Tips for Good Email Marketing Etiquette

There are a number of things that can go wrong when attempting to use email as a strategic marketing tool for promoting yourself or your business. We can’t even begin to count the number of trashy, repetitive, useless nonsense people receive via email daily – sometimes from nationally known brands. In this post, we want to discuss a few things that can help you in your current or coming endeavors with email marketing.
First, if you are directing the email marketing efforts of your company, we would strongly recommend that you learn basic HTML. There are several books available, some of which even include easy tutorials. It doesn’t take long and isn’t that hard to get a grip of. Knowing the basics of HTML will prevent headaches when attempting to build emails that contain something other than text; it will also help you overcome what we call “ghosts of code”. These ghosts will randomly slingshot a line of text or an image to the other end of the world and you will need to know how to go into the code and kill the ghost to fix the problem. Trust us, it happens and when it does, it’s great to know how to get it fixed.

Another important thing to know before launching any email marketing campaign is the rules for proper sending etiquette. Most third party design and distribution tools will not let you import a list if you do not provide explicit proof that each contact willingly requested information from your company via email. To qualify for using these tools and to ensure your email isn’t marked as junk or spam, be sure to offer a check box on the contact portion of your website encouraging the visitor to “opt-in” for email communication. Your emails are 82% more likely to be opened if it is something your subscribers are expecting to see.

Next, properly managing your subscribers and monitoring their activity is key for learning what works and what doesn’t. There are a few tools available, New York Ave chooses to use MailChimp. This third party email design tool is immaculate. There are a number of great options built in including reports that show how many emails were opened, bounced, and marked as spam. You can even dial into the report and see WHO did what. These things are very powerful for properly executing a successful email campaign. Use this data to learn when the best time to send an email is and if your content may include something that filters could potentially mark as spam.

It is imperative that you do not send multiple sales-heavy emails in an attempt to push your product. Email marketing as a way for you to stay in front of your customers and pique their interest with useful information. If you are sending 5+ emails to your customer list each month, you will most likely be marked as spam and your messages quickly ignored.

Finally, your subject line can make or break your email. Regardless of the contents – a subject line can throw your email to the spam sharks and can even discourage a customer from opening it. Make it short and meaningful, not obnoxious. The general rule is to keep it under a total of 30 characters. There is a long list of words to avoid, some include “sale”, “special”, “buy” and “from”. Your subject line must leave a reader wanting to know more, consider that when writing it.

Here is a quick list of basic rules to help you get started:

  1. Always include an unsubscribe link in the footer of your email. Make it easy to understand and easy to access. Try having fun with it: “We’d hate to see you go but if you must, click here to unsubscribe.” Most third-party email tools will force this at the bottom of your email so that you don’t forget to add it.
  2. Send content that provides the reader with helpful information and link them to your website to read more.
  3. Use minimal imagery so that the email loads quicker and is less likely to be caught in spam filters. Make it pretty, just don’t bedazzle it.
  4. Start small. Learn the system, what works and what doesn’t. We suggest taking 5-10% of your email addresses and testing your first series of emails. Test when the best time to send is, which links got the most clicks, and the most effective subject lines.
  5. No email is ever the same. Make your email marketing consistent with your brand but always update the content to keep the reader interested.
  6. Make it personal. Depending on the tool you are using for design and distribution, you may be able to insert a simple line of (HTML) code that will reference the name associated with the email address. The header of your email could read “The time is now, John Smith”. This will greatly improve your reader’s emotional response.

Looking to implement an email newsletter? Need help cleaning up your email database? Check out some of our email marketing services and send us a note, we can’t wait to meet you!

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