As part of a social media project I’m working on, I spent some time tonight researching different email marketing tools. I also looked for best practices when sending newsletters.
The result? Some surprises – others, not so much. Here are my top 11 findings:
1. Keep emails social – i.e. Make sure subscribers can easily share your emails with friends/followers. Also, make it easy for them to spot links to your social networking sites.
2. Send welcome note. Establish the relationship early.
3. Avoid the following words: free, help, percent off, reminder, donation.
4. Avoid using the exact same subject line. Avoid exclamation marks.
5. Use 50 characters or less in the subject line. Consider the use of questions in the subject line
6. Do the occasional A/B testing.
7. Never buy or rent a list. (Get people to subscribe.)
8. Avoid spammy phrases; also, avoid all caps. e.g. “CLICK HERE NOW!!!” or “LIMITED TIME OFFER!”
9. Make it easy for subscribers to unsunscribe if they want to.
10. Include your organization name in the “From” line.
11. Include great content.
I do send email newsletters in my current job, and so this was also of particular interest to me. I think doing A/B testing is really important because, as I’ve learned in the last Net Tuesday meetup I attended, what works for one company may not work at all for another organization. Including great content is another no-brainer, but it’s nevertheless good to be reminded to do it.
It’s a bit of a surprise to learn that using the word “help” is not a good idea. Same with “free”. I suppose we see these words so frequently now that we (and the spam filters) just assume that marketers use these to trick consumers.