While Halloween is just around the corner, the scariest thing you might encounter this spooky season is in your inbox. From spammy subject lines to getting emails you don’t remember signing up for, there are businesses all over using ghoulish email marketing practices. You don’t have to be one of them. After all, the key to customer engagement is marketing emails that are all treats, no tricks.
However, if you’re not familiar with email marketing or are just getting started, you might not be familiar with the best practices. That’s why we’ve assembled four frightening email practices to avoid— and what you should do instead. Read all of our insights below!
1. Buying Email Lists Instead of Nurturing Your Own
We never recommend buying email lists. Good emails of potential customers are never on mailing lists you can buy, and sending unsolicited emails can actually break international laws. As Litmus reports, under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation GDPR, potential customers need to opt-in to receive marketing emails. Plus, many email marketing services don’t allow the use of these bought email lists.
Ultimately, a smaller email list of contacts you’ve nurtured and captured through your lead-generation efforts is always better. By having ways for your audience to subscribe to your emails on your website, in specific ad campaigns, promoting downloadables that require filling out a form, and even shouting out your brand’s newsletter on social media, you can build a more intentional list of contacts that is more likely to open and engage with your emails. Using inbound marketing for lead generation will support your business, and you won’t waste money on useless content.
2. Sending Newsletters Without Permission
You should never be sending newsletters to people who have not given you explicit consent. Under regulatory laws like the GDPR, you need to ensure everyone you send an email to opts into your newsletter and can opt-out if they’re no longer interested. The GDPR defines consent as,
“any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject's wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her”
More than that, the regulation also includes the “right to be forgotten,” which means that data on the customer should be deleted and not retained.
Even if you don’t have customers in the EU or other countries or even parts of the United States with data regulation, sending emails to people who haven’t opted in can impact your data delivery overall and can even get your account marked as spam.
Always ensure you have permission to send emails so that you are compliant with any regulation and can make a true impact with your email marketing strategy.
3. Using Misleading or Spammy Subject Lines
The subject line is the first thing a member of your mailing list sees. It must inspire action, spark curiosity, and be so compelling that they just have to click. However, you shouldn’t try to trick them. An example of a spammy subject line truncates or includes a fake reply like “Re: Your Account.” Other words and phrases that signal spam or trying to mislead include:
Of course, these are just a couple of examples of words that customers are least likely to click if they see them in an email. Some of these words will immediately land you in the spam folder. It’s also recommended not to use all capital letters but to write subject lines in the title case. You can even use emojis if you would like as the use of those increases opens.
At Corridor Consulting Company, we like to test our subject line using tools like CoSchedule’s Subject Line Tester so we can ensure it’s not reading too spammy and that it’s as optimized as possible. By crafting your subject lines carefully, you can ensure your emails feel more like a treat than a trick.
4. Making Inaccessible Email Design Decisions
Your emails should always be accessible. That means your email shouldn’t include hard-to-read fonts, text, or colors. When you use lots of colors on a background that isn’t contrasted enough or use way too much red, the email can be hard to read, especially if any of your readers have color blindness. In addition, because some of your readers might use screen readers if your image doesn’t have Alt Tags, they might miss out on essential promotions.
To make your email fully accessible, you need to make sure it is:
Responsive- Like your website, your emails must be easy to read and navigate on screens of multiple sizes. It should look just as good on your phone as it does on your computer. That means you should use a single-column layout, use a widely available font, and keep your text at around 12 or 13-point font. It also helps to use a newsletter theme built to be responsive and can adjust images or other elements to the size of the screen.
Screen-Reader Friendly- Use descriptive Alt Text on all of your images. You need to describe what you see and any words in the picture. That way, visually impaired people will get everything. For advice on writing Alt-text, use the Web Accessibility Initiative’s guide. In addition, while emojis are great, don’t use them to replace words or in the middle of sentences. This can make it confusing for screen readers. Put emojis at the end of a sentence for more clarity.
Designed with Contrast- No one wants to have to squint or change the brightness on their device to read your email. Ensure your chosen colors have an appropriate contrast level with the Color Contrast Accessibility Validator. Having contrasting colors will strengthen your design and ensure people with color vision deficiencies and other vision disabilities can read your emails. As a rule, using too much red will make emails hard to read for people with this disability.
Easy to Follow- It’s also essential to ensure your email is not too cluttered or contains so many elements that it is hard to navigate and read. Think about the user and how you’re taking them through a journey in this email. People are often skimming emails, so make sure you have clear headings and organized sections. Having headings and clear organization will also help people who use screen readers.
For more advice on accessible emails, check out this guide from the Bureau of Internet Accessibility. Making sure your emails can be read and acted on by more of your audience will make your emails have more impact.
Need Help Making a Scare-Free Email Marketing Strategy?
Of course, this blog is a quick primer on scary email marketing practices and what you should do instead. However, even with these tips, developing an email marketing strategy can feel ghoulish. If you want help with email marketing or copywriting, we hope you’ll reach out! Corridor Consulting Company is an experienced team of marketers and strategists dedicated to helping businesses reach their audiences.
Our team of creative social media managers, designers, ad experts, and copywriters is ready to help you craft exciting new ideas and implement them to grow your business. Since opening our doors in 2018, we’re proud to say that we have a more extensive list of returning and new clients each year. Contact Corridor Consulting today, and let’s talk about your business goals. We’d love to put our expertise to work for your business.