starting point, or rather, a springboard that moves a List Member to the information rich Web if needed. It is your job as the sender to keep your email as straightforward as possible. Clutter that email up with extra ads, or an abundance of information, and your List Member will wonder, "What's the point?" while sentencing your email to be purged.

Start with your subject line. Assume that only the first 20-25 characters of your subject will be displayed. If there's a special point to be made in the subject line, put it first!

Keep the top of your email clean. Many List Members have preview windows which will display the top few inches of your e-mail. If that space is wasted, you may find that your email is too.

Having a sale? Great! Put the details of your sale in the email, along with a product or two. You might find that listing all of your sale items can be overwhelming, so keep it simple. Make the sale itself the reason to click through. Product data and listings are better suited for a web page, where the List Member is expecting more detailed information.

What are you trying to communicate to your List Members? Can the List Member determine what you're trying to tell them? Is irrelevant information confusing the real message? These are all questions that you should be asking yourself when preparing your next email.

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