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10 Email Marketing Checks and Balances

Posted by Caitlin MacDonald

March 06, 2012

The debate continues but over the last several years email still remains one of the most preferred marketing tools and communication channels for marketers today. While Email marketing techniques and best practices have evolved and every marketing program has different goals and metrics they work towards, there are still those core practices every team should work into their email marketing plan. In no particular order, here are 10 simple checks and balances that are crucial to the success of your campaigns:

1. Write awesome subject lines.

Subject lines are the first things your customer will see and can be the deciding factor in whether or not they even open your email in the first place. Don’t rush the writing of your subject line -- you spent too much time crafting content for your email not to be opened. Come up with several different ideas, and test test test!

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.

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 filters have been designed to pick up common “SPAM words” to block potential SPAM messages. Avoiding certain words and phrases can make your email more deliverable. .

4. Make it look good.

Despite the popular adage “don't judge a book by its cover,” all people have a tendency to make snap judgments. Bad design can detract from the positive aspects of your email and can damage your campaign's potential for success. Not every email needs to be a work of art, but take some time and try objectively view your email. Put yourself on the other side and ask yourself “ What would I think when I opened this email?"

5. Treat your recipients like real people.

Because they are! Adding that 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 relevant 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 that your customers want to read or buy, your campaign will be a success. Period.

7. Establish a look for 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 crowded inbox.

8. Include an offer.

Including an offer is a fantastic way to incentivize customers. Exclusive offers are more attractive and have a strong potential of prompting recipients to forward the email to a friend. Free marketing doesn’t get any better than that!

9. Stay clear of large images.

Large images make your email more likely to trip SPAM filters and may also be detrimental to your email design. An email is not the place to try to show off high resolution images. If that is your objective, include a thumbnail of the image and have it link to the full size 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 option in your first campaign or in all of your campaigns.

 

Following these checks is a great way to get started and build a solid foundation in email marketing. Email marketing is not easy, but when done effectively, it is an extremely valuable tool. These are just a few to get you started. What other checks and balances are important to your business and your email marketing campaigns?

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