Adam Stokes offers his top tips for creating email marketing campaigns that grab attention while also meeting legislative and technical standards.

Email marketing is a tricky thing. If you’re interrupting anyone from their day to day activities, especially to try and sell them something, it has to be meaningful enough to grip their attention. Too many companies take the opportunity for direct contact with their customers for granted, resulting in wasted communication and even potential alienation (if your email campaign really is that bad).

While click-to-open rates (CTOR) are never impressively high, 30% is considered above average, there are general expectations of the average CTOR based on industry as well as company size. If your company is falling below the expected CTOR average for your sector and company size, then a revamped attitude towards your campaigns may be needed – whether that’s legal, technical or creative.

Abiding by Legislation

Before an email campaign can even begin to get creative, making sure all the data legislation is complied with will help to create a much more successful email campaign later down the line.

Dependent on the email service provider (ESP) that is being used, different compliance rules will need to be followed. However, most follow a similar standard when it comes to things like opt-ins and unsubscribes. Unsubscribe mechanisms must be in place in order to make your email campaign legal to send. You should also have permission to send to your recipient, whether expressed (by ticking an “opt in” check box), or implied (through an existing transactional relationship between you and the recipient). Without permission from a recipient, your company will be infringing legislation and can be liable for legal action – including anything from being blacklisted to receiving heavy fines.

International legislation from the countries of the sender, ESP and – more importantly – the recipient must all be observed to ensure that your email marketing campaign is abiding by all of the correct laws.

Formatting Your Emails

When it comes to formatting, setting the right standard for all of your email marketing campaigns will not only encourage consistency, but will also ensure that they are getting the right visibility across all platforms once opened, as well as making sure they get that far in the first place.

Using tools such as SubjectLine.com can help you format your subject lines correctly, boosting your open rate significantly. Ineffective subject lines can lack good structure, layout, punctuation, spelling, and urgency – all of which contribute to your emails being marked as SPAM, stopping your campaign dead in its tracks. Giving you a rating on all of the above, SubjectLine.com gives you the best chances of your campaign reaching the next step.

Next, remember that your recipients need to be able to view your email no matter what device they’re on. With more than 65% of emails reportedly opened on mobile devices in 2014, making sure your campaign is viewable on all devices will significantly affect visibility and CTOR. It is essential that your emails are readable on desktop, mobile and tablet platforms and are always written in HTML format.

Using image heavy emails can result in users being unable to view the content within your email. Text is always preferred, as your email can then at least be read even if it can’t be viewed in all its colourful glory.

Distributing Your Email Effectively

Once you’ve got a shiny new campaign set up and ready to go, its success will very much rely on how you decide to send it.

Using a sending program as part of your ESP is ideal for bulk sending, allowing rules to be set up for further actions to be taken. Decision trees can be set up for all user interactions so that regardless of user response, your campaign can be catered effectively and sent at the right time, to the right people.

Email marketing campaigns aren’t as simple as throwing out some ideas and sending them off on their way. With legislative and technical hoops to be jumped through before creativity can spark, ensuring that they are set up right will give your campaign the best chances of effectiveness in the expansive world of email marketing.

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About the author:

Adam Stokes joined ClickThrough as a content writer in March 2015. His role involves writing industry news articles, blog posts, product descriptions, web pages, infographics and more for many of ClickThrough’s clients. Away from his desk he enjoys writing screenwriting, creating flash fiction, and eating nothing but Cadbury’s.