In a recent “Service In Action” call at Email Yogi, they listed these four messaging must nots:
- No CSS – Try to not cascading stylesheets or CSSs, instead do all of the text formatting inline within the HTML. Some ISPs will strip out CSS code within emails. If you cannot avoid using CSS then try to embed the style within the two body tags and not within the header.
- “Strong” not “b” – Instead of using the “b” tag for bolding, try “Strong” instead; the “b” tag is commonly used by spammers and many filters have begun to take notice.
- No TBODY – Avoid the use of TBODY tags in your code. Several ISPs look at the use of a TBODY tag as a characteristic of Spam.
The call is also available to download as a podcast.
There was recent article on VerticalResponse’s blog that highlighted an interesting way for companies to get their customers to review the company’s products/services online. By asking them!
It’s a simple, but effective way to increase your presence on review sites like Yelp and generate some discussion about your company’s products and/or services. Just make sure that you don’t annoy your subscribers by using this tactic too frequently.
For more insight, check out the full article.
There are many organizations who choose to send a monthly email newsletter. There’s nothing wrong with this frequency, but it does tend to lead to an overabundance of newsletter content at times. Even weekly email newsletters can get unwieldy from time to time.
Editing the newsletter down to the essentials should be the first step, but what if you’ve edited it down to the bone and the newsletter is still quite lengthy?
That’s where anchor tags can come in handy. Split your newsletter into sections and build a table of contents. Using anchor tags — which you can recognize by the “#” appended to the URL, ex. www.xyz.com/newsletter.html#bestpart — will help your readers jump to the specific section they want to read.
Without the table of contents and linked anchor tags, your subscribers might skip over your email because it’s too long and/or too difficult to scan for useful information.
There are people in every email marketing list that have stopped paying attention. They’re still subscribed, but they’ve checked out and are no longer reading your messages.
Chris Marriott at iMediaConnection.com recently wrote an article exploring different ways that you can reactivate these dead subscribers. In the excerpt from the article included below, he suggests four offers that you may want to try if your list has a lot of non-engaged subscribers:
- One-time discount or gift with purchase.
“Those who employ this tactic should do so with the understanding that they may be training their customers to wait for better offers, but some revenue beats no revenue. Also, this option allows marketers to test the value of different kinds of incentives (10 percent off vs. free shipping, etc.).
Give customers the ability to sound off about what they like and dislike about the email and to recommend content they may like. This approach works best if the marketer can use survey responses as preferences. For instance, if the customer merely wants less email, the marketer must have the ability to reduce frequency for this approach to work best.
- Reduced frequency.
If a marketer has stuck to a single cadence for his or her emails, then the living dead may respond to a change in frequency. Even unengaged consumers notice when a regular email disappears from their inboxes and then reappears.
- Interest check.
Very often, the simple approach of asking subscribers if they still want to receive the email works well. This approach may involve sending a simple postcard-style email with the single call to action of “click here to continue receiving these emails.” A more subtle approach in this vein may involve changing only the subject line to remind users what they receive. For one retail bank client, we changed the subject line of a newsletter from the branded name for the newsletter to “your June newsletter from [bank name].”
However, as Andrew Kordek at The Scrappy Email Marketer points out, these kind of campaigns are extremely difficult to pull off.
Triggered messages, which are emails that are sent automatically when a person takes an action on your website (like signing up for your email list), are often forgotten about after they’re initially created. This is a common mistake that can lead to issues down the road.
By setting up a schedule to review your triggered messsages, you can avoid embarrassing errors like the one spotted by Darrah MacLean at Smith-Harmon. The hotel that she was staying at failed to update their triggered message with the name of the new manager of the hotel and instead sent an email including the name of a former manager.
It’s small things like this that can make or break an email campaign. Errors diminish trust, so attention to detail is important. Set up a schedule (once a month, once a quarter, etc.) and make sure your triggered messages are saying what you expect them to say.
While most email marketers include a preheader in their email designs at this point, many businesses aren’t taking full advantage of that part of their email campaigns.
Including the standard “problems viewing this email, click here” message is good for accessibility, but in some ways it’s a wasted opportunity. It’s the first part of your email that subscribers will read and it’s not selling your product or service.
For an example of a preheader that sells, check out this article from This Week In Etail that highlights a recent email from Victoria’s Secret.
The subject line of your email is extremely important. It can have a huge impact on your open rate and even your spam complaint numbers. Testing different subject lines to see which gets you the best result can give you a competitive advantage in your email marketing campaigns.
Jordan at EmailMoxie.com recently put together a very thorough, informative article on the topic of subject line testing. Among other things, it covers:
- Subject line do’s & don’ts.
- Sample subject line test scenarios.
- The results of MailChimp’s 40 million email subject line study.
- A simple rule to follow when writing subject lines.
You can read it here.
If you’ve been in the email marketing industry long enough, you’re sure to have a horror story about an email campaign gone wrong.
Whether it’s sending to the wrong list or sending at the wrong time, mistakes are going to happen. But they happen less to people who are prepared and run through a checklist before sending.
Email marketing checklists help guard against people being lulled into a false sense of security and overlooking important aspects of their campaign.
Sending an offer to someone who cannot take advantage of it — even if they want to — is practically the definition of poor email targeting.
Raj at The Touch highlights an example of Costco doing just that. They sent an offer to their entire list even though it was only available in four states.
If you’re going to offer products that will only apply to small percentage of your subscribers, you should find a way to segment your email list.
If you don’t have that capability — due to technical problems or lack of data — you need to remedy that situation. Otherwise you may find your subscribers tuning out on a regular basis and dismissing your emails as irrelevant.