Great post on Writing effective email copy by folks at Campaign Monitor.
50 All-Time Great Retail Subject Lines by VerticalResponse should be bookmarked.
Email design is one of the most difficult tasks that take a lot of time and planning by web designers. Recipients of your pretty HTML emails have a very short attention span and on top of that your email looks different depending on what type of email program or service people are using. You have to keep testing the email to make sure it looks normal across many different email platforms.
Once the design of the email is completed, then you have to pay attention to the subjectline, images, wording and contents of your email, because it might trigger spam firewalls and throw your pretty HTML email into a Junk Mail of the recipient.
I came across this short article by good folks at Campaign Monitor on Email Design Guidelines, which could help us make sense of all this mess and maybe help to get our email message across to our recipients without getting shotdown by spam firewalls.
Based on the feedback from my recent presentation, some folks wanted to know which email publishing tools I recommend. Also, some of the companies I listed in my presentation changed names or have dissapeared for some odd reasons.
So here is the updated list:
All of these companies offere different pricing and features. If you are in the process of selecting one of these tools, then you should be looking for a solution that at minimum offers these features:
- Detailed Performance Reporting
- Customized Templates
- Point-and-click editing
- Subscriber Management
- List Segmentation
- HTML/Plain Text Delivery
- Campaign Scheduling
If you have other email publishing tools that you would like to recommend based on your experience, feel free to comment and leave a link to their site.
Some of us receive three to four different types of newsletters in our inboxes everyday. I get at least three newsletters a day. Some of these emails are from Dell, Borders, Banana Republic, L.L. Bean, Circuit City or from magazines and news sites. These emails I receive are nicely designed and offer an easy way to unsubscribe from the list and comply with CAN SPAM Act.
Most of these newsletters and emails are published through some sort of online email marketing tool or desktop software.
If you are looking to setup one of these tools for your organization or business, at minimum you should look for these three components:
- Subscriber/List Management
- Click Through Statistics and Analysis
- Email Template/Design Management
Efficient and flexible subscriber management features are key to successful email campaigns and newsletters. With your email marketing tool, you should be able to import and export subscribers in text, Microsoft Excel and other text delimited formats. Some of the email publishers help to identify emails with wrong format, or incomplete email addresses. This is useful especially if you are importing 3,000-5,000 emails into your email list. Also, make sure you can group your list by different categories, which can help you to segment your audience. Let’s say you have an email list that combines all customers from Pennsylvania (PA) and New Jersey(NJ). Through your email publisher you shoud be able to separate and create a group for PA and NJ emails. In the future if you want to market geographically to a particular state or region you can send it to a particular group instead of everyone on your list. You should be able to segment your list by different categories that fits your organization’s target market.
Click Through Statistics
To track all the customer activity that happens after you send out your email newsletter, make sure your email newsletter offers a report on ‘click through’ rates for the links that you have placed on the email message. By looking at the number of users who interact with your newsletter, you can see how effective it is and which topics or links really work.
Email Template/Design Management
Some of us don’t know how to design an HTML email, which is perfectly normal and this is where the newsletter’s email template management comes in. If you have an email template within your newsletter program, you can easily manage the design and the layout of your newsletter. If you can afford to have a web designer create the design for you, that’s all good and you won’t use this feature that much. If you don’t have a designer in your staff then make sure your newsletter has templates that you can modify and use to launch your campaigns.
Email Newsletter & Marketing Tools
Below is a list of newsletter applications that I recommend using if you decide to deploy an email newsletter for your organization:
- Campaign Monitor
- Microsoft List Builder
- Aerial Software – Email Marketing Director
- Get Active
Email Newsletter Best Practices and Tips
- Email Marketing Tips for creating email marketing campaigns
- Nielsen’s Alertbox: Design of Email Newsletters
- Email Marketing Etiquette: The Good, the Bad, and the Clueless
- How To Market Your Business With Email
- HTML Email Design Tips by MailChimp (in pdf format)
- The Basics Of Email Marketing
- How to Beat the Spam Filters
- Ten Steps To Improving Your Email Copy
If you have any other email marketing tools that you recommend, you can share it by commenting on this post.