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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.