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Tips for effective email campaigns

Designing for Silence: Using email for good was a talk about ways to effectively use email marketing.  M Jackson Wilkinson of Posterous led the talk and gave some very simple yet valuable rules to avoid being considered spam.

One point he made about emails in general, is that they should be subtle.  He stated that it is better to “strive to make noise only when it improves silence.” What that means is that there are times when customers expect to receive email notifications and by not sending one, it can cause more harm than good.  On the contrary, an example of too much noise is Facebook notifications each time you get a message, or when someone comments on a thread that you have also commented on.

A way to improve such clutter is by simply bundling notifications.  Wrapping a set of notifications into one summarized message would greatly reduce clutter. He also speaks to the idea of email programs being smarter and basing their messages on user trends.

Some general tips on making a message as efficient as possible:
1. Don’t forget the important stuff – make sure the message has a purpose
2. Don’t beat around the bush – make the point of the message direct and clear
3. Nail your metadata
– Keep the application or company name in the ‘From’ line.  Do not create an alias
– Keep the ‘From’ line 20-25 characters.  most mail clients cannot read more than that
– Use specific subject lines.  Try to keep the subject related to the body of the email

Effective messages are designed messages.  The action in the email should be obvious.
EX:  If your asking your customer to confirm their email address, make that action be the focal point of the email.

Each of the tips seem to be fairly obvious, but yet are rarely used correctly. When done correctly, emails can be much more effective and can increase customer interactions with email messaging.

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