My previous job involved sending out e-mail marketing pieces for two different divisions of our company.  I really had no relevant training and just kind of picked up the rules as I went along.  Fortunately, our company had invested in an e-mail service provider (ESP) that at least kept us in compliance with the regulations (and kept me out of trouble), but I still didn’t have a good grasp of how it all worked.

Since coming to work for dezinsINTERACTIVE, I have learned quite a bit about the dos and don’ts of e-mail marketing and have been embarrassed at how many times I just simply blew it in the past.  Here are a few things I’ve learned that might come as a surprise to both marketers and e-mail recipients:

► If you have a large number of people (>75-150) to e-mail, you should definitely spend the extra money to subscribe to an ESP.  Most people don’t realize that many Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or webmail services place a limit on the number of outgoing e-mails you can send per hour.  If your mailing list contains 500 contacts but your mail service will only allow 150 e-mails per hour, 350 contacts will not be e-mailed and you will likely never be notified that that has happened.

► Need another reason to subscribe to an ESP?  They’ll help keep you legal.  Nowadays most people know that marketing e-mails must contain an unsubscribe link to comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.  An ESP will automatically include that link and track those unsubscribes for you.  Plus, many people don’t realize that their commercial e-mails must also contain the business’s snail mail address to maintain compliance.  It must be either a physical postal address or a post office box.  An ESP will automatically add the address to your e-mails.

► Ever wondered how the new bar down the street got your e-mail address to send you their latest drink specials?  You might have Aunt Suzie to thank for that.  When you send out a joke or a cute story to a list of friends and relatives and they click ‘Forward’ without removing the previous e-mail headers, your e-mail address gets sent to people who have never heard of you-and worse, of whom you have never heard.  After that happens a few times, a sneaky marketer can go through those headers and grab your e-mail address to add to their marketing contact list.  Don’t think it happens?  Think again.

► It’s no surprise that e-mails containing sexual references or offers for low cost pills will end up in a spam filter, but did you know that even using the phrase “click here” a few times can cause your e-mail to be tagged as spam?  As spammers have evolved, so have spam filters.  Now even just a few too many dollar signs can land your e-mail in the junk folder.  Here are a few things to avoid (source:  Constant Contact):

  • The words “free,” “guarantee,” “spam,” “credit card,” etc.
  • ALL CAPITAL LETTERS
  • Excessive punctuation (e.g. !!!, ???)
  • Excessive use of “click here”
  • $$ and other symbols
  • Missing “From:” address
  • Misleading subject lines

E-mail marketing can seem very intimidating when it really doesn’t need to be. dezinsINTERACTIVE is a Constant Contact solutions provider and we can help you set up a cohesively branded e-mail marketing plan.  Just give us a call and we’ll make it simple for you.