There's a new blog post over at Campaign Monitor that discusses what's changed in e-mail marketing design in 2008. I found this article helpful as it is an updated list of best practices for the industry. These include the following topics:
- Don't waste your readers' time
Inboxes are full -- give them something useful.
- Permission matters
Remind customers why they are getting the e-mail.
- Relevance trumps permission
You need permission, but a relevant message generates action.
- Make unsubscribing easy
Why pay to send to customers that aren't interested?
- Image blocking is common
View your design without images to see if the message still comes across.
- Bring back tables
E-mail clients are not standards-compliant and your table-less CSS layouts will be totally trashed.
- Add inline styles
Gmail will strip out all other stylesheets.
- Don't forget your plain text version
Make it readable and encourage scanning.
- Meet your legal obligations
Brush up on CAN-SPAM regulations.
- Test, test, test
Want to get more action from your e-mail? Test new versions to see what works.
With the economy in its current state and gas prices through the roof, many shoppers are leaving the car keys in the drawer and shopping online (Source: Harris Interactive -- "one-third (33%) of online US adults say they are more likely to shop online rather than at a store because of high gas prices").
Relevant, timely e-mail campaigns are a great way to drum up online business, and following the guidelines from Campaign Monitor will help you manage a better campaign.