5 Email Basics To Keep Your Subscribers Happy Jillian Wohlfarth February 28, 2014 Best Practices // SUMMARIES ?> Happy email subscribers equal happy and healthy email programs. For us, happiness begins with solid permission marketing techniques (thank you Seth Godin), low bounces rates, solid content, and… a smile. Get started with the 5 tips below… your customers will thank you. 😉 1. Ask Permission, Host a Preference Center Watch out for email fatigue. Sending too much email to your subscribers can drive high unsubscribe and/or complaint rates. Offer a preference center so users can choose what updates they’d like to receive from you and how often they would like to receive them. Here’s a great example from everyday design company, Fab. 2. Keep a Clean List, Avoid Traps A clean, well-managed subscriber list can be your best asset, whereas “dirty” lists with out-of-date information are a leading cause of deliverability failures and are sure to damage your sending reputation. List hygiene is the process of removing “bad” addresses in a timely manner. Good list hygiene practices are essential to avoiding spam traps and keeping your bounce rates low—key drivers of your reputation. (What are spam traps and bounce rates you ask? Check out our spam trap and bounce management posts for more info.) Implementing regular reconfirmation/win-back campaigns is also a good way to ensure that your lists stay clean. These campaigns help you remove unengaged users so your lists are up to date. One of my teammates here at SendGrid notes that often senders won’t clean their lists for 10 years (!) and when they do, it’s a big shock when they remove the unengaged users form their lists. The analogy he likes to share with senders is, “If you haven’t cleaned your house in 10 years, you are going to run into some funky stuff.” Kind of makes you want to drop everything and clean your list, right? 3. Send a Welcome Message Begin your relationship with your subscriber with a smile—give them a warm, and personal welcome. What do we mean? Our Director of Revenue Marketing, Carly Brantz, breaks down the basics of creating a memorable welcome message in our recent blog post. 4. Follow the Law Be sure to comply with the federal CAN-SPAM Act. The CAN-SPAM Act is geared towards marketing email (with transactional email technically being exempt), but we advise that senders follow its regulations regardless of what type of email they send. Here’s a look at some of the act’s guidelines: Have a working unsubscribe mechanism in the footer and/or header of all email communications. Include your official business street address in the footer of all email communications. This should be your corporate headquarters or another address where official communications are handled. It cannot be a P.O. Box. Handle all unsubscribe requests within 10 business days. This means when someone asks to be removed from your list, you must suppress that email address from future mailings within 10 business days. This is the minimum, and ideally the suppression should occur within 24 hours. Complying with CAN-SPAM is ultimately the bare minimum when it comes to sending email. We recommend stepping it up a notch and going above and beyond CAN-SPAM by following the recommendations we outline in our Deliverability Guide. 5. Send Good Email This sounds obvious, but it can be harder than it sounds! There is no secret formula to sending email that works. But there are certainly steps that can help—a few of which are outlined above. Here are some basic questions you should ask yourself before you hit send: Have I asked my subscribers what kind of content they want to receive? Will my subscribers want to read this email? Have I included both an HTML and a plain text version? Is my email responsive? Is my email a positive reflection of my brand? Is my messaging consistent from my subject line, to my header, to my body copy, to my conclusion. (Look at your email as a story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. ) And overall… Am I getting the right message, to the right subscriber, at the right time? Keep these 5 suggestions in mind as you evaluate your list and your email content! Also, subscribe to the blog for more suggestions that will keep you and your customers in an email happy place!