Since I've been the recipient of a few horrendous emails of late, I'd like to present a short list of things that are very often overlooked when people send a piece of email marketing.
The From Name and Address
The from name and address are crutial for a couple of big reasons. The first is spam. Spam filters check the details of the from email address and name and filter them just as they would for the rest of the email, so if you're using excess capital letters, or odd characters in this area, you could be penalised.
The second is the trust element for your subscribers. They need to see that the email landing in their sacred inbox is coming from a trustworthy source, and seeing a suspect name or address here, or seeing something inconsistent with the list that they subscribed to will cause suspicion, and this is the last thing you need when they may not have even opened your email yet.
Reply-to Name and Address
Although this can tie in with the from address, the reply-to address can be different. It's up to you if you want to make these different or not, but bear in mind that people may want to reply to you. They may want to interact with your company or the sender of the email in a way that's comfortable with them, so using the reply function on email clients may be their first point of call.
Relatively often, I come across "No-reply" email addresses, or email address account that are un-checked, so a reply to the sender often comes back with an error, or gets delivered to an inbox that's never opened. This is hardly the right way to conduct business with people who have subscribed to your email list.
The First Line of the Email
How many email newsletters do you get where the first line of the email is "is this email not displaying properly? View it in a browser" or something similar? It's a common occurence for me, and one that is a problem for users of Gmail (without the new preview pane) and iPhone (and possibly other mobile) users.
Some email clients will display the first line of the email in the message lists in an inbox - so why not make use of this tiny preview space, by having your call to action, or re-iterating your primary message here? You can have your primary CTA here, followed by the message about viewing it in a browser, then continue with the rest of your email. For the sake of a few bytes of data, and an extra line at the top of the email - you could convince more subscribers to open the email.
The Unsubscribe Process
I often find unsubscription processes clumsy. I get an email from the sender. I click on an unsubscribe link, I have to input my email address again and confirm, then I get another email to confirm that with me. Really I should be able to click "unsubscribe" and get a confirmation note of my unsubscription on the landing page, and that should be the end of it. There's no need to extend this process in any way. Confirmation emails, more messages, reminders, and a difficult process all leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. This is the last thing you need when you're dealing with potential customers.
I realise that most senders don't want people to unsubscribe, this is understandable - but you can't combat that with a clumsy unsubscription process, you should be looking to provide better, or more relevant content, then people won't be so inclined to leave your list.
The ultimate no-no here is offering the option to "reply with unsubscribe in the subject line" or to "send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request to be removed from our list" - this is far too long-winded, and completely unacceptable as an unsubscription method.
CC and BCC
This one is for those people opting to send their emails themseves, through their client such as Outlook or Thunderbird. A classic blunder is to put all your recipients addresses in the "To" line, or in the "CC" (Carbon Copy) line. So upon sending the email - every recipient gets a note of all the other recipients' email addresses. Not a particularly smart move, and probably some sort of violation of information privacy.
Remember to add your recipients to the "BCC" (Blind Carbon Copy) line if you're doing this. Then just add one email to the "To" line - and I'd recommend making that one of your own email addresses, so that not even a single email address is shared with the whole list (except your own).
Using a bit of common sense, and some help from the experts can lead to a better set of email marketing communications, so if you'd like to speak to us about your email marketing, we'd be happy to help.
Have you had any bad email experiences recently? Comment and let me know.