Monday, October 28, 2013

Crisis Management using Social Media – Buffer Case Study

On Saturday, I received an email with subject “Buffer has been hacked – here is what’s going on”. As an ardent Buffer fan and user, my first reaction was “Oh my god. What must have happened to my tweets/ Facebook posts?”. But when I opened the email, I was up for a pleasant surprise. Yes, I am saying a “pleasant surprise”. Here is why:

#1: The email did not beat around the bush but clearly stated the fact that buffer has been hacked and it’s a problem which needs to be handled. At the same time, the language and tone clearly showed that the Buffer team was concerned and apologetic about what happened. While things can go wrong with anyone, finally taking the ownership makes or breaks the deal.


#2: The email clearly stated what needs to be done next – which is most important.

#3: While the Buffer team was working round the clock for solving the problem, it made sure that team members were posting constant updates on their live blog, Facebook and Twitter. Having worked on software products for a considerable period in my career, I can fully understand how difficult it must be for the team to handle the issues and solve the technical problems. But at the same time, they made sure that they don’t keep the users in dark. I was amazed to see updates almost after every couple of hours.  The frequency of the updates clearly showed that the team was working round the clock over the weekend to take care of this crisis.

#4: Here is what completely amazed and blew me away. I posted a tweet congratulating the buffer team for their excellent crisis management and I got a personalized response. Note that buffer has 145K followers and I can only imagine the flood of mentions it must have got after the hacking incident. Responding to each tweet – that too in a so much personalized manner in incredible!

The personalized signature at the end of the tweet from Buffer team made me look at their “About Us” section to know really who the members are. What increased my respect for the team is the fact that the buffer team is only 13 people and the people who responded to my tweet did not necessarily belong to “marketing” or “social media” department. Belle is the Content Crafter there and Brian is the Designer!  Yet again, a fine example to emphasize the fact that marketing is no more confined to marketing department.

Key takeaways from this:
-          In case of crisis like this, be honest and transparent. Show the concern and at the same time, accept and take complete responsibility
-          Communicate the updates and tell the affected community that you are working on it
-          Social Media is a powerful channel – while you enjoy publishing news and achievements there, it can very well be used in such situations as well  
-          Social media is not ONLY marketing department job. The whole buffer team, right from the CEO to the Designer, all of them were on social channel, responding to queries, feedback and appreciations.
-          Give a personal touch to your social media presence– to be honest, the personalized response to my tweet made me write this blog post!

Have you witnessed any other fine example of crisis management using social media? Share your comments!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Brands Paying Heavy Price for Social Media Insensitivity

Yes, social media undoubtedly offers a great way to brands to connect with the consumers, build emotional rapport and have a more personalized connection with them. And when we talk about emotional connection, it is important that the brands remain sensitive about what they publish on social media.

Here are examples of some social media disasters where brands had to pay a heavy price for being insensitive on social media.

#1: Chipotle Mexican Grill

Recently Chipotle faked its Twitter hack. 

Undoubtedly, it got the attention from public. The number of followers increased – but are they really the people who want to engage with the brand? I doubt. The supposedly hacked tweets got thousands of RTs. But are these creating any value for the brand or for the audience? Not at all!

I firmly believe and continue to reiterate that brands need to look at quality of conversations and engagement through social media – rather than the numbers like followers and RTs only.

I am sure ardent fans of Chipotle certainly did not appreciate this stunt and somewhere the trust was shaken.  

#2:  Volkswagen India

Volkswagen India did a “vibrating newspaper” ad in leading newspapers across India. Indeed an innovation – it became the talk of the Twitter town and blogosphere. Positive and negative comments started pouring in. Volkswagen unfortunately was not prepared to handle the attention.

There were many tweets about the vibrating newspaper not being appreciated. In response to that (probably as a defense), Volkswagen India tweeted “Women would be dumb to call it a vibrator. Or maybe they do not understand real driving experience. #PunIntended #Volkswagen #Creative”.

Obviously such sexist tweet was retweeted many times and received lot of backlashing. Volkswagen deleted the tweet and all the ReTweets. But the following screenshot, taken by Nandita remained and that will continue to remind people about the insensitivity shown by Volkswagen. Yes, Volkswagen responded after more than 3 days that its Twitter handle was compromised and they are looking into it – but is anybody in the mood to listen?

(Via Social Samosa)
Mistakes happen but brands really need to learn handling negative comments on social media. Deleting the tweet or post is NOT an option.

#3: Hyundai

In April 2013, Hyundai released an ad for British market depicting a man attempting suicide by suffocating himself with exhaust fumes inside his Hyundai car. But he fails because the Hyundai ix35 fuel cell car emits only water vapor. 

While the ad makers were patting their backs when The Drum magazine named it as Ad of the Week, something happened - A few days after the ad was released, an advertising copywriter in London posted a blog post in which she posted the suicide note of her father who had committed suicide in exactly the same manner.

The blog post immediately went viral – and the ad became viral for all the wrong reasons. Hyundai did tweet an apology and withdrew the ad. But the copies of the ad were already out on YouTube and other channels. How to handle the crisis is a different story, but I think suicide should not be promoted in advertising in any way. Period.

#4: KFC, Thailand

In April 2012, after an earthquake of 8.5 Richter at the coast of Indonesia, the whole Thailand was watching tsunami warnings and was fearing the worst. At such time, KFC Thailand thought of ‘cashing’ on it and posted on its Facebook wall:

“Let’s hurry home and follow the earthquake news. And don’t forget to order your favorite KFC menu.

Such insensitive post, on the company Facebook wall, was obviously not appreciated by the people who were associated with the brand on Facebook. When thousands of people lost their lives in Tsunami, all this food chain could think of was its Chicken. Although the post was taken down later on, it had done the damage.

5: American Apparel

In October 2012, when Sandy Hurricane hit the East Coast of United States and was creating havoc in that part of the country, the leading retailer American Apparel thought that it could cash on this by offering ‘discounts’ to people!

(Via Forbes)

Along with a very ‘helpful map’, American Apparel sent out an email announcing 20% discount for 36 hours for the customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Unsurprisingly, the Twitterati backlashed it in a big way – to the extent where people announced on Twitter about them boycotting the American Apparel stores. The damage was irreversible. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Power of Social Collaboration to Create Your Personal Brand

I am super excited to be part of this event happening in Pune on September 7th. Apart from sharing my own learning on using social media tools for building a powerful personal brand, I am more excited to listen to the panelists and learn through the interactions.

When: September 7, 2013 11:00 am to 1:00pm
Where: Persistent Bhageerath, S.B. Road, Pune

Come and join us for an exciting Saturday morning!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

10 Tips for Writing a Great Press Release

The first question which could come to the mind of business owners is: what should I write about in the Press Release? Well, there are many scenarios when one can send out a press release. You could do a PR on winning an award, for announcing a new product, new office opening, new customer acquisition or announcing your grand expansion plans. Press Release is one of the most important forms of formal communications.

Here is a handy checklist of 10 things to keep in mind while writing your next press release.

#1: Keep it grammatically correct

Grammatically incorrect sentences, spelling mistakes is a strict NO in a press release. Proof read the PR (many times, if required) to ensure that there are no language errors in your PR.

#2: Keep it short and newsworthy

It is not enough that you are excited about the news. The press release needs to catch the attention of the reader too. Make it newsworthy by mentioning clearly as to what is so great about the news. Don’t make it too long – I would highly recommend keeping it one page or maximum two pages.

#3: Headline Makes it or Break it

The headline of the press release will make the reader decide whether she wants to read further or not. Make sure that the headline no longer than 8 words. I usually recommend including company name in the headline. If required, include a sub-heading giving more information about the news – but do know that the headline should not be incomplete without the sub-heading.

#4: Spend 80% time in writing the first paragraph

Well, don’t take it literally! What I mean to say here is you need to pay very careful attention in writing the first paragraph of your press release. Include the crux of the news in the first paragraph – the reader needs to understand what you wish to convey. Include your company name, the news, why the news is so great and what is your company’s take on the news.  But – this certainly does not mean that your first paragraph is ten lines long. The first paragraph should not be more than 4-5 lines with very short sentences.

#5: Include quotes

Include quotes from the management/ customers/ partners to bring in some personal touch and authenticity to the press release. Don’t forget to include the complete and accurate title of the person whom you are quoting.  

#6: Bring in hard facts, accurate numbers

Bring in solid numbers, hard facts and statistics, as appropriate, to your press release. These add lot of influence to the release and make it newsworthy.   

#7: Allow people to know more

Considering that you have written a press release which can intrigue the reader enough, ensure that you provide a website URL or some other information for getting more information. Typically reporters, journalists or bloggers do like to know the more stories about the news which are not written in the release.

#8: Include Boilerplate

Boilerplate is the standard description about your company which is used consistently without change. Readers like journalists, bloggers, potential investors, customers or job seekers usually read the boilerplate to know about the company. It is important that the boilerplate is small, concise and clearly states what your company is, what it offers and whom does it provide products/ services.

#9: Optimize the keywords and language

Many press releases go online today and you need to ensure that the press release uses the right set of keywords so that it also helps in your Search Engine Optimization efforts. But do take care that you do not load the press release with unnecessary keywords.

#10: Include contact information

Provide clear contact information with name, title, email address, physical address and phone number of your media contact. Reporters might want to connect with you for more information and clearly stated contact information makes the job easier.

Good luck with your next PR! With the hard work of creating a newsworthy item done, focus on cashing on it! 

Friday, May 24, 2013

15 Awesome Social Media Quotes

We all have been hearing a lot about social media marketing. It is no more a buzzword and businesses - small or large - have started adopting it in very creative ways to create engagement, connection and communication with their consumers. 

Presenting here are 15 really excellent quotes about social media which we truly swear by. Have a look! 

#1: We don't have a choice on whether we DO social media, the question is how well we DO it – Erik Qualman

#2: Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social. ~ Jay Baer

#3: The beauty of social media is that it will point out your company’s flaws; the key questions is how quickly you address these flaws. -Erik Qualmann, Socialnomics

#4: Social networks aren’t about Web sites. They’re about experiences. -Mike DiLorenzo

#5: Quit counting fans, followers and blog subscribers like bottle caps. Think, instead, about what you’re hoping to achieve with and through the community that actually cares about what you’re doing. – Amber Naslund, Social Media Today

#6: The difference between PR and social media is that PR is about positioning, and social media is about becoming, being and improving. – Chris Brogan, author of Trust Agents

#7: Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations. – Seth Godin

#8: The qualities that make Twitter seem insane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful ~ Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law Professor

#9: The problem with trying to determine ROI for Social Media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable. ~ Jason Falls (Social Media Keynote Speaker)

#10: Social marketing eliminates the middlemen, providing brands the unique opportunity to have a direct relationship with their customers. - Bryan Wiener

#11: Saying Hello doesn’t have an ROI. It’s about building relationships. Gary Vaynerchuk

#12: Social media isn’t inexpensive, it’s different expensive. 

#13: This is the most rapidly changing landscape ever–a year ago we did not talk about Pinterest, today it’s third in popularity after Facebook and Twitter.  - Dave Kerpen, CEO, Likeable Media

#14: Social Media puts the “public” into PR and the “market” into marketing. - Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs

#15: Social media doesn’t create negativity, it uncovers it.

Reading these quotes, I thought you might want to read some social media related articles. Below are some of the most read articles on this blog:

  1. Handling Negative Comments on Social Media. Read here
  2. Social Media ROI – Measuring the Quantitative and Qualitative Results – Read it here
  3. Your 10 Most Common Social Media Questions Answered – Read it here
  4. Mind Your Facebook Page Etiquettes – Dos and Don’ts – Read the article here
  5. Don’t Believe if you Hear This About Social Media – Complete article here

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Don’t Commit These 10 Mistakes on LinkedIn

LinkedIn recently crossed 200M users worldwide. If you have ever done some ego surfing (searching for your own name on search engines), you will notice that your LinkedIn profile is most probably the first link which appears (provided you have created one). Recruiters are increasingly turning to LinkedIn for searching for right candidates to play critical roles in organizations.  

LinkedIn is a very powerful social media platform for establishing individual brand authority and also to generate business leads.

So there is no doubt that every professional must have a thoughtfully created LinkedIn profile. However, simply creating a profile is not the end of the story. You need to be active and participative there to create a strong personal brand. How and what to do – I will cover that in the coming blog posts.

In this particular post, we will look at 10 things which you definitely SHOULD NOT be doing on LinkedIn.

#1: Incomplete Profile
Once you decide to be present on LinkedIn, invest some time in completing your profile. It
does not matter whether you are a fresher or an experienced person, you need to have a properly completed profile. Include details about your education, companies you have worked with and don’t forget to elaborate on the role you played at those companies. Include specialties which differentiate you. If you want people to contact you, don’t forget to include the best way to reach you.

#2: Canned Connection Requests
When you are sending a connection request to someone, don’t be lazy and just send the standard invite. Mention in your invite as to why you think there will be value in connecting. People don’t like connection requests from unknown people but if the request is personalized, there is a great chance that you will end up making a valuable professional connection on LinkedIn.

#3: Getting Everyone on Connection List
I personally do not accept every connection request which comes to me. I would like to get value and at the same time, offer some value to the people I am connected with on LinkedIn. I also refrain myself from sending bulk connection requests to people.

#4: Mindless Status Updates
Status update is for sharing important information or updates with your connections. One needs to pay a close attention as to what the connections will appreciate and like to hear. Don’t post mindless status updates about how you are feeling or give live commentary of an ongoing game on LinkedIn.

#5: Improper Use of Like Feature
LinkedIn’s Like is a very robust feature. Here is how it works: If person A ‘Likes’ a particular status update from person B, that status update is shown to all the connections of Person A even if none of them are connected with Person B.  I highly recommend people to use the Like feature very judiciously to share interesting articles, updates or job openings. Unfortunately, most of the Likes I have seen are either for motivational quotes or profile photo changes of people!  

#6: Superficial Recommendations  
Before LinkedIn launched the endorse features, ‘Recommendations’ was the way people could praise each other’s capabilities on LinkedIn. I suggest that offer recommendations to only those people about whom you really have something praiseworthy to say. Mention your own personal experience. Don’t just go on mentioning the bio data of the person you are recommending. Superficial recommendations will do more harm to your own profile than to the person whom you are giving and may make you lose your own credibility.

#7: Ignoring Messages in Inbox
Treat your LinkedIn Inbox as important as your official email. Frequently check messages there. You can get an email alert when someone sends you message on LinkedIn. Don’t ignore that. Make sure you respond to all the relevant messages and maintain professionalism.

#8: Spamming the Groups with Senseless Discussions
LinkedIn has very aptly given the name ‘Discussions’ for the discussions which happen in the group. Remember that Groups are not the places for you to do your personal blog promotion. No harm in posting a link to your blog article but not for promotion but to invite views and ideas or if you truly think that you have something very valuable to share with fellow group members. Discussions necessarily mean that it has to be a two-way communication than a one-way bombarding of messages. If at all you want to promote something, there is a separate Promote tab available in Groups and you can use that.

#9: Irrelevant Responses to Group Discussions
Taking ahead the point discussed in point #8 above, don’t join Groups with a sole purpose of promoting yourself or your business. When you see any discussion where you can contribute, share knowledge honestly. No harm in promoting your products and services where the discussion owner is seeking some help and your products/ services offer the solution. But don’t do a mechanical copy /paste job of posting your company blurb in all the discussions. You will not only lose credibility but can also get banned from the groups or from LinkedIn as well.

#10: Spamming
Just because you are connected on LinkedIn, it does not give you right to add email addresses of all your connections to your email database and send marketing communication to them. I personally find it very irritating. If I truly want to hear from a particular company, I will go ahead and subscribe for emails/ newsletters from that company’s website. One does not need LinkedIn for that. Similarly, use the email feature in LinkedIn cautiously and don’t spam people’s inboxes with every little news item at your end.

Well, it does looks like a long list of recommendations. But social world, just like the real life world, requires you to follow some etiquette. Follow some simple rules and maintain the spirit of social media.

Friday, April 26, 2013

What Does YOUR Business Card Say About You?

When I started on my own around 2.5 years ago, a good friend and CEO of IDYeah Creations, Vishal Mehta, helped me with the design of the logo and the business card. At that time, the idea about the business was clear and it was also clear as to what is going to be the business offering.

My first business card looked like this

I started exchanging the card during business interactions or networking events and also started collecting business cards from the people I meet. My personal experience is that when someone hands over the card to me, while I am looking at the card, I am also listening to that person as to what exactly the business is. Many a times, it gets difficult to remember the exact context of conversation and follow up plan after a few days.

Then starts the Internet search based on the name of the person. Slowly the context starts building up as information unfolds on the internet, you start knowing the person more through social media channels and if you find a photo of that person on the internet, it becomes easy to connect a face with the business. 

Taking this thread in mind, Vishal came up with this new design for the card.

Front Side
Back Side

I simply love this ‘personal business card’ because:
  • I think this is an ideal card of a social media enthusiast – with information about all social media channels where I can be connected
  • It has all the details (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, My Blog Address, Website URL, Phone number, email address and also my company name) without too much clutter and too little text
  • Photo on the card helps in remembering
  • Notes section at the back of the card helps in taking points about conversation and note down the follow up plan
Now what’s the reason for me personally boasting about this card on my blog? Simply because I thought this example will help my blog readers in getting some pointers on their business card designs :- )

Thanks once again Vishal for this amazing, innovative and out-of-the box design!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Mind Your Facebook Page Etiquettes – Dos and Don’ts

Here comes another post on managing Facebook brand page. This is a quick and probably already known but not followed list of Dos and Don’ts brand pages on Facebook.

Use this as checklist, if you want :-)


#1: Form a strategy and tone of the page

The first and foremost thing is to have a tone and strategy for your page. I feel sorry for pages which do not have any tone for the page. For example: If I am following a Book Store page on Facebook, it is absolutely irrelevant for me if the page posts an update about some actor’s birthday or some Fashion Tip (Yes, I have seen this!).

There is no point in being on Facebook just because your social media consultant has asked you to do so. Have a proper plan in mind, understand whom you are going to target through Facebook, what are the likes and dislikes of your target audience, what kind of posts the audience with engage with and what will be relevant for your business. Seems like lot of work? Yes, it indeed is. 

Spend maximum of your time in strategy definition. If your strategy is finely defined, the execution will be easier, more scalable and chances of success will be high.

#2 Pay special attention to time, photo and length

The best time to share on Facebook is noon and a little after 7pm (read more in this post). Go by these guidelines but also keep a close watch on your posts and the engagement you drive through those. You will know the best time which is most suitable for your business.

It is also a known fact that pictures in posts get more engagement –because great visuals grab attention. But yes, select the pictures which are suitable for your post. Do check license agreements of images before using the pictures from search engines.

Do keep an eye on the length of the post. Longer posts (which require clicking on ‘See More’ for complete view) usually get lesser Likes and Comments. Could be that people are busy reading many posts on their Wall and don’t really like clicking on ‘See More’ to check out the complete post. Optimally work your posts to have maximum visual and textual impact.

#3 Provide special incentives and value

Nobody is interesting in joining your page just because you are running a contest with some cool prizes. Well, that can attract people once but those may not be your real target audience with whom you would have deeper engagement or meaningful conversations.

You need to provide real value to your audience for them to be with you on Facebook. The real value can come from some form of incentives which they get only because they are with you on Facebook. Or there should be some value like getting a sneak preview of your products before release, beta program membership, exclusive announcements or some exclusive value-added content.

With too much information overload from various channels, the attention span of people has reduced in general. So you need to be really creative and thoughtful about delivering maximum value to your audience on Facebook.

#4 Get Insights from Facebook Insights

Facebook Insights is a wonderful tool you need to extensively use to understand your target audience (demographics, locations etc), response to your posts and page performance in terms of Likes and Unlikes and the reach of your posts.

The Insights also tell you performance report for each post in terms of the reach, the engagement ratio and interactions. You can use this information to understand the kind of posts the audience engages well with and what is the time when ‘your target audience’ is more available on Facebook. This will also help you in defining the tone of the posts.


#1 Ignore comments/ questions or Delete Posts

There is a general tendency of brands to remove, hide or ignore negative comments on the pages. It is a strict NO-NO. The recent Starbucks India Social Media disaster was a result of post deletion. 

Yes, negative comments spread faster than positive ones, but this does not mean that you should simply ignore or delete those. That will do more harm than good. Respond to negative comments positively and try and resolve the issue. This can be your excellent opportunity to make a good impression in front of the whole community. Here is my other post about handling negative comments on social media.

Lot of times, people post questions on the walls of the brand pages and those are often unanswered. That creates a very bad impression. To me, it clearly shows lack of care from the brand’s side. Many times, brands post canned responses for the questions or comments but they forget that the audience has become very smart and at the same time, very demanding. People now want personalized attention to their problems and genuine resolution.

#2 Scheduled Posts / In-activity During Crucial Time

If you are not active on social media when your audience is, then well, you can’t be on social media. For instance: If you are managing the Facebook brand page of a popular football team and your social media team is not active on Facebook at the time of a crucial match, you have already lost the social media match. Your scheduled posts cannot be work in such cases. Or if you have a product launch planned and your Facebook page or Twitter account does not even announce the launch, then no amount of paid PR will help you in forming connection with your audience.

People connect on social media for interactions, not to get bombarded with scheduled posts. 

#3 Sell! Sell! Sell!

Again, refrain yourself from selling on Facebook. Don’t be desperate and use Facebook as another advertising medium. You have other mediums for advertising – which are meant for that. Facebook is not that. Use it for interactions, engagement, feedback and conversations – all of this which cannot be achieved through your traditional advertising mediums like billboards or TV. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

What Differentiates Killer Presentations?

No, this is not yet another article on “How to present like Steve Jobs”. Neither does it aim to describe how to prepare best for delivering a great presentation.

I have been fortunate to listen to some great presentations. Although the topics of their presentations were varied and the presenters belonged to different parts of the world, there were few things which were common amongst all of them.

I am attempting to list three such things, which I thought contributed to their killer presentations.

#1 Passion
Enough is said about passion in work. I have realized that all great presenters are extremely passionate about the topic they talk about. Mind you, I am talking about the topic they are presenting and not what they work on for making the living. Passion shows in the way they talk and passion shows in what they talk about.  They don’t have to remind themselves to ‘not read’ from the slides – because they simply don’t need to. The topic is something which they truly believe in.

#2 Knowledge

Obviously nothing can replace knowledge. Good presenters know their topic more than the audience. The audience is never interested in listening to what they already know. The audience is not there for entertainment. People attend presentations for gaining knowledge. Only humor or mindless interaction might entertain the audience for some time, but it cannot create a lasting impact. Such presentations (and presenters) are easily forgotten.

#3 Clarity of Thought

This, I believe, is the most important thing. Great presenters not only have deep knowledge of their subject but they have their own point of views as well. Because of this, they have extreme clarity of thought. Clarity of thought helps in better expression, better understanding of questions and better articulation of answers. This gets the audience into thinking mode, which makes them in turn not only enjoy the presentation but also leave with a feeling of having learnt something.

Thanks to YouTube, great wealth of knowledge is just a click away. Below are some of the presentations which I personally enjoyed listening to :

Do you remember any great presentations you have listen to? Do share the YouTube links of those, if available. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Midas Touch Wins Best Social Media Agency Award

Midas Touch Consultants is pleased to share that it has won the Award for "Best Social Media Agency of the Year - 2013". The award is conferred by the Global Youth Marketing Forum.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers, partners, employees and well wishers for their support and good wishes!

It was a tremendous joy to personally receive the award on February 14, 2013 at Taj Lands End, Mumbai.

Here is the beautiful trophy and award citation.

Midas Touch Consultants - Best Social Media Agency - Award Trophy

Midas Touch Consultants - Best Social Media Agency - Citation

More details about  the Social Media Summit can be found at

Pictures from the award function are coming soon.....

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ensuring Email Marketing Success

Email marketing is one of the most commonly used forms of reaching out to potential or existing customers. However, most of the times, this is the activity which yields the least results. Not because it does not work, it’s because it is not done properly. 

This article shares some very high level tips for making your email marketing initiative a success.

First of all, identify the objective of your email campaign. This is very important because all the below mentioned aspects will need to align with that. 

Email Design
Email design is one of the most crucial factors for the campaign success. Here are some of the easy to follow and easy to implement guidelines.
  • Call to Action: Identify one or two clear call to action items. The Call to Action items should be placed in the upper portion of the email. Don’t bury it way down because in many cases, people will never scroll down the preview pane to read your complete message.
  • Images: Be careful with the usage of images. While images make the emails look beautiful and better, you need to ensure that you do not use very heavy images. That tends to make the email go in spam. Also, do remember that you check the creative common license and refrain yourself from just picking and using images from search engines.  
  • Length of Message:  You might have lot of things to communicate. But restrain yourself from writing lengthy text. Keep it simple and short. Bullet lists work better than long paragraphs. Use appropriate font styles to drive attention to important items. 
  • Plain Text or HTML: I suggest prepare both the versions (Plain Text as well as HTML). All email programs allow you to setup both versions. Based on the setting at the receiver’s end, appropriate format is delivered.
Content is another most important aspect which you need to pay attention to. As said, ‘content is king’

  • Mind the keywords: Make sure you use appropriate words in your campaign. Keywords such as free, offer and discounts etc could get your email in spam. So watch for these.
  • Caps/ Exclamations: Definitely don’t use all capital letters in your emails. Watch the exclamation marks. Don’t use unnecessary punctuation  This is not your causal Facebook update. This is a formal email communication, so definitely proof read the email and watch out for grammatical mistakes.
List Management
Once your campaign design and content is ready, you are ready to send across the email to your list. Do note that List Management is a very important factor which you should definitely not ignore. You need to have a very well maintained, well cleaned up list.

  • Manage Opt-in: Make sure that you do not spam the people who have not opted in to your list. Sending emails to non opt-in list is spam and can get your email server blocked. So even if you have a ‘researched’ list or have ‘purchased a database’, do not send emails to those without their explicit permission.
  • Unsubscribe Option: Always remember to include an ‘Unsubscribe’ option in your email campaign. The receiver should always have the flexibility to unsubscribe from your emails. Make sure you remove the unsubscribed members from your lists. Respect their choice and ensure that no communication goes out from you to them.
  • Forward Option: You can choose to include an option to let receivers forward the email to their friends. This will help you spread your message to those members who may not have subscribed to your campaign.
Best Practices:
On closing notes, here are some best practices for subject lines, timing and frequency of your campaigns. 
  • Subject Line: Short and simple yet impactful subject lines (maximum 8 words) can significantly increase the open and read rate of your campaign. Spend considerable time in deciding the subject line of your campaign. Watch the keywords too (read point above about the keywords to avoid)
  • Time: You just can’t schedule the campaign and forget about it. Understand and study your audience, their reading habits and then schedule your campaign. No point in sending the campaign when your audience is in no mood to read your email or does not have time.
  • Frequency: Here is the Rule of Thumb: Never ever send too many email campaigns. Just because you are excited about some news, does not mean that you have to broadcast it through an email campaign. Be selective about what you share and how often you share. Then only it will have an impact. Make people look forward to email from you.
Have more tips to share? Share those as comments for fellow blog readers.