A host of tips and tricks on a number of separate factors that affect email delivery and open rates are available, from our website blogs and those of other email marketingconsultant and service provider organisations; choice of subject lines, main body content, graphic content, avoiding spam like characteristics and the list goes on. How does this miasma of tips, tricks, do’s and don’ts coalesce down into a digestible number of key messages? Here are my five killer tips, filtered down from all the best practice advice I and others have developed over the years;
1. The quality and provenance of the address list is everything.
An awful lot of email marketing users make use of third party purchased address lists. Yes, this is in breach of all the rules and is in some circumstances illegal, but I’ve have recently read advice in a national newspaper business advice page that small businesses should use email marketing to reach a wide customer base, employing an address list purchased from a marketing company. Legitimate email marketing service providers do not allow the use of lists of unqualified provenance and for a very good reason – they will be harvested and/or manufactured addresses and will undoubtedly hit anti-spam firewalls and traps and tarnish the reputation of your company.
This is such a waste of time and money, as a quality email list is worth its weight in gold. It should be cherished, nurtured and polished regularly.
• Use a list of trusted provenance, preferably one that has been self-generated.
• Keep the list updated with removal of opt-outs, additions of opt-ins, removal of corrupted or moribund addresses etc.
2. Target your campaign.
Develop your address list from contacts, or proven opt-in market lists of organisations or people who are likely to be receptive to your product, service or newsletter. A small list of A1 target addresses will achieve far more ‘bang-for-buck’ than a huge list of uninterested or downright irritated recipients.
3. The subject line is the ‘open me’.
What the sub-line says as it appears in the inbox determines whether it is opened or goes straight to junk. Once the junk button has been hit, a learning spam filter will junk all future emails from your company. My guidelines in previous blogs set out the best practice for sub-lines. In summary;
• Make it as long as you can within the limits of the service. It will stand out in the inbox.
• Try to use a less obvious message – intrigue, interest, mystify.
• Avoid overtly selling phrases.
4. Be careful with coding.
A code heavy email will stand less chance of passing through the anti-spam and similar filters within an ISP, firewall or company-wide filter than will a lean and mean email.
• Keep code heavy format changes, colour etc. to a minimum.
• Be economic with graphic content.
• Ensure HTML and plain-text versions are as near as possible identical.
• Bug test your design with different email readers.
5. Develop habit within your target market.
Many make the mistake of sending one campaign then going to sleep for a few months. It is good practice to develop the habit within your customer base to await and open your messages. Send on a regular basis and DO NOT resend old stale messages. Work at it to create the expectation within your customers of fresh new stuff that will trigger interest each time. Email marketing can be the comfortable resting place of lazy marketing departments looking to tick the box (perhaps for the benefit of the boss). It should be regarded as the key route to market for most companies and given the effort to achieve demand.
At Email Blaster UK