Email Marketing Best Practices

Email Marketing Best Practices

The rules of email marketing have changed, and what used to work may not work any longer. Internet Service Providers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and are getting better at stopping spam and bulk email campaigns. Because of this, we’ve put together a list of best practices to help you achieve the best possible results with your email campaigns.

Only send email to people who want to receive it

Email marketing campaigns should only be sent to people who knowingly signed up to receive email. Otherwise, people may consider your messages spam.

Why it’s important

People have opted in only if they requested regular emails, for example by checking a box on a form that says “I would like to receive email messages.”

Even if your list is made up of people who purchased a product from your site or signed up for a membership account, if they did not explicitly indicate that they would like to receive regular email correspondence, it’s possible that they will consider your email campaigns spam. If enough people click on the “This message is spam” button in their email accounts, you could get blacklisted by one or several internet service providers. At that point, none of the users of that ISP will receive your emails, including those who have opted in.

What you can do

  1. Only send to people who have opted in. If people fill out your “enews” form, they’re requesting to receive email correspondence, so it’s safe to include these people in your distribution lists. But for other forms, for example a “Contact Us” form, you should include a checkbox saying “I would like to receive email messages.” Then, when selecting your distribution list for an email campaign, select the “Contact Us” group in the Forms section, and click on the “Edit Conditions” button below. You can edit the conditions so the campaign is only sent to those people who checked the opt-in checkbox.
  2. Include an unsubscribe link. You should also include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email you send. If people are given this option, they are much less likely to mark your emails as spam. You can easily add an unsubscribe link to your campaigns by embedding it into your email marketing templates. This can be done on the Email Marketing module’s Templates tab: Edit a template, then locate the HTML Body section. Place your cursor into that section where you want to insert the link, then from the “Insert Field” drop-down menu, select unsubscribe_url.
  3. Do not use purchased, borrowed or "inherited" lists. If your list was acquired from someone else, it's clearly not a list of people who opted in to receive your email. Moreover, some purchased lists can contain "spam trap" addresses, which are invalid addresses retained by ISPs to find people who send to non-opt-in lists and identify them as spammers. Sending to a single one of these "poison" email addresses can pollute the reputation of your entire campaign.
  4. Consider the age of your lists. If your list is months or years old, people may no longer be interested in receiving your emails. Many ISPs recommend sending periodic reconfirmation requests to aging email addresses to ensure that these recipients still want to receive email from you. It's better to remove non-respondents than risk them marking your email as spam.
  5. Gauge the interest in your campaigns. Using Freedom's campaign tools, you can determine which users aren't viewing your campaigns and how your campaigns are performing overall. You can do this on the Campaigns tab by selecting the History subtab. Consider reaching out to users who never view your mail and attempting to reconfirm their interest. Also, check to see if many people are unsubscribing from your campaigns. If many people are doing so, it's a good sign that your campaigns are unwanted and likely to be considered spam.
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