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Wednesday, November 07, 2007


Email is a great tool for moving your prospects through the purchase decision process. Check out these great tips from Justin Palmer...

1. Diversify your Content: If your entire email focuses on one product, service, or topic, you risk alienating all but the few people who will be interested. Unless you have segmented your database based on previous behavior, do not send an email on only 1 topic. I consistently find that the click through rate increases in proportion with varied content.

2. Don't Stress about Spam Words: Many experts will tell you to avoid words like "free" or "sale". In my opinion, ISPs tend to be moving away from content based spam filtering in favor of reputation based filtering. In other words, your sending IP address and from email are more important than whether or not your email contains certain words. Personally, I've used words like "free" in the subject line without any affect on delivery rates.

3. Make it Readable with Images Disabled: Always take into account the appearance of your email with images disabled. For email clients such as Outlook, this is now the default feature. Even popular web mails like Hotmail now disable images unless the sender is in the address book of the recipient. The best tactic to create readable emails with images block is use an alt description.

4. Create an Online Version: Always provide an online version of your email for users having trouble viewing images. I've calculated from emails I've sent in the past that around 5% of users will use this feature.

5. Remove Inactive Subscribers: Inactive subscribers are the most likely to get you in trouble by clicking the spam button. Consider automatically removing a subscriber that hasn't opened an email in several months.

6. Proofreading: Always have every email proofread by at least 2 detail oriented people. There's nothing more embarrassing than a typo in an email blast.

7. Monitor Replies: When you send out thousands of emails, you're bound to get a few replies. Occasionally, you'll get some good feedback from your subscribers. In addition, some people reply with unsubscribe requests.

8. Unsubscribe at Top: I know what you're thinking, "At the TOP!?" Yes, at the top. Lazy unsubscribers have a tendency to click the spam button instead scrolling down to find the unsubscribe link. By placing the link at the top, you might increase your unsubscribe rate, but that's better than an inflated spam complaint count.

9. Don't Over or Under Mail: If you send too much, you'll get deleted or marked as spam. Oddly enough, if you send once every 3 months you may have the same problem. Keep your brand top of mind for your customers by finding the perfect balance between over and under mailing.

10. Forward to Friend Feature: Many users automatically do this, but it doesn't hurt to ask. First time potential customers can be very open to a company when it is introduced by a friend or colleague.

Justin Palmer offers expert eCommerce consulting services and Do It Yourself search engine optimization lessons. In addition, Justin is the eCommerce director for C28.com, which sells Spiritual t-shirts and Witness wear.


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