Sep 15, 2010

Emails and E-FAILS!

by: in Email

I am an email marketer’s dream! If you have a product or service that I like, I will sign up for every email, text and bugle alert that you offer. If you give me opportunities for VIP experiences, I will use them; if you highlight new designers, I’ll check them out; and if you ask me (politely) to open, click and buy … well, I just might do that, too.

Recently, though, it seems like some companies are going backward with their email marketing programs. They’re sending emails with no apparent schedule or ridiculous frequency. Subject lines contain obvious words that trigger my spam filter and, as a user, they’re making me do the work to get their message. They’re sending emails that are nothing but humongous images with no alt-text to indicate their intent. And don’t even get me started on the calls to action (or lack thereof).

Today, I’m going to share a few reminders on email marketing best practices with marketers worldwide. You may not be taking advantage of LEAP’s services, but perhaps I can shed some light on how we make email marketing magic!

  • Send an auto-response email, for crying out loud

First and foremost, if people are signing up for communication from you, the auto-responder is your opportunity to make a great impression.

  •  Set your email communication expectations up front

When users sign up for your solicitations, tell them what they will receive and how often; for example, “Thank you for signing up for our Deals of the Week. Look for our new deals every Friday afternoon!”

  • Avoid spam-triggers in your subject lines and copy

Cash. Offer. Win. Prize. Guarantee. Free. Eliminate these delightfully SPAMMY words from your subject lines altogether. Use them sparingly, if at all. A thesaurus can be your best friend.

  • Limit image use and code alt-text in your images

Pictures are pretty; I’m not denying that. However, refrain from making your email content one gigantic image. Setting aside the fact that many email environments (AOL Mail, Yahoo!, Outlook, etc.) frown upon it, large images don’t always render the way marketers intend. If you’re going to use images, code in alt-text so users will want to enable your images to show.

  • No lame calls to action, please

Frankly, I can’t tell you all the logic and magic behind cultivating a stellar email marketing campaign, but I can tell you that when a user willingly opens your promotional email, they are ripe for the clicking. Tell them what you want them to do and what benefit they get from it.

Now that my soapbox has gotten its daily usage, I will leave you with this article from eMarketer and ExactTarget that explains what users want from email marketing.

 

[Post contributed by Emily Carroll]