Conx-2-U is available to help with your marketing needs; however, we understand that many business owners like to roll up their sleeves and do it themselves. If that is you, or if you just want to get it started and let us help refine your campaign we suggest that you use email marketing best practices. Below are some simple guidelines for creating a good Email Marketing Campaign.
Updated February 20, 2017
Have a purpose
Don’t send an email just because, Every e-mail should have a purpose, and it should be obvious. Have a specific goal you want to accomplish with each e-mail. Recipients should not be wondering why a certain message was delivered to their inbox. Instead, they will understand and appreciate it when your message caters to their interests. Know yourself and know your audience, too.
Include a call to action
In fact, include it several times throughout the e-mail. Be specific and create a sense of urgency by including an expiration date. Include it in the subject line, at the top to display in the preview pane, and at the end of the message- if your readers were interested enough to read the entire message, don’t make them scroll up.
Brand the email- make it unique to you
Have a style unique to your brand or company including your logo that is clearly visible and clickable- you may want the link to go to a special landing page. Train your recipients to recognize your brand and leave with a positive impression, and add some color and variety so it never gets old.
Be clear, stay concise
Starting with the subject line, keep everything short and to the point. Paragraphs should be short but catchy enough to grab people’s attention. Arrange the text so a quick scan can easily reveal the main message. Use bullet points wherever possible. Use links to provide additional information. Remember you WANT them to CLICK THROUGH!
Use plain language
Use simple words and short phrases. The only time to deviate from this is when emailing to focused groups. Bottom line is make sure that everyone everyone understands your message.
Avoid common SPAM words and phrases in subject line
Obviously avoid words like Viagra, Cialis, Sex, and Free, but add to that: Help, % off, and Reminder. Keep updated on the latest trends in SPAM to discover new words that rise to the top. If your subject line looks like a simple sales pitch, an good deal from a Carribean pharmaceutical company, or an opportunity from a Nigerian prince it is not going to work.
Design for the preview pane
An HTML email may like a webpage, but it is not. Most readers will not be viewing the message at 1024×768 or better resolution. Most view it for the first time in the preview pane, or now on their iPhone.
Often readers/viewers didn’t even click on your message they may have just deleted another message and you have a short time to impress and a small area to draw their attention with.
Include alt-text for your images
Not everyone has graphics turned on. Some email programs will even apply CSS to alt-text, so you can wrap images inside a span to make your alt-text pop.
Use Text Call to Action
Always use text for the important stuff. This will help with creation of the text only version too.
Include a Simple Text Version
Not everyone wants, or can receive, html emails. If you want to make sure to reach these users then you better have an text version and you better test it. You will also want to simplify your message for the text only version since the look and feel is very different.
Use spellcheck and check grammar
This is obvious, right? Double and triple check your text.
Send test message (HTML and text)
Have a small group you can send your message to. They should help you look for mistakes and provide some input on the overall look of the email. Take a 30 minute break and relook at your test message yourself. You may look at it entirely different after some time and when it is sitting in the preview pane of your inbox.
Divide / segment your list into subgroups whenever possible
Improve results through focused campaigns, and avoid Abuse complaints and unsubcribes. You can always add add muliple groups together. This can be really tricky if you are not using a good database or if your bulk mailer solution does not prevent duplicate emails to customers that are in more than one subgroup.
Include an unsubscribe option.
Always include the unsubscribe option. It’s not just a courtesy, it’s the law. CAN-SPAM dictates that every e-mail marketing message include the functional opt out and gives the marketer 10 days to suppress the opt out.
Include whitelist option and instructions
Once readers become interested in your e-mails, they won’t want to miss any of them. Show them how to add you to their white list. This decreases your company’s chances of being marked as spam in future mailings. Also, recipients will connect and become familiar with your brand. Think of it as being on their VIP list.
Include tracking and reporting capabilities
Email tracking and reporting lets you know how many emails were delivered; which addresses bounced, and why; who opened your email; which links were clicked, and hopefully who clicked on each one. With proper tracking and analysis you can improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.
Analyze your results and make adjustments
You should always be shooting for open and click through rates above average ~26%. Keep in mind that open and CTRs vary by industry so while 30% sounds good it may not be for your industry (see Lyris HQ, and MailChimp).
Use an e-mail service provider to send large campaigns
With ever-changing best practices, this is the most reliable, efficient way to manage your e-mail campaigns. It lets you track e-mails, measure campaign results and improve and modify your e-mail strategy while the email service provider focuses on message hosting, and delivery.
You should also be aware of the legal dos and don'ts for sending out Direct Mail and E-marketing The CAN-SPAM Act: Requirements for Commercial Emailers.