What’s New in E-mail Best Practices

E-mail best practices have been examined in a number of columns over the years. These columns address creative design, rendering, deliverability, technology, and more. The great news is that when you type any topic imaginable about e-mail into Yahoo or Google search, you’ll get hundreds of thousands of listings and replies. The bad news is that the majority of these links take you to blogs and Web sites that contain undated or outdated insights about e-mail best practices.

Fact is, e-mail best practices are somewhat fluid. As e-mail use changes in our lives and changes how way we work, so do best practices. This fluidity can make it a challenge to determine what best practices are really still the best and where to turn for accurate and up-to-date information.

To help you keep up with the trends and changes in strategies, today I’ll point out some “best practices gone bad” in e-mail.

Best Practices Gone Bad

  • The more IP addresses and the more you change IP addresses, the better. This is a best practice no more. In fact, it’s a worst practice. The best practice these days is to choose an IP address or two and slowly build up credibility in trusted and reputable delivery to achieve great delivery rates.
  • Use a subject line that entices people to open the e-mail but include cryptic phrases that entice your readers’ attention. Not anymore! The most widely opened e-mail messages have subject lines that actually speak to what’s in the e-mail. Make it a simple decision for the reader to open or pass on the message. If your e-mail isn’t clear, your reader doesn’t have time to think about it.
  • The prettier the e-mail (read: HTML), the better. That was before “CrackBerrys” attacked everyone’s lives (even the soccer mom’s). These days, the best practice is to make your message readable on a mobile device as well.
  • E-mail works really well to drive sales, increase retention, and build loyalty. Sometimes, it’s second only to search. Sadly, the days of standalone e-mail campaigns dominating the market are behind us. E-mail still works as a killer marketing channel, but it works even better as part of an integrated marketing plan. If your e-mail programs don’t align with your search and online strategies, you’re missing valuable opportunities to triple or even quadruple the results you get using e-mail as a standalone channel — even if your company is a SOHO (define).

How can you stay up to date with the latest and greatest e-mail trends, without having to click through 16 pages of a search engine site? If you’re reading ClickZ’s e-mail columns, you’ve made a great start. Send me other ways to stay current, and I’ll post them in my next column.

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