Blog Feature

By: Sarah Lysaker on September 29th, 2015

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Campaigns

Inbound Marketing & Sales

Email marketing is hard. Really hard. But it can also be extremely effective if it’s done well.

Some people think that email is dead and no longer relevant for today’s marketing. But the statistics say otherwise.

People still engage with and respond to marketing emails sent to their inboxes. The problem is that everyone is now overloaded with these emails. And as more and more marketers inundate prospects with emails, the more the prospects will tune out the messages.

How do you break through the noise? Like I said, it’s really hard. But there are some basic dos and don’ts that can help you in your mission. These are inspired by Tom Monaghan’s presentation “Seven Reasons Even Your Mom Won't Open Your Email,” which I heard him give at INBOUND 2015 (check out his SlideShare here).

Without further ado, here are some email campaign dos and don’ts.

Don’t schedule your emails for Tuesdays. Why? Because that’s what everyone else is doing. Once upon a time, marketers got it into their heads that Tuesdays are the way to go. And for a while, this was true--until everyone started scheduling their emails for Tuesdays and ruined it.

Do vary your send times during the week. You can even send emails on weekends. More and more people today have flexible or alternative schedules, which means they don’t have a standard Monday-through-Friday mentality.

The reality is that people check their email accounts all the time -- even more than they think they do. So you should vary it up and not lock yourself into a particular weekday.

Don’t schedule your emails for first thing in the morning. Marketers once thought this was a good idea because their email would be the first one in their prospect’s inbox. Why doesn’t that work? Because no one has a clean inbox anymore.

Our inboxes are bursting from all the email lists we’ve consciously or unconsciously joined, so trying to be the first with your email is a pointless struggle.

Do send your email at different times during the day. Try sending it in the early or late afternoon. Maybe even try an evening email. The key is to measure your results. Try a bunch of different times and see what works with your prospects.

But never get lazy--just because sending an email at exactly 2:04 PM on one day gave you good results does not mean you’ll get the same response five months from now. Keep experimenting and stay agile.

Don’t be creepy. Personalizing your emails is both smart and effective. But personalization should have a limit. You have lots of information about your prospect. That’s great -- but if you put all this highly personalized information into your email to them, they will find it creepy.  

Do personalize wisely. Addressing the email to your prospect by name is an example of a non-creepy personalization. Most people find it nice, not weird, to be called by their first name by a marketer.

Key Takeaways

Email best practices change over time. What was once a great idea may now be archaic or overdone. To stay ahead of the curve, you need to try new things. Your audience is unique, and what works for them may vary over time.

Some things are eternal no-nos, like being spammy (see our post "Don't Be a Spammer: 4 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hitting Send"). But some techniques that were once taboo -- like emailing on weekends or in the afternoon -- can actually be good ideas. So try it out, and be sure to measure your results!

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Image by thecrazyfilmgirl via Flickr, licensed under CC BY-2.0.