Anyone new to email marketing would, no doubt, search online for best practices in order to ensure they make as few mistakes as possible in their introduction to our craft. However, it is all but impossible to be prescriptive. The number of ‘You must do this’ and ‘You must not do this’ are very few and even the ones that everybody agrees on, such as ‘Whatever you do, don’t purchase contact lists’ have probably some exceptions. Most commentators can’t be bothered as these would be few and very specific.
A number of bloggers suggest that you should clean your email marketing list regularly. You would think there is little to argue in this, but my feeling is you should clean your email marketing list frequently, the difference being that a regular task soon becomes automatic and automatic breeds contempt.
I can’t find anything wrong with suggestions such as you should personalise emails to your fullest ability and, the perennial ‘great advice’ is that you should split-test just about every individual factor of your email, from your address to the footer. Where such suggestions err is in being specific. For instance, personalise your Subject Line; it might well be that some subscribers, perhaps B2B, would appreciate a more generic one. You won’t know until you test.
I have, on occasion, suggested that your landing page should reflect the design elements of your marketing email, the reason being that you don’t want to jar the reader. This should not be seen as prescriptive. You might want to jar your subscriber into noticing the change, in order for them to concentrate. The same goes for the old homily of include the offer in the Subject Line.
There’s one bit of advice which has been consistent for many years: use just two typefaces in your marketing emails. I fail to see the reasoning in this. It’s stipulating a requirement for a design, and this is a limitation. Design of emails, especially with regards to typefaces, is something that has expanded over recent years and new ideas and resources should be exploited.
There are two vital points your email designer, almost certainly if you choose well-constructed free email marketing templates, will take into account: the needs of those with vision-impairment, meaning large, legible typefaces are a requirement, and secondly, and counterintuitively, people generally don’t read the copy in a marketing email. They merely skim read your text.
It might be that a third typeface is introduced to demand attention. To avoid trying this, and testing it on your subscribers of course, because someone suggested it is somehow wrong is definitely wrong.
In all things email marketing, nothing is written in stone, and this is where your experience comes into use. There are many explanations online as to why a particular course of action must be avoided, but in essence, anything goes if it works for you and your subscribers. Don’t take any notice of anything that restricts you. Email marketing has no frontiers.
Find your own rules. Once you’ve done that, break ‘em.