Trick or treat, email-style

In the spirit of Halloween, this month’s installment is about email tricks and treats. No ghosts or goblins here, just a look at the good and bad of email marketing. No guarantees, but if you keep these in mind, you’ll have an increased chance of avoiding the “toilet paper in the trees” equivalent happening to your email program.

Let’s start with email acquisition. Don’t trick people into signing up for your list. Be honest and up front with what you’ll be sending. The treat of this will be a receptive audience who’s more likely to respond to the calls to action in your message. It’s also a treat for your audience to get exactly what they were promised when they were told to expect it. If you said on your sign-up form that you’d be emailing once a week with special offers, don’t send an email once a month with company news.

Not getting your messages to render the way you want? One trick is to use alt tags with your images. This way, when your recipient has them turned off, they’ll still see something that tells them more about what they can’t see. Also, treat your recipients to relevant imagery. Don’t use clip art for the sake of having a picture in your message. Unnecessary images weigh down an email and take up valuable space.

Use landing pages wisely. Don’t trick your recipients into clicking a link for more information if the page you’ve directed them to has nothing to do with the call to action in your message. Treat those who click a link for more information with respect by having the promised information be the main focus of the landing page. Ask someone to hunt for what they’re expecting to be front and center on a web page will cause frustration and you’re sure to do harm to your brand or image.

As always, think of what your recipients would want to read when crafting a campaign. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that what’s important to you is necessarily important to them. Study results from past campaigns to determine future campaign components. Deliver on the promise made when your audience enrolled in your email program and you’ll be treated to an email marketing program that’s living up to expectations.

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