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Do-it-yourself Online Event Management and Digital Marketing Tips to Help Your Organization Succeed

Six Tips for Creating Effective Emails

Posted on | August 2, 2010 | No Comments

Here are some easy rules to follow to assure that your emails are effective.

1. Define Your Goal

Before you decide on the type of email you’re going to send, you should define your goals. By clarifying what it is you’re trying to achieve and who you’re trying to reach, you’ll have a better understanding of the type of email you want to send.

2. Email Types

There are lots of different types of emails, including:

  • Welcome letters
  • eNewsletters
  • Order confirmations
  • Event invites
  • Promotions
  • Contests
  • Polls/surveys
  • News (e.g., alumni)
  • Alerts
  • Fund-raising
  • Crisis communications

3. Content

General rules of thumb for creating message content that gets read:

Direct your message to your target audience.

Keep the message short & sweet: “one scroll” is a good rule.

  • If your articles run long, put the first ‘teaser’ paragraph into your email and add a link to the rest of the article.

Engage your readers: give them reasons to respond to your message.

  • Include a call to action, clickable links to separate landing pages, etc.

Reinforce your brand

Follow CAN-SPAM guidelines.

  • Always include an opt-out device for individuals who do not wish to receive future email messages.

4. The Subject Line

Carefully choose your “Subject” line: it’s the all important hook for getting your email opened.

Craft your Subject line to interest recipients to open your email. You may wish to include the benefit to the reader, the brand name, the offer, or a sense of urgency.

Keep it brief: 5-to-8 words and limit the length to 40 characters including spaces.

5. Design

Place the most important information at the top.

Restrict colors to the standard 216 web-safe color palette.

Compress images: the smaller the image file size, the quicker your message will load in the recipient’s window.

Keep it narrow. Limiting the width will make sure that the email will print without the right edge being cut off, and ensure the email’s visibility within the default preview pane of most email clients.

Create both text and HTML formats. Many email programs display HTML, but some only display text.

Not all email programs that display HTML will display style sheets (CSS) correctly. Therefore, you may wish to embed your HTML style tags into each element. (We found that this is specifically helpful for users of Lotus Notes.)

Be respectful of your audience’s time and bandwidth by keeping messages less than 50k in size.

Email clients will not always display files as you see them previewed in a web browser window. When deciding on your design, consider how your message will display in various email clients, such as Outlook Navigator, Yahoo, Gmail, EudoraPro, Hotmail, AOL, etc.

6. Test Your Email Before Sending

Make sure to test your email before sending it.

Set up a test list of internal recipients and send your test broadcast to them.

Proofread your content and check to make sure links are working.

Make sure your template graphics display properly on various email clients.

Check your subject line. You might find you need to adjust it to accommodate the way different email clients display your message.

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