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You’re nearly there. Your strategy is spot on, you’ve ticked off all the various copy points, your design is award winning and your code faultless.

Now – how about we get this bleeding email sent?

Here is a nice pre-send checklist for you:

1)    Create an online version

Make sure you have an online version of your email ready and hosted on an externally accessible link. Be aware, that unless the email is coded in a language other than HTML, the personalisation won’t work. Does your email still read well without this personalisation? Yes? Great! Move to point two.

2)    Create a text version

I already mentioned the importance of text emails. In recent sends, the percentage of users who accessed the text version was far greater than those accessing the HTML. Make sure you have a well-written, well-formatted, typo-free text version ready and waiting.

3)    Preview your email

Many email distributers offer preview functions within their platforms, allowing you to see how your email renders in each of the email clients.
If you can’t afford these services then simply set up a test account in each of your core email clients (Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, Yahoo and so on), and send the email to all before you do your mass send.

4) Test your email without images

View your email without images: Can you still tell what the offer is and how to get it? Great! Your email is a success.

5) Subject line test

Hopefully, you’ve written at least three different subject lines, either in terms of style or offer. Now’s the time to test them. Section off a group of email addresses – any size will do but a 1,000 or more is great. Send the same email (with different subject lines) to 3 different groups and wait 24 hours. Which email got the highest open rate and click-through rate? Even if it’s only a matter of a few percent, these results can make a huge difference to your overall send.

6) Test TOD and DOW

Testing Time of Day (TOD) and Day of Week (DOW) can again have a big impact on your results. I was once told the following best day mantra:
–    Monday – people just arrived at work too busy to read emails; you’ll end up in the Trash.
–    Tuesday – again, most folk busy at work. In the flow of things, your email will distract them; you’ll end up in the Trash.
–    Wednesday – hump day. Everyone is depressed because there are still two days to go until the weekend, so they won’t read your email.
–    Thursday – Brilliant day to send emails. Everyone is happy, it’s nearly the weekend, they’ve started to slack off work and want some distraction.
–    Friday – No one is concentrating, weekend is nearly here. They won’t read your email properly; you’ll end up in the Trash.

So, Thursday is the best day, and obviously not too early (miss the morning rush) and not too late (miss the going home rush) and not at lunch time. So how about Thursday at 11? Perfect! I think everyone else must have learnt this method as well, perhaps that’s why I still get about 15 advertising mails every Thursday at 11am.

Basically, that’s all nonsense. You have to experiment and see what works for YOUR brand. If you’re a cinema chain. Friday at 11 might be the perfect time to send your email ready for the weekend plans.

7) Be legal

Australian email laws aren’t as tough as some other countries but you should at least ensure you that you :
–    Get your users to double opt in*.
–    Include an Unsubscribe option.
–    Process any Unsubscribe requests quickly. Anything over 5 days is just rude.
–    Refrain from spamming your user with an email telling them they’ve been unsubscribed. Just give the unsubscribe message on the page and be done.
–    Have a valid ‘Reply To’ address.
–    Include your street address – possibly overkill (I believe CAN SPAM requires it) but why the heck not?

* Double opt in (DOI) is the process whereby a user registers their details then receives an email asking them to click a link to confirm registration. There is always a percentage drop between registration and DOI but it’s worth it for a better-quality, legal list.

I hope you found this email ‘how to’ guide useful.

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