June 16, 2016
If you’re sending out marketing emails on a regular basis, take a look at our checklist below to see how many of these feature on your company's emails.
A unique domain
Companies that are serious about their email marketing don’t just use their Email Service Provider’s (ESP) free sending domain. Marketing emails will look more authentic if you register your own domain and it puts you in control of your own reputation. You can choose something new like www.extravision-news.com or a point a sub-domain of your own to the ESP such as @mail.extravision.com. Your readers will then see your brand only and not that of the ESP. But make sure you also set up the SPF records….
Authentification (SPF) is an email validation system that allows mail exchanges to check that incoming mail comes from a domain authorised by that domain's administrators. Spam and phishing emails often use forged "from" addresses, so setting up the SPF record correctly when pointing your unique domain at the ESP is a good anti-spam technique.
An adequate unsubscribe An unsubscribe should be prominent, web based (never a mailto:) with a two click process and pre-populating with the correct email address. You should never have to log in to access it. Even better, offer a preference centre where recipients can choose certain types of emails from you or change the frequency.
A consistent brand Your emails should be as true to your brand guidelines as your website and print marketing. You should have a custom built email template that's been developed for you in accordance with your digital brand guidelines. All emails from your company should be regulated so you don't get rogue departments using free email software or, worse, the bcc field (yes, some people still do that!).
A pre-header When a new email arrives in your inbox, you'll see what is like an additional subject line. It will look like an extract from the email itself that reads “Does this email not display correctly? View it in a browser”. This is a pre-header and it's like a second subject line so gives you another chance to entice the reader to open it. It's prime real estate on the email so use it to your advantage and pick an appropriate summary of your message.
Personalised greeting All ESPs offer this functionality and if you have first names in your list you should personalise at the beginning to say eg.‘Hi John’. Imagine if you were in the street and someone shouted ‘Oi!’. Now imagine they shouted ‘Oi!’, followed by your name. It would work much better at attracting your attention and it’s the same with email. If you have their first name, use it.
Responsive /mobile friendly code According to Litmus, by the end of 2015 mobile opens rose to 55 per cent. Designing and checking everything for Outlook desktop alone makes no sense at all (especially as it only accounts for 7 per cent of opens). Design your email for mobile and test it using Litmus or Email on acid.
Something to click on It’s a good idea to make sure your email contains plenty of links and buttons for people to click on and interact with. This will increase traffic and give you more information to report on. Try not to give out all the information in one, long ‘essay’ style email; save the full copy for the dedicated page on the website. The email will be more engaging and you’ll know whether they read it or not from the click stats.
A strong call to action Sometimes by the time the email has passed through design, copy and the approval of many colleagues you have lost sight of its original purpose. Stand back from your campaign and ask yourself whether your email fulfills the goal you set out to achieve. The campaign should carry a strong call to action (clicking through, filling out a form, viewing or buying a product) so it’s clear to the reader what the email is for. You will then also have some criteria to judge whether your campaign has done its job or not. Try to stick to one main call to action rather than confusing the reader with too many options.
Company details Finally, a bit of admin/compliance. UK businesses must display their company name and registered office on all correspondence whether in hard copy or electronic form. Emails that don’t display this information make you think the company has something to hide so this info should be included on every email.
Posted by Jenni Malley
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