MAKE THE INTEGRITY OF YOUR LIST YOUR NUMBER ONE GOAL.
“If you are serious about wanting to do email professionally, you need to be diligent in how you sign up contacts, using double opt-in techniques. Otherwise, you’re building a list that will never perform at maximum levels,” says Jim Kukral with KowaBunga! Technologies, an affiliate marketing company. Double opt-in (also known as confirmed opt-in) is the practice of sending a confirmation email to the subscriber allowing them to verify their desire to join your list.
THE SUBJECT LINE IS KEY.
Thanks to spam and overcrowded inboxes, you have about two seconds to get the attention of the subscriber. Not only that, you have to consider what words will attract the reader but not attract spam filters. While words like “sex” and “pharmacy” are obvious candidates for spam filters. Even use of the word “free” will often get your message blocked. You have to find words and phrases that will get the user to take action, and the shorter the better. Subject lines no longer than six to seven words seem to work best. Kukral advises running your email and subject line through a spam checking service like Spam Assassin.
PROVIDE A CALL TO ACTION.
“If your content is not written to cause an action of some type, you are probably wasting your time,” says Kukral. “Sending email is an art. You can’t just throw some copy together, hit send and hope it’ll work.”
DON’T OVER MAIL YOUR LIST.
There is no concrete answer to how often you should mail your list. However, you certainly don’t want to over mail it. Once a month for most campaigns is sufficient, but you can possibly get away with more frequent mailings if your offer is substantive enough. Carefully monitor conversion data and open rates. If they drop off, maybe you are mailing too much. Of course, the converse is also true. Subscribers sometimes have a short memory. Mailing too infrequently may result in users unsubscribing, or worse, filing a spam report with their ISP.
HTML VS. TEXT ONLY.
This used to be a conversation worth having back in the day when not all email programs were HTML friendly. Today, it is almost a non-issue because most everyone can receive an HTML email. But, there is one item to consider. When sending HTML mail, don’t enclose your entire sales message inside an image only. Always include at least some text. Some email programs don’t default to show images. Google’s popular Gmail program and Microsoft Entourage are two examples of this. Including text will guarantee the recipient gets at least the gist of your message.