Beginning in the the early-1970s, email has progressively developed from a niche communication implement into a major marketing tool with the potential to reach hundreds of millions of prospective consumers. With the global expansion of the internet during the 1990s, the popularity of email marketing soared with the medium proving to be a highly effective at generating sales. Today, email remains one of the most widely used marketing platforms in the world mainly due to the massive scope and relative ease of distribution.
Here are 9 of the best practices to keep in mind while designing and distributing a email newsletter.
Clearly define your goals and strategy. Whether you’re trying to sell a particular product, promote a service, garner subscriptions or just disseminate information, your agenda will critically influence your approach to building and distributing your newsletter. Whatever your aims, always make sure you compile a thorough survey of your immediate competitors, so you know what your target audience is already receiving. If you’re new to internet marketing, will help you get the ball rolling and will also allow you to distribute genuinely innovative content.
The ESP sector is hugely complicated with mountains of data constantly being authenticated, organized and reorganized. Many providers source their lists from third-party sources and this sometimes results in obsolete or incorrect data. The ideal ESP should have permission-based list that are updated every quarter. Make sure the one you choose has been personally referred, or find previous users who will give you an honest, unbiased assessment.
The average person will most definitely not read your email word for word, so try to put things across in an expressive nutshell. Your subject lines should be intriguing and consistent since the idea is to place the contents of your newsletter in an easy-to-read format.
Never mail the full text of an issue or even of a single article – use attractive, stand-alone headers, or at the most, partial leads that are linked to your newsletter’s main viewing page. This will not only entice readers to your website (and generate more ad revenue), but may also inculcate a genuine interest in your copy.
Most spam filters are highly suspicious of heavy graphical content, so if you don’t want your newsletter to be inadvertently blacklisted, you’re going to have to tone down the images and HTML graphics. While splashes of color and the odd picture or two won’t pose a problem, you don’t want to base the crux of your design on graphic elements. In any case, many mail clients disable support for images by default.
Using keywords that are often bandied about by spammers is a sure-fire way to put you on the spam radar. You can test your mails against SPAM filters by using applications like SpamAssassin Tests, SpamCheck, Delivery Monitor, etc. Also, make sure you have a rapid response system in place to deal with subscriber feedback and spam complaints.
This essentially means that subscribers will be asked to confirm their subscriptions before they receive any content. In case your lists aren’t entirely current, ask users to reconfirm their subscriptions. This is extra-effective when used in conjunction with a welcome or a thank you message because it also serves as a subscription reminder (you wouldn’t believe how many users simply forget). Double opt-in is a useful standard to follow since you build a list of dedicated users, which in turn helps you avoid spam filters, almost entirely.
If your newsletter or website hosts to ads that stem from spammers, there’s a good chance that it’ll be blacklisted as a spam source. There are plenty of advertisers and in this regard, you cannot err on the side of caution.
Elements of uniformity and consistency are essential to developing a powerful brand and with it, a strong readership. Colours, layouts, fonts, etc., all contribute to creating your brand image and if you are haphazard and inconsistent, brand retention and user loyalty will suffer.
Like every experienced marketer knows, the core value of email marketing is the massive outreach potential of the internet. Minimizing spam scores and optimizing your delivery, click through and open rates will allow you to fully utilize the marketing potential of the world’s largest communications and information network.