Email Marketing DOs and DON'Ts

from INSPIRE by NetLine Corporation

Everywhere you turn you'll find helpful hints about how to conduct e-Marketing. From your colleagues and service providers to the magazines you read - everyone has advice on how to best set up and execute single campaigns through to comprehensive Internet marketing programs. Do "this" and success is guaranteed; do "that" and you'll fail for sure. Only it seems that no one can agree on what the "this" and "that" are.

We're told that all the conflicting input can be confusing, even overwhelming to some. So we decided to compile some of the least controversial best practices to help clear the air, a NetLine e-Marketing guide if you will, in the form of easy to understand DO's and DON'Ts.

These quick tips should help you naigate the maze of Internet marketing advice and place you firmly on a course for e-Marketing program success.

Starting, of course, with an old favorite. You've heard it before, and we're sure you'll hear it again - DO personalize. Even something as basic as personalizing the recipient's name goes a long way to making your e-Marketing communication more relevant and interesting. And if you can, personalize content and offers, in the body as well as in the subject line.

DON'T go overboard with personalization, however. Make sure that the personalization you're using matches the desired outcome of your efforts. If you're trying to sell as many CD's as possible, your results will be driven by your ability to personalize each message to the recipient's taste - don't send heavy metal to a jazz fan. You'll want to use heavy segmentation if not database-driven personalization to ensure that the right offer - in this case a selection of CD's - is delivered to each individual email recipient. If, on the other hand, your goal is to alert customers to a new service you provide, you may only need to use basic personalization, like addressing each recipient by name.

DO keep your e-Marketing fresh and relevant. Email's popularity is on the rise, which means your customers are most likely being bombarded with commercial email messages. To ensure they look forward to yours, make absolutely sure the content is relevant and "fresh." If you're using text, try HTML to recapture your customers' attention. What about rollovers, audio, or streaming video? Have fun and be creative with your email campaigns to keep your customers interested and your response rates up.

But, DON'T implement these technologies without consulting the experts. When designed properly, HTML can make a significant impact on campaign response. Conversely, poorly designed HTML - with large graphics or missing tags - can have a devastating impact on your brand. The same is true for streaming video, audio, and other email "bells and whistles." They can be very powerful at times, but you have to be careful that your audience can handle the technology you're sending their way.

If you're not already using e-Marketing, DO start right away. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll reap the benefits of it. But be consistent in your efforts and live up to your word - DON'T make promises you can't keep. If you tell your customers you're sending a monthly newsletter, send it every month, at roughly the same time. You'll diminish the impact of your program and ultimately equate your brand with unreliability if you start and stop your e-Marketing program.

Here are some other "quick" DO's:

  • In most cases, brevity is a virtue - DO keep messages (relatively) short
  • DO keep HTML graphics small
  • DO link directly to content you refer to, instead of sending customers to your home page and requiring that they fend for themselves
  • If you want prospective customers to give you information, DO give them something in return
  • DO track links and other campaign activity - the ability to do this is what makes e-Marketing so powerful
  • DO test, test, and test to continually improve your response

As well as some DON'Ts:

  • DON'T emulate graphics in text messages using symbols and odd combinations of characters
  • No one likes having their email address displayed to the world - DON'T send out emails to a long list of customers using the cc: function
  • DON'T do anything without careful QA - there's nothing worse than missing graphics, broken links, or typos in the content

And finally, DON'T take anyone's advice as gospel, even ours. Work with your service provider to test various e-Marketing practices and develop your own list on DO'S and DON'TS that work best for your audience, e-Marketing program, and company.

NetLine Corporation is a premier provider of online lead-generation and marketing services for B2B Advertisers, Marketers, and Publishers, specializing in delivering high-quality leads and maximizing results.