50 characters – that’s all that stands between your successful email campaign and the trash.

When writing your email campaign your subject line plays a leading role, but if long-term and lucrative list building is your goal there are other crucial parts you should pay close attention to.

1) Use permission-based email marketing

Never send out unsolicited emails. Not only will your efforts be dismissed as spam but your credibility and online reputation could be at stake. Generate an opt-in email list and give potential customers a reason to sign-up by giving away something valuable for free.

2) Subject lines

There’s a lot riding on your email subject line. You can either state what your reader can expect from your email message, what’s in it for them or what you want them to do as a result of the email. In 50 characters you won’t be able to say everything so choose your words wisely. Experimenting and testing is a great way to get real insight and you can look at newspaper headlines for inspiration.

3) Keep your list clean

To increase the performance of your campaign you should clean your email list frequently to remove bounced and undeliverable addresses.

4) Avoid red flag words and phrases

If you don’t want to get filtered out by spam protection software avoid using words and phrases that set off filtering systems. ‘Free’ isn’t necessarily evil – just don’t put it in capitals, at the start of your subject line or follow it with numerous exclamation points. Try running your email through a content checker to identify spammy words, phrases or construction.

5) Usability

Always give your contact the option to select either plain text or HTML emails. In doing this you are ensuring readability and increasing your click-thru rates.

6) Get Personal

Your goal is to develop a personal connection with the people on your list so use their names wherever possible. And remember, if they’ve subscribed to a newsletter don’t send them special offers or sales promotional emails – they won’t be expecting a hard sell from you. Creating totally separate opt-in lists for different content allows your campaign to be better targeted.

7) Give good content

However good your subject line is your email campaign will fall flat if you aren’t sending content that people want to read. Share useful advice, industry tips, deals and bonuses. Segment your list into smaller, more targeted lists based on their buying patterns if possible, so that your customers only receive messages that are relevant to them.

8) Give them the head’s up

On your social media pages let clients know about your forthcoming email. Create expectation and anticipation.

9) Keep the best up top

Remember that many people will see a preview of your email before deciding to open it or ignore it. Make sure your key points are in the top third.

10) Make unsubscribing easy

Subscribers shouldn’t have to hunt for details about how to leave your email list. Make the directions clear and obvious and also include a lighthearted note saying that you’re sorry to see them go and hope they’ll be back some time. (No guilt. No pressure. That just feels ick.)

Email marketing is a cheap and effective way to tap into your existing customer base. If you’re concerned that your emails just aren’t sharp enough to dodge the spam filters or the trash bin I’d love to help. Read about my email copywriting services or Get in touch and we’ll hatch a plan.