I’m a client? Some things not to do in email marketing

Search Engine Strategies sent me a Client Newsle… today. What’s wrong with this email? Here’s my short list. Do you see anything else?

#1. No use of preview text. Solution: Use your preview text. Your email software has the ability to set the preview text either in an explicit value or, at minimum, in the “alternative text” email content.

#2. The sender text is duplicated in the From text. Solution: Use unique content in both the Subject and From lines. While it is good to name your company in either the From line or the Subject line, it’s a waste of space to use both.

#3 Poor use of subject line. Solution: Your subject line should acknowledge, in 55 characters or less, your recipients’ burning question, “What’s in it for me?” In this example, the Subject line is not very exciting. I’m not dying to open “Client Newsletter #5.” Instead, I’m thinking: “What’s in it for me? Extra leads? Photos from the show floor? Statistics?” Since we exhibited at the show, entice us with a statistic or news about the show – “SES San Jose sees 15% increase in floor traffic”.

#4. I didn’t ask for this newsletter. Solution: Get a conscious opt in from your newsletter recipients. While Market Motive was an exhibitor at the SES San Jose show, I didn’t ask for a newsletter, and I don’t think of myself as a client. It’s true, no CAN SPAM laws are being broken here, but we’ve all learned that it’s just good marketing sense to get a conscious opt-in from each recipient.

#5 Missing image areas can push interesting content too far down in the reading area. Few client readers display images by default. Solution: Make your content pleasing to the eye, and place the most interesting content as far up and to the left as you can. In this example, I have to scan several inches past the image frames and “welcome” text (who reads this?) to search for the ‘real’ content.

Now, the ClickZ/Incisive folks are great marketers. In fact, they publish loads of articles on good email practices . So, let’s assume they outsourced this email and it somehow slipped between the quality cracks. There’s another blog topic right there. Your thoughts?


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  1. Jennifer Laycock says

    I’m not an email marketing guru, but one thing stands out to me from a simple common sense point of view…

    If you have to include a “unsubscribe” option in the opening paragraph of your email, (above the table of contents) rather than at the very bottom…it likely means that you KNOW you are emailing people that don’t want to receive your email…

    …and if you know you are sending email to people who don’t want to receive so much that you need to include an unsubscribe message that early in the text, why are you sending those people email?

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