Tricks for Writing the Ultimate E-Mail Campaign

The Basics:

  1. From Name:  Who are you?  Your recipients need to be able to recognize this in that instant when they are deciding whether or not the message is from a friend or from another company trying to sell them something they don’t want.  Does your company dominate your image, or do you?  If you run a small business, your personal name may be a better choice than your company’s.  If you aren’t sure, send half of one campaign using one name, and the other half using the other.  See how many messages are opened from each group.  Your recipients will tell you who they think you are.
  2. Subject: This is your first impression.  A lousy subject line can turn a meticulously designed message into a complete waste of time.  Make a list of the most interesting and trust-inspiring lines you can think of – if you can, ask a friend to judge how interesting and non-spammy they think they are.  Narrow your choices to two or three, and send each to 10% of your contact list.  See how many messages are opened.  The top performing one is your subject line for the remaining 70-80% of your contact list.
  3. Pre-Header: If you are using a pre-header, be sure it reflects the subject line.  It should not repeat the subject line, but it should expound on it (yet still stand on its own as a second subject line).  If your preheader is a completely new subject, your viewers are going to get a slightly dischordant vibe, reducing their confidence about the message to follow.
  4. Headline: Keep the headline short, honest, and accurate.  Don’t be seduced into using flowery excessive “hot words” if they don’t accurately reflect exactly what your message is about.

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Great Components of a 90’s Site

…That are horrible components of a modern site.

Among my favorites:
An introduction page. Nothing is better than putting something between an information hungry visitor and the information they are looking for.

A counter.  Most counters start at 1,000,000 views.  If you want your visitors to be really impressed, start your counter at 3,384,111.  The number is random enough that you might be able to trick the five people who still don’t know that a counter means absolutely nothing into thinking your site is AWESOME.

Web Marketing, Design, and Generally Interesting Stuff