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Best practice eDM No 4 – Content is king

Social & Digital

Best practice eDM No 4 – Content is king


The homestretch has curved into site, here we are at Bretts second last post on squeezing the most value out of your eDM. Today Brett offers that poignant among poignant reminds – content is King with a capital K and a rather large crown.

1. Understanding ISPs as a meta-audience
2. Acquiring email addresses – the right way
3. Do the inside work
4. Content is king
5. Spam flags

Once you’ve followed these best practices to ensure that your messages get through, content is king. We’ll leave the copy to you, but here are some content guidelines:

    1. Remind the contact why they are receiving this email. Include a link to opt-out and to update their profile information. Have both of these at the top of the email.


  • Ask contacts to add the ‘from’ address to their address book. This ensures consistent delivery.



  • Use a consistent look-and-feel. The basic formatting of your email marketing messages is not the place you want to differentiate yourself. As with a business letter, putting things where people expect them speeds requested actions and ultimately supports better rates of return. A common look-and-feel provides a consistent customer experience and should include spaces for: email opt-in, email format correction, add-to-address book, company web site and contact information, relevant copyright references, opt-out, privacy policy, profile update and ‘reply to’ policy if different from the ‘reply to’ address.



  • Include your privacy policy. Tell contacts how their profile information will and will not be used. Assure contacts that their information will never to rented or sold unless they specifically opt-in to partner email programs.
  • Allow contacts to easily update their profiles. Have information already filled in so contacts can simply fill the necessarily empty or incorrect fields: a new address, information about their internet connection etc.



  • Ensure the ‘from’ and ‘reply to’ addresses make sense to your contacts. A clear ‘from’ address increases recognition of the message to recipients and ISPs.



  • Make the subject line and body copy sensible and intuitive. State up-front any terms or special conditions, such as with an offer or promotion. Avoid special characters or jumbles of letters and numbers as these can identify your mail as spam. Consider that commonly-known acronyms in your industry may be senseless jumble to an ISP.



  • Avoid CAPs, special characters and certain words. These are common flags for spam. Avoid profanity. See tomorrow’s ‘spam flags’ list.



  • Ensure your content is internally approved by all necessary stakeholders. This includes the legal department.



  • Target your campaign to specific audiences. The narrower the better. By tracking demographics, previous campaign history, offer acceptance and interests stated in the customer’s profile, over time you should be able to deliver increasingly timely messages demonstrating ever-greater levels of specificity. Herein lays the real beauty of email marketing – greater personalisation made possible by increasing customer intimacy.



  • Balance images and text. Pleasing graphic design still applies, you want your message to be captivating, but not distracting – as well as easy to read.



  • Use test cells to optimise mailings. Test randomly selected segments of your audience to try out different approaches. For example, try different subject lines or body copy to different groups of the same or very similar audiences.



  • Test email content for spam identification. Several companies offer software to help you detect whether your campaign may be identified as spam.



  • Include the physical postal address of your organisation within your email.



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