In my previous life as a marketing manager, I executed email marketing campaigns regularly. I knew there were so many things to consider to make the emails effective, but, truthfully, there was so much going on that I focused primarily on the content and read about email marketing whenever I had the time (which wasn't often).
I wish I had a guide like the one Galen De Young from Proteus recently sent me: Email Marketing Best Practices. (Note: Two sections of the eBook are available at anytime, or you can or you can register to receive the entire eBook).
The hefty 58-page eBook is chock full of more than 130 suggestions, and I think it is worth a read if you are executing email marketing. This eBook covers nuts-to-bolts of email marketing, including (but not limited to):
- Ideas on content
- Design suggestions
- How your email is seen in the inbox
- Using social media
- Encouraging sign-ups
- Growing your subscriber base.
A lot of the info provided great reminders, and there were some gems that I hadn't thought about as well. Here are a few of my favorites:
Consider how you can use your email newsletter content on your website
If I were thinking about putting an email newsletter online, I would think about posting all of the content, as is, on a web page in case readers couldn't view the email (something most email providers do automatically). De Young suggests taking this a step further: have each article from your newsletter live on a separate pages with a unique and meaningful URL. Not only does this improve the SEO, but I like that it makes the content more "evergreen" and able to be used in content marketing and lead nurturing programs.
Write for the preview pane
I know that many people read emails in the preview pane and that should be a consideration. However, I didn't know exactly how much space to plan for. Therefore, I loved this tip:
"Eye tracking studies show the upper left quadrant of the preview pane is the first place we look. Depending on email clients and user preferences, the preview pane may be horizontally oriented (less height) or vertically oriented (less width). While more than 60 percent of computer users run screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or higher, one-third of computer users still run screen resolutions at that resolution. That means that there's only about 350 pixels by 350 pixels that you can really count on showing in the preview pane. That's not much real estate. Use it wisely. "
Plan for the ALT tags in your email
Along the same lines, De Young also provides guidance on using ALT tags in your email. This is important because most email clients don't display images in the preview pane. I would have thought to use ALT tags for every image, but De Young makes the point that too many ALT tags create clutter. For those images that don't need an ALT tag, he suggests using a period, which would replace the standard box with the red x in it, making your email look a lot cleaner.
And, one more tip on this topic: use a different ALT tag in your email and on your website. The email ALT tag should be used to drive a reader to click on something, whereas the ALT tag on your website is for SEO. Makes a lot of sense, but I hadn't thought about that.
Use a service to test your email with different email programs
All marketers know they need to test their email, but I'll admit that I never knew how to comprehensively do this. There were some platforms we could test in house (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo mail, etc), but I didn't know of a way to test it on all email clients (I couldn't even list all of the email clients we should be testing it on). De Young provides some services that provides this type of testing: Campaign Monitor, Litmus and Pivitol Veracity. I haven't used any of these providers, but I am keeping these names in my back pocket for when I need them.
There are a lot more tips that I thought were useful, and this is a guide I am certainly going to keep handy and share with clients.
I'd love to know what your favorite email marketing tips are - either from this eBook or your own experiences.
- Are You Missing an Opportunity to Connect with Your Prospects?
- So You Have a Prospect List . . . Now What?
- Are You Giving Your B2B Prospects Too Much Information?
Read more Savvy B2B posts from Michele.