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Email Best Practices – Have Things Changed?

November 19, 2012

From Loan Officer Lou King

As we move into winter and closer to the holidays, do you have an email strategy to stay connected to your network of clients and colleagues? Utilize the built-in opportunities that the holidays bring to stay in touch over the next few months and keep your name front and center.

But before you do, revisit some common email “best practices.” Has anything changed over the past year in email marketing? Here’s a hint… yes!

  • Subject lines: In the past, the rule was to keep subject lines short and sweet. Today, longer subject lines are being used, simply because they give a discriminating reader a better idea of what your email is about, which leads to greater opens/clicks. On mobile phones, even though the subject line won’t be truncated, only the first part appears on screen, so be sure to continue placing the most important words in the lead.
  • Free is fine: The big taboo word in email marketing has been “free.” Businesses were warned never to use that word in their subject lines because it would be triggered as spam, leading to problems with future deliverability. However, Return Path’s SPAM filter check found that the word “free” doesn’t lead to spam problems as much anymore, AS LONG AS the related content is genuinely related to something free. When used in a sensational way simply to create opens, it will still cause problems. The best advice is to still use “free” sparingly and wisely, but feel “free” to use it.
  • Sending time: Every business wants to know the absolute best time to send an email, and this continues to be a moving target. Not just by time, but also by industry. In general, 8-9am is the best time to obtain both opens and click-throughs. In the afternoon, the most opens happen from 3-8 pm, but click-throughs spike only from 3-4pm. Using those times as a guide, make sure your email is sent at least an hour before that window to be sure it’s delivered and waiting. Of course, these are general guidelines – the only way you can determine your company’s best sending time is by trying different ones and then evaluating the opens and click-throughs on your own list. Most email providers offer tracking data by campaign so you can see for yourself.
  • iPhones and iPads dominate mobile email: By the middle of 2013, it’s estimated that more people will read email on their mobile devices than anywhere else. So, you should know that Apple devices are the leaders in that space. Make sure that your emails render well on iPhones and iPads; almost 30% of all emails opened on the go are accessed through one of these devices. That compares to just under 6% for Android devices.

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