eMail Marketing Best Practices

Best practices for your eMail Marketing Program…

  1. Rule #1 of email marketing is to be absolutely sure that every link in your email contains the proper tracking snippets.

    Use a tool such as Google’s URL Builder to add “UTM” snippets to your links so that you can easily identify email traffic and sales in your Google Analytics account.  Without these snippets in place your email traffic will incorrectly appear as “direct” traffic in your analytics account.  A properly tagged link will look like:
    http://www.mysite.com/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=todays_date


    For more information on how to best use the URL builder we suggest reading A Complete Guide to the New Google URL Builder.

  2. Is the “From” address easily identifiable by the recipient?

    Terms like “customerservice@mydomain.com” should be avoided in sales-oriented emails.  Transaction or order acknowledgments may use those kinds of “from” addresses.  Instead try using addresses such as “sales@mydomain.com” or “marketing@mydomain.com”.

  3. Is the subject line compelling?

    You should have copy that will entice the reader to open the email to learn more about a limited-time offer, new product or valuable information.  Try to instill a sense of urgency whenever possible.

  4. Is the subject line 65 characters or less?

    Experiment with subject line length.  Some demographics prefer longer, more descriptive subject lines and others prefer brief, to-the-point subject lines.

  5. Is the subject line devoid of words, special characters and punctuation marks that will activate a spam filter?

    If you are using one of the more popular ESPs, spam checks may be done automatically. If not, consider purchasing software that automates the process and stays up-to-date with industry best practices.

  6. When the message arrives in someone’s inbox, will they be readily able to identify your brand?

    If the recipient does not immediately recognize you as the sender your message will likely end up in the trash without being opened.

  7. Does the email contain elements of the company’s primary web presence?

    Use similar colors, themes and banners as what’s seen on your website.  Ensure that your brand’s image is consistent across channels.

  8. Is it “above the fold”?

    If an offer is mentioned in the subject line, is it clearly visible “above the fold” when the email is viewed in a preview pane (think Microsoft Outlook).

  9. Is everything hyperlinked?

    Are key elements and/or images in the email hyperlinks to additional product information or promotional information?

  10. Are the landing pages for hyperlinked elements relevant?
  11. Are the usual web links that customers may associate with your company readily available and easy to find in your message?

    Using the top-navigation format from your website in your emails is a good way to ensure consistency.

  12. Is a text only version of your message available?

    Believe it or not, some recipients still prefer or can only receive text-only messages.

  13. Is a link to a “view in browser” version available for customers who cannot read HTML emails?

    Again, some recipients cannot read HTML emails. Additionally some email systems do not automatically download images in messages.

  14. Are the images in the email tagged with descriptive “alt” tags for those who do not download images automatically?

    This best practice for your website should also be used in your email templates.

  15. Is there a link to the account login?

    If the recipient already has an account with your company, is there an easy link to the account login?

  16. Is the email targeted to relevance based on past purchases or other data?  Personalization is becoming more important by the day!

    If your technology will not allow you to personalize messages, consider using a service that can do this for you.

  17. Are your messages CAN-SPAM compliant?

    Be sure that you include an “unsubscribe” link in your messages, as well as other required information such as your company name and address.

  18. Has the email been tested for compatibility with the most common email readers and browsers?

    Your message can render differently, and sometimes incorrectly, depending on what the recipient is using to view it.

  19. Is your email blast frequency appropriate for your customers?

    Be very wary of over-saturation.  This can turn your customers off very quickly.

  20. What day of the week and time of the day does best for your email program?

    Historically, Tuesday mornings have been best for marketing emails, however you must test this on your own.  It is not the same for every company!

The most important element for your email program is testing.  You must test everything!  Test your subject line length, day of week, colors, backgrounds, calls to action…everything!