By Kate Maddox
BtoB’s E-mail Marketer Insight asked e-mail experts to come up with dos and don’ts for e-mail marketers as they make their marketing resolutions for 2005.
Marcel Nienhuis, market analyst at research firm the Radicati Group, had the following list of do’s:
- Start thinking about using RSS (really simple syndication) to provide relevant content to users.
- Take it easy on the images. "A lot of e-mails can overwhelm the user with images," Nienhuis said.
- Keep messages simple and clean. "Customers are used to Google’s format and are looking for that in different applications," he said.
- Use sender ID and/or domain keys for authentication.
- Tap into instant messaging. "Provide an IM contact at the bottom of an e-mail, so people can talk to someone instantly about a product or service," Nienhuis said.
- Send e-mail from a person, not a generic company address. "It has a more human feel to it that way," he said.
- Make sure to have an opt-in—and a confirmation—policy.
- Use software that sends messages in smaller batches. "If you send out huge quantities of e-mail in one batch, filtering software might identify the mailing as bulk e-mail," Nienhuis said.
- Offer HTML options for e-mail.
- Customize the e-mail to the person, not just to "user."
Nienhuis had just one don’t on his list: "Don’t send more than one e-mail a week. You will overwhelm the user," he said.
Michael Della Penna, CMO at e-mail marketing company Bigfoot Interactive, had the following list of dos:
- Take every possible step to ensure deliverability. This includes educating recipients to add your name to their address book so the e-mail is not sent to bulk folders, as well as crafting content that doesn’t get picked up by spam filters, Della Penna said.
- Build analytics into e-mail. "CMOs are being looked at very closely as far as accountability," he said. "You have to build a system where marketers can measure the success of their programs."
- Integrate e-mail with other marketing programs, considering, for instance, how direct mail, e-mail, a 3-D piece and a telephone call all work together to maximize response and reduce costs, he said.
- Take steps to ensure "whitelisting" of e-mail, so that it is recognized and accepted by the recipient.
- Promote industrywide education. "We will see a big push on the education front industrywide as the spam issue has pulled the entire industry together," Della Penna said.
He had the following list of don’ts for e-mail marketers:
- Don’t "batch and blast."
- Don’t assume the recipient has received the e-mail. "Implement monitoring for sending e-mail, like in-box monitoring, and monitoring opens and click-throughs," he said.
- Don’t assume your messages are CAN-SPAM compliant. "Any commercial e-mail, including messages sent by your salespeople to corporations promoting your goods and services, must be CAN-SPAM compliant," Della Penna said. "Reputable marketers will build a process to checkpoint and monitor commercial communications and educate their internal teams about regulations and requirements."