Email Marketing - Best Practices
Make sure your marketing emails are readable
Email Marketing Fact: Your carefully crafted multimedia content or images are not going to be readable by most people. According to SurveySampling (2007), about 65% of decision makers are viewing your marketing email on their text-only mobile devices.
If you have to include images in your email content, make sure your email text content makes sense for readers, even if the images are not displayed. Never ever insert email images that are supposed to be downloaded from the web, as they are automatically blocked by most email client software programs. Do not nest scripts in your HTML message.
If possible, send your marketing emails as plain text. It will be smaller in size and readable on any email platform. A work-around would be to send the email as plain text and include a link to a HTML, web version of that message.
Marketing emails must have a familiar preview
Email Marketing Fact: Most people decide if an email is interesting by previewing it, without opening it. They take this decission based on the sender's email address and email subject line. About 69% make the decision to click on the "report spam" or "junk" button using the subject line, according to the ESPC. - Email Sender and Provider Coalition (2007).
To increase the success rate of your marketing emails, make sure your sender name is visible, trustworthy and easily recognized. Do not send marketing emails from robot-looking email addresses, like "1Zfirstname.lastname@example.org". Send your marketing emails from an email address that triggers the feeling "I know who sent this email". Knowing and trusting the sender is the primary reason for opening an email.
Use the subject line to summarize the email content. The subject line should tell the email content, not sell the email content. Keep your subject line to 50 characters or less. Avoid writing your subject text with capital letters. Avoid using flashy promotional texts or exclamation marks.
According to email marketing statistics, personalizing the email subject line for each person did not significantly change the campaign results.
Keep the email delivery rate as high as possible
Email Marketing Fact: Very few people care to look at messages automatically stored in Junk/Spam folders. Anti-spam filters can be easily triggered by the email From field, subject line, content, file attachments or emailing frequency.
Before sending out a large quantity of marketing emails, check your mail server provider settings. Most email server providers prevent spam by blocking users from sending too many emails, during a short period of time. For example, GoDaddy.com prevents you from sending more than 1,000 emails per day. Other providers deny you from sending more than 5-10 emails per minute. Make sure you understand your mail provider rules before proceeding to send the messages, otherwise your email account may be suspended.
Do not use subject lines that contain words or styles that are popular on spam messages, such as "free" or "money". Do not write subject lines with CAPS LOCK ON.
Do not include scripts, images or any other content that is supposed to be downloaded from the internet, when the email is rendered on screen.
Spam filtering is more likely to occur because of HTML coding than the words you use in your email. - George Bilbrey, iMediaConnection (2006)
Personalize & build confidence
Email Marketing Fact: Inserting a person's name into an email increases open rates by as much as 10%. - Jupiter Research (2006).
Use a mail merge marketing software, such as Easy Mail Merge, to generate personalized mass emails that can include person's name or any personalized information that should be relevant to your prospect. Your message should "say": "I am not computer-generated spam, I got to you because I know you and I think this specific offer meets your needs".
Include an opt-out (unsubscribe) function in your email, even if that is just an email address where people can send a message to unsubscribe. The CAN-SPAM Act requires that your email give recipients an opt-out method.
According to a Responsys Survey (2006), 89% of email marketers plan to increase their use of personalization in future efforts.
Other Useful Email Marketing Articles
Best practices for effective email marketing: great tips to increase your success rate on email marketing campaigns;
Collection of email marketing articles, by email marketing pioneer Al Bredenberg;
Permission email marketing white paper (Microsoft Word document): best email marketing practices;
"Dialogue - Not Agreement - Is The Sign Of An Effective Newsletter" , by Michael J. Katz;
"Secrets to Building Massive Opt-In Lists", by Shelly Lowery;
"A Beginner's Guide to Effective Email", by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood.
Email Marketing Summary