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10 Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

This is a guest post by Ilona Hetsevich.email marketing

As one of the oldest forms of online marketing, email marketing is unique in retaining its high levels of effectiveness over the years. This has not happened by standing still, however – marketers need to stay wise to the techniques and tactics that make an email marketing campaign soar above the competition.

Here are 10 dos and don’ts:

1. DO use segmentation to increase conversions

By diligently gathering customer information, you can better target specific customers by mailing them on special occasions, rewarding customer loyalty, or any other way to make customers feel special you can think of.

2. DON’T use word processor programs to design email templates

Word is great for documents but inappropriate for designing email templates due to the problems with transferability. Use template design apps from reliable specialist companies such as dotMailer instead.

3. DO ask customers to write reviews

Email trusted customers with this request, sweetened by the prospect of vouchers or other special offers. This not only gives you valuable insights into customers, but also into how well your online shop is functioning.

4. DON’T venture outside tried and tested HTML standards

When writing HTML code, it’s important to remember that it shows up differently in different browsers. Check carefully that you are using standardised HTML and that you’ve made no mistakes.

5. DO include a plain text version of all emails

No matter how beautiful and well-designed your HTML templates are, there is always the risk they cannot be supported on some email clients or third party email apps. Always give customers the chance to switch to plain text to ensure you get the message across.

6. DON’T leave out alt attributes for your images

Not only do alt attributes assist search engines, they also help users whose email clients habitually block images. With alt attributes, the user can see what the image was and possibly click on through.

7. DO email inactive customers

If you spot customers on your mailing list that have not visited your web shop for a significant period, then you really should send them a “reactivation” email. By striving to win them back, you can increase conversions and site traffic.

8. DON’T make URLs too long

A long URL spoils the look of your email, and should be easily avoided using link shorteners and plain text links.

9. DO reward loyalty

Your best customers deserve to know they are! Give those that provide the top 20% of sales regular incentives, with an automated reward system that triggers emails containing offers and discounts whenever they pass a certain sales threshold.

10. DON’T embed videos unless vital to the message

Effective as videos are, they greatly increase loading times and can make your emails fall foul of many email clients spam detectors.

Ilona Hetsevich writes on behalf of dotDigital Group PLC. She is highly interested in web analytics and market research. She knows 4 foreign languages, is fond of travelling and hiking, and spends free time by exploring new cultures and trying foreign cuisine.



24 responses to “10 Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing”

  1. James says:

    Such a great yet interesting post. Thank you very much for sharing this helpful stuff.

  2. Rusty says:

    Thanks for the great insights with regards to email marketing. Many IM’ers will benefit on your tips including me.

    Thanks for the share. I’ve g+ this post!

  3. Jane says:

    Really crucial dos and don’ts. In fact not just videos, but even unwanted images can cause problems. For instance, not every subscriber would have enabled images or be willing to do so. And embedded images or videos will make the email bulky – sometimes can also lead to deliverability issues.

  4. I’ve just started building my subscriber list, so this is important for me to learn. Nicely done post. All ten seem like good things to remember.

    • I’d love to hear more about your strategy Brian. How are you building your list and what are you going to send to your list? I am currently testing a pop-up to get more subscribers, and it works great.

      • I would imagine that I’ll send out announcements for the releases of my novels. When I do send something out, I’ll let you know how it works. Right now my list is so tiny it is hardly worth it.

        • Are you using Feedblitz for your newsletter? I was just over at your site wanting to sign up, and one advice I want to give you is to have a bigger subscription form. I am currently using a pop-up, even though I don’t like them (they are too aggressive), they are really powerful in order to get people to subscribe.

  5. Corey Smith says:

    Another Don’t.

    Don’t use evil pop-ups to try to get people to subscribe to your lists.

    • I am not sure if I agree Corey. I must say that I don’t like to see pop-ups, but they are so effective, and I am testing one right now, and I get at least 10x more subscribers when I am using a pop-up than when I am not using one. And for a business, that’s a very important number.

  6. Arianne says:

    Simple and yet effective. I specially agree with the fact that templates are NOT to be used. That’s one great tip right there.

  7. Thanks Ilona, this is a very clear and helpful post!

  8. Serdar Kara says:

    Nice post describing technique for successful e-mail marketing. The tips and tricks shown here will make e-marketing successful. Thank you for providing such useful information.

  9. This is useful information here Jens-Petter. Email marketing and traffic generation for me is still pretty new, so I’m trying to gather all the information that I can – this post certainly helps!. Many thanks!

  10. Adrienne says:

    Hi Ilona, welcome to Jens place!

    I love these and I can even see a few things I’m not doing. Now I do have an imagine in my newsletter but it’s my blog header so that when someone opts into my list and they get that first message they sure as heck know who they opted into. I don’t want them hitting that spam button by mistake because they can’t remember how many lists they opted into. For the most part I’ve gotten a lot of complements about that so it’s working.

    I haven’t emailed non active subscribers because if they haven’t opened an email from me in over three months then I delete them off my list. I’m not paying for them to be there but I am in contact with a lot of my readers so I’m never not around.

    Great tips though, thank you. There is always room for improvement.

    ~Adrienne

  11. Jessica says:

    Simple and yet effective. I specially agree with the fact that templates are NOT to be used. That’s one great tip right there.Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  12. Johnny Bravo says:

    Great tips Ilona. A question I have. Is it preferable to do plain text or HTML emails? I’ve heard that the response rate is better with plain text emails. In addition they look less spammy. Thoughts?

  13. Great tips! I would also add a couple of things. Do not to copy and paste articles and other information directly from Word. If your email marketing system doesn’t have a little conversion icon (that lets you paste it in and they convert it for you), paste it into a text file (eg. Notepad) first, and then copy and paste that into your newsletter. Another thing, test, test, test. LOL. Send out test messages to yourself (preferably to different email systems — Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo) before sending it out to your list to make sure everything displays okay, there are no errors and that all links work.

  14. Bendan Hardy says:

    Great tips Ilona. I would expand on #7, in so far as it is always a good idea to have a retargeting program that identifies and reaches out to customers in a sequenced fashion. As you say, it spurs conversation but also can open a new vertical to market to.

  15. Mitesh Sanghvi says:

    email marketing campaign is targeted and appropriate, your messages will be well received, and recipients won’t want to opt out. By making it difficult for people to unsubscribe, even your regulars will smell a rat. Be professional and gracious about impinging on someone else’s time when building an email list.

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