The Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

Don’t Do This:
Write a boring subject line or not use one at all.

Do This:
Always include a subject line!
Emails without one may end up in a spam folder.

It should be no more than 50 characters and should briefly describe what your message is about. Try to create a sense of urgency so the email is actually opened.

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Don’t Do This:
Address your recipients in an impersonal manner.
“Hey You” (This is a bit creepy)
“To Whom it May Concern” (The absolute worst!)
“Dear Sir/Madam” (Too formal and not personal)
“Hi Joe” – or any name that isn’t theirs (Getting someone’s name wrong is never acceptable)
“Hello Mrs. X” (Mr. and Mrs. isn’t neccessary)

Do This:
Make your emails personal!
Use the contact’s first name (where possible) in every email and address specific comments or concerns if you can.

Using a prefix or fill name is too formal for an email and actually makes it less personal. And most importantly, make sure you’re calling the person by the correct name!

Don’t Do This:
Use more than 3 fonts or font sizes, or multiple colors

Do This:
Use only 1-2 fonts and one color to create a clean look that is easy to read.

Multiple fonts and colors do not create a professional feel, but rather distracts the reader from the actual content.

Don’t Do This:
WRITE IN ALL CAPS

Do This:
Never write an email in all caps.
It gives the tone that you’re yelling at your recipients, which is not exactly a good way to generate rapport or increase conversations.

Don’t Do This:
Send emails that are not easily viewable in your email browser (images not displaying, unable to click on links, etc.)

Do This:
Design images that are small enough to appear automatically when the email is opened, and don’t use spammy promotional images (these will generally get blocked by the browser).

Don’t Do This:
Send emails that are irrelevant to the recipient.

Do This:
Learn about your subscriber audience and determine which products or services they are most likely to be interested in.

Break up your email list into groups and send different messages based on their interests and preferences.

Repeat emails of irrelevant promotions might lead someone to automatically delete future communications without opening them.

Don’t Do This:
Sign emails with just your name, job title, and/or company name.

Do This:
Try to include a full signature at the bottom of every email to maximize the likelihood of future communication. Otherwise, the only way to contact you is by replying to your email.

You don’t have to do this, but it’s ideal if you can.

Don’t Do This:
Send emails solely from a generic address.

Do This:
Communicate from your personal email address whenever possible, even with email blasts to a large group of contacts. It reminds recipients that the messages are sent from real people and is likely to make them feel more valued.

Don’t Do This:
Forget to include social media icons or links (for sharing)

Do This:
Include social media links at the bottom of your emails to increase engagement. Email recipients may want to follow you or share your promotion with friends.

Don’t Do This:
Recycle emails: Send emails with the exact same subject line or message during one campaign period
Example: (subject lines of emails sent 2 week apart)
“Ring in the New Year with Savings on Shipping”
“Just in case you missed it: Ring in the New Year with Savings on Shipping!”

Do This:
Even if your offer/special doesn’t change, find ways to re-work the email to keep it fresh.

Use different subject lines, text, or designs so your emails don’t appear spammy. Identical emails sent over time increase the likelihood of ending up in a junk folder.

Don’t Do This:
Compose one version of an email and send to your entire contact list.

Do This:
Conduct A/B testing to see what messaging or design prompts the highest open and conversion rates.

It’s unlikely that one email format is going to appeal to your entire audience, so it’s worth spending some time researching.

Don’t Do This:
Send emails that are not compatible for mobile devices.
Example: This is how the email looks upon opening. You have to zoom out to see the entire message.

Do This:
Create emails that are both desktop and mobile-friendly through responsive design. If a recipient opens an email that requires zooming or doesn’t load properly, they’re unlikely to keep reading.

Don’t Do This:
Create no call-to-action (CTA)

Do This:
Include a clear call-to-action that will advise the reader on what you want them to do or what you have to offer them.

Recipients should be able to determine your CTA within 5 seconds of looking at your email.

Don’t Do This:
Only send sales-focused emails.

Do This:
Mix up the type of content you share so readers don’t get bored or turned off. Sending “thank yous” or holiday greetings help generate rapport and add a human element to your communications.

Don’t Do This:
Determine email campaign success solely by open rate.

Do This:
Look at several metrics to determine a campaign’s success, like click-throughs and conversions.

A lot of people will open an email but won’t go any further, so you can’t fully determine the effectiveness that way.

The Dos and Don'ts of Email Marketing
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