In this post I will discuss about the best practices and important points for effective email newsletter list management. By using these top 16 tips and guidelines you can create a successful email marketing campaign.
1) Opt-in list: The most important point in email marketing is that you need to make sure that you are using your own opt-in list. An opt-in list is the one for which your subscribers have specifically requested to receive your mailings.
2) Double opt-in or confirmed opt-in list: Double opt-in or confirmed opt-in list is nowadays an industry standard in email marketing. Your subscribers must have confirmed or validated their email address. In future, if someone says that they haven’t signed up for your list and you are spamming then you can show them the sign up records with full header information that they have confirmed their email address to be added to the email list.
3) Do not buy, rent or use someone else’s list: You should never buy, rent or use a third-party email list for sending your emails. Sending emails to these types of lists is known as spamming as these people have never signed up for your list and when you send emails to them, they will definitely mark it as spam.
4) Do not upload your address book: Also, you should not upload your email address book to your list as these people have just communicated with you for some or the other reason. They may or may not be interested in getting information about your products.
5) Create your own list: You should always create your own list for sending your newsletters. If you wish to have more subscribers then, there are many ways to increase newsletter subscribers.
6) Subject line of your newsletter: When you are writing a subject line for your newsletters then you should use proper syntax. I have written another article on how to write subject line for an email newsletter.
7) Header of newsletter: As a best practice in email marketing header is generally used for adding the logo of your company and the headline of the email newsletter. You should double-check before sending the newsletters that headline and header image is properly aligned in your message.
8) Body of newsletter: For a professional email newsletter, the body of the email should be properly formatted having no extra spaces and blank lines. Images and other multimedia content should be correctly aligned to give it a professional look.
9) Footer of newsletter: You should use a proper syntax for the footer of your email. As a best practice here is an example of a correctly structured email footer:
Your Company Name
Address of your Company
Your Website URL
According to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (issued by FTC), it is required that you should enter your physical address or a post office box address in every commercial email you are sending.
10) Opt-out and Unsubscribe: It is also stated by CAN-SPAM Act, that you should provide an option to your subscribers so that they can easily unsubscribe from your list. The best way to do it, is by adding an unsubscribe link in the footer of your message.
For Example, if you see the emails delivered by Feedburner, you will see that there’s an unsubscribe link in the footer of the messages:
Also, if a subscriber asks you to remove them from your mailings you should promptly unsubscribe them manually. It is not a good practice to ask the recipient why they wish to unsubscribe from your mailings. As they already have mentioned that they do not wish to receive any emails and sending any more emails to them would count as a spam. If the recipient complains their ISP that they are still receiving emails from you, then your servers or your email list management provider’s mail servers (if you are using a third-party email list management service) may get blacklisted.
11) HTML or text emails: Nowadays, all the major email list management providers send a MIME multipart message. A MIME multipart message is a combination of both HTML message and a text version. The way it works is, if the HTML message can be displayed in the subscriber’s browser then a HTML version is shown, otherwise a text version is displayed. So, basically you should create your regular HTML newsletters by using editors and tools provided by your email list management software and email list managers. Another advantage of creating an HTML email is that almost all the subscribers these days can view HTML newsletters. Also, all the major companies in the world these days send HTML newsletters.
12) Don’t add attachments in emails: Sending attachments in an email newsletter is not a best practice as spammers send spyware, Trojans and viruses through attachments. As a result of that, email spam filters (which are used by your recipients email server) drop an email which has an attachment. So, even if your email newsletter has a genuine attachment, there’s a high probability that it would be dropped by your recipient’s email servers. Due to this, many top-notch email marketing companies do not allow attachments in outgoing emails sent through their servers. If you wish to add a file like flash, video, or a document, the best way is to upload it in your website or blog, then add its link in the email newsletter.
13) Do not collect subscriber email address by writing: If you have an event, make sure that you don’t collect email addresses of participants through paper. The problem with a paper sign up form is that your visitors might end up making a typo or you might not be able to read a particular email address. There are billions of email addresses getting registered with free email service providers like Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail etc. Even a change in an alphabet or misreading an underscore or a dot will result in the email to go to unintended recipients. Also, the email address signed up through paper are unconfirmed. This can again lead to spam complaints.
14) Broken links: Before sending your newsletters you should check that all the links in your email newsletter are working and there should not be any broken links.
15) Scheduling a newsletter: It is a best practice to send your newsletters on a specific day and time. Which is the best day and time to send a newsletter actually depends on your business. I have written an article on best and worst days to send email newsletters based on statistics. You can go through this article to find the best day and time to send your newsletters.
16) Preview your newsletter: Once you have followed all the above given steps and if your are ready to schedule your newsletter, as a last step preview it by sending a copy to yourself. Many email management software provide this functionality. By previewing you can check how an email newsletter will look before you send a blast.