Follow 10 best practices for e-mail success

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Start with the end. How do you want the recipients of your e-mail to react? Clarity on the front end will make measurement and analysis much easier on the back end.

Create a look and feel. Experiment with subject lines and with personal URLs in the subject line. Use a template or color palette that instantly cues brand recognition.

Deliver on a schedule. Train your customers to expect certain messages at certain times (i.e., Tuesday equals bargain day). Consider a value-oriented “To” address to reinforce the content or the value implicit in a consistent series of offers.

Segment and target. Communicate marketing criteria and be sure the value-add is apparent, in the subject line.

Send less. Rather than do one blast of a million names, do five blasts of 200,000 names. Make each segment a different offer or relate the offer to customer behavior.

Work on the list.
Every list is flawed. Names carefully opted in by brand loyalists will perform much better than random names gathered by lead generation sites or list compilers. Always use list cleaning, merge/purge and integrity tools for top reuslts. Negotiate a “net name” deal.

RFM rules. Peg e-mail blasts to frequency of action. People who take a desired action are more likely to do it again and much sooner than someone on your list who opted in but rarely responds to any of your communications.

Brevity is best. Short directive copy works best in most instances. Many e-mails are read without fully opening the browser frame or on mobile devices. Put the core idea and offer into the opening paragraph.

Limit response options. Customers and prospects should be given a limited number of response choices. The more choices you offer, the less response you get.

CAN-SPAM compliancy is a must. Every legitimate e-mail has to show who it came from, including a postal address. It also has to include an opt-out mechanism.

Danny Flamberg is managing director of digital strategy & CRM at the The Kaplan Thaler Group. Reach him at danny.flamberg@kaplanthaler.com.

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