Make your marketing emails fly

By: John Keating

Date: 23 March 2011

You've got an up-to-date, opted-in email list but how can you get the most from your email campaigns?

Here are 15 handy tips to help your emails on the way. Fly my pretties, fly..

Get matey with ISPs

They are your friend. Send your emails in a steady rate from a dedicated and consistent IP address. This way, you build up a nice reputation with the ISPs and the E-romance begins.

From address

[email protected] = win. [email protected] = #Fail. Make it friendly. Make it personal.

Speak to your prospects

Tell them how you want to communicate with them, better still ask them how they want to be communicated with — frequency, visible privacy policy, opt-in details.

Loopholes = bad news

Don't use email data that is not permission based. It's not big or clever and yes, we know there are technical work-arounds but you will just end up blacklisted and with a brand in tatters. That office stationary company in Bury – I will never use you because of your email policy.

Build a loyal following

Put an opt-in box on your email html to opt them in specifically for your company.

Better safe than sorry

Ask to be put in the safe senders list within their address book. This decreases likelihood of your message ending up in the spam file.

Give Unsubscribe options on every email

No excuse not to, there is no point in speaking to people who are not interested in what you have to say. And make it easy, no more than two clicks required. Make sure that it's branded with your logo and company name, this helps with trust.

Virtual v reality

If possible, have an offline point of contact for people to unsubscribe such as an address or phone number. Again, this helps with trust and service.

Spic and span

Flag your hard bounces and keep your list clean. Don't waste good money to send to poor data. Your data is an asset and needs to be treated as such. Take out duplicates, flag gone-aways and keep it up to date.

Three strikes

Have a soft bounce policy to deal with temporary errors. A common one is three strikes and you're out, if an email bounces three times then flag it as gone-away.

Standing on the shoulders

Consider Email Service Providers (ESPs) that offer a delivery management solution – this monitors your ISP reputation and status.

Standing on the shoulders 2

Again, consider using an ESP to take advantage of their reputation and status with ISPs. They are often white-listed and have years' worth of good rep!

Spam score your email HTMLs

Avoid large images, lots of different coloured text and excessive numbers of links.

Subject lines

Nothing dodgy in there. Avoid FREE, OFFER, caps and !!!! — those little blighters will cause you spam problems.

Testing: inbox preview

Preview your HTML in various ISP inboxes to check it all looks fine and keep the best call to action above the fold (in the preview pane ).

John Keating is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut and director at Databroker.