Content Blunders to Avoid in Your E-Mail Marketing Messages - dummies

Content Blunders to Avoid in Your E-Mail Marketing Messages

By John Arnold

You can deliver lots of different kinds of content in your marketing e-mails, but just because you can send something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. Avoid sending content that makes your e-mails intrusive, unreadable, or difficult to take action on, including

  • Excessive punctuation: Your audience can misinterpret the emotion behind messages full of symbols and exclamation marks. Plus, e-mails with excessive punctuation are more likely to be marked as spam because spammers often use “cutesy” punctuation. Be sure to avoid, minimize, or replace

    • All capital letters

    • Repetitive symbols, such as strings of dollar signs

    • Strings of asterisks before and after headlines

    • Multiple exclamation points or question marks

  • Really loooong articles: Your audience is more likely to immediately open and read a short and concise e-mail because it takes less time to decide what to do with it. The longer your e-mail is, the more likely your audience will decide to read it later, and if they don’t get back to it within a few days, they’ll probably discard it.

  • Unfamiliar From address: If your From line or e-mail address is unfamiliar, your e-mail is more likely to go unopened or to be reported as spam. Make your From line familiar by using it to clearly identify yourself and your business and sending e-mails from an address your audience recognizes.

  • Click Here links: Links should be important key phrases that help tell the story of your e-mail in case your audience reads only the headlines and links. Craft your links into phrases and headlines that call for specific action.

  • Distracting images: Make sure that your images help to tell the story of your e-mail and don’t distract your audience from your main message. Use just one image per article and make the images you use small with links to larger versions. Don’t include busy background images or clip art that doesn’t fit your main theme.

  • Boring subject lines: Your Subject line should prompt your audience to open your e-mail instead of simply giving it a name. Keep your Subject lines from boring your audience by

    • Including the immediate benefits of opening your e-mail.

    • Highlighting one of the articles in your e-mail.

    • Repeating your e-mail’s main call to action.

    • Repeating one of your e-mail’s main headlines.

    Be honest and truthful in your Subject lines because consumers won’t appreciate being tricked into opening your e-mails.

  • Links that surprise the reader: Your links should give your audience members exactly what they expect. For example, if a More Information link actually downloads a video with sound, your audience needs to know that before they click.

  • Unfamiliar advertising: If your e-mails mention sponsors or advertise other companies:

    • Make sure your sponsorships are related to your audience and your business.

    • Keep your advertising space to a maximum of 20 percent of your overall content.

    • Make sure the ads are not too large or positioned in a way that makes them seem like they’re the main focus of your e-mail.

  • Including too many advertisements can draw attention away from your brand and make your e-mail look unfamiliar to your audience.

  • Repetitive messages: Repetition helps your audience to remember your e-mails, but consumers stop opening e-mails that repeatedly convey the same basic facts about your business. If your recipients won’t take action unless they see the same information over and over again, include new and interesting content along with your repeat messages so your e-mails remain valuable and relevant to your audience.

  • Cluttered layout: Your e-mail’s layout helps to break up your content so that your e-mail is easy for your audience to scan. To keep a clean, uncluttered look:

    • Organize your content into symmetrical groups.

    • Use white space and images.

    • Use columns to group related content together.