Top 10 Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

November 11, 2015 by Felipa Villegas
Top 10 Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

Has the rise of social media marketing resulted in the neglect of your good old-fashioned email marketing campaigns?  Email is still one of the easiest and most powerful ways to reach your audience.  Utilize these basic Do’s and Don’ts to revitalize your email efforts; Stay up-to-date on trends and automation technology to keep your messages from sinking to the bottom of your customers’ flooded inboxes.

DO use a double opt-in subscription process.  
DON’T get stuck in the spam filter.

A double opt-in requires subscribers to complete a form to sign-up and then follow a link received in a confirmation email to verify their subscription.  Double opt-in mailing lists have better engagement over time and provide protection from spammers.  Some email service providers, such as MailChimp, will help you build the forms and automate this process.

DO segment your mailing list recipients. 
DON’T send the same generic message to everyone.

You can segment your mailing list by age, gender, location, interests, subscription source, past engagement, or past purchase activity.  This allows you to personalize your messages to target your audience’s specific needs.  And if an email looks like it might address their needs, then it is logical that they are more likely to spend time opening it, reading it, and clicking-through to explore more information.

DO personalize your greeting. 
DON’T address your message to Fans, Customers, or Subscribers.

Make your email more personal by using your automation database to greet your customer by name.  If you had the opportunity to greet a customer in-person or on the phone, you would want to use their name when possible, so do the same with your email marketing.  People feel more valued if they are individually acknowledged.

DO write interesting and inviting subject lines. 
DON’T use spam flags.

The subject line is the biggest factor in determining whether an email will be opened.  You have less than half a line of text to communicate why it will be worthwhile to open the message.  The subject line should be specific to the content, tell why the information inside is useful to the recipient, and express some urgency as to why the email should be opened now.  There are quite a few spammy subject line elements that should be avoided, including over-punctuation, special characters, and many words beyond ‘Viagra,’ ‘Free’ and ‘NotSpam.’  Hubspot has compiled a complete list of spam trigger terms to stay away from.

DO close with a real person’s name who will reply to the message. 
DON’T use a address.

Receiving an email from a do-not-reply email address infers that the company has no interest in the customers’ questions or comments.  Sign-off with the name of a real person in the signature line, using an email address someone will check and reply to.  Taking time to hear and respond to customers lets them know they are valued.

DO make it easy to unsubscribe. 
DON’T make global unsubscribe the only option.

It is not effective to send emails to people who do not want to receive them.  It is annoying, and will end up getting deleted or filtered into a ‘spam’ or ‘junk’ folder.  So it is important to make the unsubscribe procedure clear and simple.  But instead of offering a global unsubscribe button, let your customers decide if they want less frequent or only some types of emails, such as event invites, newsletters, or product updates. Allowing them to manage their subscription may keep you from losing contact with them completely.

DO include a clear Call-to-Action in your message.  DON’T muddle your message with more than one Call-to-Action.

What action do you want your reader to take as a result of your email?  Make sure you give your customer a prominent, direct CTA button linking to the relevant content that you want them to act upon.  For example, include “Shop the Sale” or “Get Coupon” buttons that take the customer to the part of your site where they can achieve that action.  You can place a couple of links (above and below the fold) to the same content, but it is best not to confuse and distract subscribers by giving more than one option.

DO make your message brief and to-the-point.  
DON’T include useless, irrelevant information.

If you are lucky (or skilled) enough to have recipients choose to open your email out of the many, they must sort through each day, then make sure they can quickly scan and understand the point of your message.  If you have a lot of useful information to share, split it into two or shorter, more succinct messages.  Do not be repetitive and do not include extraneous content that does not directly relate to the purpose of the email.

DO make your email compatible with mobile devices.  DON’T forget to preview.

Use adaptive or responsive design to make your emails easily viewed on both mobile devices and desktops of varying screen sizes and across all browsers.  While most companies create their emails on a big screen, 78 percent of mobile users check their email on their phone, making it the most common activity carried out on a smartphone.  MailChimp and many other email marketing programs have a handy feature that will let you preview what your email will look like on different devices and resolutions.

DO track the effectiveness of your email campaigns.  DON’T keep using strategies that aren’t working for you.

At a minimum, you should track your open rates, click-throughs, undelivered emails, and unsubscribes for each campaign.  Your email marketing software should show you these statistics.  You can also link your email campaigns with Google Analytics to track what happens after email recipients click-through to your website.  Once you have this data, identify trends and use the information to adjust your email marketing strategies.