Although not aimed at email marketing of course, the Metropolitan (London) police force recently produced guidelines for internal and external emails. Whilst some newspapers, hungry to fill space, were critical, if looked at sensibly, there was a lot of sense in them.
In brief, the 10 points were:
1/ Keep the title simple and clear.
2/ Explain the purpose of the email immediately, such as urgent or information only.
3/ Use words familiar to your audience.
4/ Start with a brief overview of the content.
5/ Keep the copy concise.
6/ If there’s a lot of information to convey, consider an attachment or hotlink.
7/ Longer emails can benefit from sub-headings.
8/ Avoid including previous emails unless essential.
9/ Consider using bcc addressing if the email is likely to be printed off.
10/ Check the email carefully for mistakes.
An additional one, courtesy of me:
11/ Might it be better to phone or meet the person.
As you can see, there is nothing contentious in the guidelines and the criticisms were rather petty. There can be few who have not grimaced, and more than occasionally, when opening an internal email. Worse still, how many times have you emailed the person back asking for clarification of a point that was rather confusing?
If your company has not published email guidelines then consistency is unlikely. Not only that, but your staff will, in all probability, be emailing other businesses. It is one thing to shake your head at an internal email, but what would that say about your company if it had been B2B.
You spend hours perfecting the text in one of your marketing emails but is the same being done when chasing up leads? Your email marketing software will tell you what form of address a customer prefers, yet do you follow this for all emails?
If you want to appear professional to your customers and other businesses, then guidelines for creating and sending emails are, if anything, essential. If you want someone else to do all your work, then click here: http://www.met.police.uk/job/job_76/#32 .
If you are just starting out in email marketing then it is a very useful introduction to creating emails for a campaign.