Do’s and Don’ts of E-mail Marketing
One only hopes that one day email marketing will die. People are tired of unwanted emails cluttering up their inbox, and are tired of blocking emails only to have a fresh batch of thirty new ones appear in their junk mail folder after two days. If you want to dive into the world of email marketing then feel free to, but know that there are people that will not like you. Here are a few do’s and don’ts of email marketing.
# Do get a double opt in
This is the law in some states, and at least one opt-in is the law in most western and/or developed countries. A double opt-in means that a person has to agree twice. Tricking people with a small box that is already ticked is not enough, as they have to confirm again that they want to be added to your email list. If you use this system to have people confirm by sending them an email with a link on it, then you can check that they actually have the email address they entered, and they can pull it from the junk folder if that is where it landed.
# Do not send emails without permission
It is against the law, which means that almost all the emails you get in your junk folder are sent by people breaking the law. The sheer amount of phishing emails people receive is proof of this anyway.
# Do address the reader directly
This means writing your email as if you are talking directly to that person or as if you are writing a letter directly to that person. It is okay to send emails that look and read as if they are brochures, and if it works for you then that is fine, but as a default position you should address the reader directly.
# Do not use the reader’s name
Using their name in a business situation is always good, but when it comes to email marketing it is more trouble than it is worth. Firstly, people use other people’s email accounts to set up website accounts. Secondly, people often give a fake name when it comes to signing up for online accounts. They then forget they gave a fake name and get an email that uses it. They assume the email is not for them or that it is spam and they block and/or delete.
# Do use imaginative subject lines
The subject line is the first barrier you have to overcome. It is the first place where a reader can say no and delete and/or block your email(s). A dull or boring subject line is sometimes okay, but an imaginative one may get a better response.
# Do not use obscure subject lines in attempts to build curiosity
There are people that use lines such as, “Oh, I give up” or “How long are you going to wait?” This sort of thing is done all the time, and people have learned not to open these sorts of messages. They assume it is some sort of scam or sales page, so they give it a miss. Make sure your subject line is recognizable, such as by saying, “A message from (insert your business name)” or by making it descriptive enough for your reader to know what to expect from the email.
# Do send emails from the same email address
There are spammers and such that have to change email addresses frequently because they are blocked by a lot of people or networks, or they are put on spammer lists, or their email accounts are closed down. You must not do any of this or allow any of it to happen. You have to pick an email address and take care of it. You must keep it because once your emails are being sent to a person’s email inbox you are doing well. Change email addresses for any reason and you are relegated back to the junk folder.
# Do not make your emails too heavy
If there is too much data on the email then it will take longer to load. It may take longer to render too. Both are great reasons for people to click back and not bother looking at your email. Plus, many people access emails via mobile Internet and do not want to waste their Internet allowance on heavy emails.
# Do make your email short enough to keep it interesting
A good email is a short email. You need to get to the point as quickly as possible because people have little patience when it comes to emails. They often want to check through them as quickly as possible. This is not like them sitting down to read things listed on their RSS feed, they may only be quickly checking, so you need to be concise and get to the point right away.
# Do not forget to add links to your email
This is a silly mistake that people make. There is a good chance that people may not follow a link–your email may not even require it, but you should give a link to a website anyway.
# Do put an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email
This is the law in some states (if not all), and it is courteous. If that person blocks your domain then you may never win them back. At least if they unsubscribe then you may win them back one day.
# Do not sell your email list
It may seem like an easy and quick way to make cash, but people often have a fair idea of who is selling their email address to third parties. If a person signs up for a dating site, and does not sign up for anything else within a few weeks, then it becomes obvious who is selling email addresses, and you lose a customer whilst gaining a little bit of bad PR too (Public Relations).