Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools we have today to grow a business. But if not used wisely, it can cause unprecedented and irrevocable damage to your brand’s reputation.
There are good, bad and best practices in email marketing that we must adhere to. Sadly, while we all know what the bad practices are, we adopt them anyway just to make things convenient for us.
Some email practices that need to be stayed away from include:
- Random emailing lists
It is always polite to first email and ask a person if he is willing to be on the list at all before adding him. This way, he is much more receptive of the mail and won’t just delete it or worse, report you as spam.
- Not offering an unsubscribe option
Ensure there is an easy option for recipients to opt out of future correspondences. If and when they do so, respect their choice of unsubscribing and remove them from your mailing list. This will ensure your chances of being reported as spam are drastically reduced. The unsubscribe option must be valid for at least 30 days.
- Irrelevant emails with useless or misleading subject lines
Sending relevant emails to satisfy recipients’ real interests should be the priority. The email subject line must be clear and not misleading. The email shouldn’t rant on by giving useless and annoying messages to the recipient without even asking for his subscription.
- Lengthy emails with broken links
Ensure the mails you send are brief and precise, and the links in the mails are working perfectly. People do not have time to read annoyingly long mails with a bunch of links that go nowhere.
- Using too many images
Always make sure your images are optimized before adding them to your email. Ideally, adding images should be avoided altogether. However, sometimes when you need supplementary images to effectively deliver your message, make sure that you stay clear from image-only emails at all costs. Whenever you add an image to your email, be sure to add an explanatory text to it.
- Messing with the CAN-SPAM act
Effective Jan. 1, 2004, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 has become a law. A fine of up to $11,000 has been set up by the FTC for each email address you send an illegal mail to. Make sure all your emails accord with the Act. The key pointers to be followed are:
- Deceptive headers, names, reply-to-addresses and subject lines must be avoided
- A link to unsubscribe must be present in all mails. This link must be valid for at least 30 days
- A physical mailing list must be included
- The exact location of your business must be included in all emails
- Requests to unsubscribe must be respected and attended to immediately
- In case of an advertisement, the email must mention the same
- Repeatedly sending the same email
Be sure not to bombard your recipients with the same emails repeatedly. Not only is it annoying, it can also invite a lawsuit against your company and you might be marked as spam forever.
- Missing element of email responsiveness
Make sure your emails are well designed for both desktops and mobiles. Content that looks natural when viewed on desktops, phones and / or tablets is a must in preventing people from unsubscribing.
- Using irregular fonts and formats
Ensure uniform font type and size of text throughout your email. Your content should be proof read and not plagiarized. Colourful texts and other designs must be avoided at all costs. Do not include any wallpapers or background images that are not needed.
- Bad content
Last but not the least; make sure your content is strong and effective. There is nothing worse than having a recipient take the time to open your email, click through your link, land on your page only to come face to face with something completely useless or irrelevant to him. You will be part of the spam folder of his mailbox for the rest of his life.