I know. There are a million blogs, ebooks and articles about the do’s and don’ts of email marketing. However, I still receive enough screwed up email newsletters from companies to know that the message is not getting through (or is being completely disregarded). I’m going to tackle a few of the most common mistakes that I still receive via email.
I still get the amazingly long email newsletter. You know the kind. The one with article after article listed one below the other so you’re scrolling…and scrolling…and scrolling just to read the thing. News flash. While you may think your newsletter is filled with valuable information, the value decreases in direct proportion with the length. Why? Because the length decreases the opportunities for the newsletter to actually be read completely. If you absolutely have to have a mile-long newsletter, put a hyperlinked table of contents at the top where people can get to what they want easily without having to go through the entire mess.
Text versus HTML
There is an ongoing battle online between those that think HTML email is how satan communicates and those that think it is a magic bullet. I can understand the text argument. Really. No hassles with coding, compatibility or the “fluff” to distract from the message. While that might work for a tech audience, it probably won’t fly for everyone else. I don’t know about you, but text newsletters are boring. Nothing stands out. I’m not inspired to read, click or do anything else but ignore it until I finally delete it from my inbox.
Here it boils down to your audience and what you are trying to accomplish. If you’re looking for click-throughs or some sort of engagement with your audience, you ought to go with HTML. However, this is not something you do yourself unless you are experienced in this area. I suggest going with a company that has templates or can create a customized one for you. Their designers are usually on top of all the design specs needed to have it render properly.
While were discussing HTML email, let me drop a quick note about “breaking” your template. Email templates are usually built with fixed widths so that there is no vertical scrolling for smaller monitors. Countless times I’ve seen the sender drop photos or graphics into their email that “breaks” the template causing it to not line up properly. This looks sloppy and unprofessional. Re-size your graphics so that it fits neatly into the template without stretching the borders.
I could go on, but I’m going to leave the rest for another post. In part 2, we’ll explore some other common mistakes in email marketing like opt-ins and links.