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5.28. General eMarketing Tips and Etiquette

Updated 02.12.17

*Please carefully read our Terms of Use, Anti-Spam and Privacy Policy for more information.

At NewPanda, we not only encourage our members to be good eMarketing citizens, we pretty much require it.  That's because poorly designed eMessages sent by one user can potentially affect all of our users.  We do everything in our power to ensure that doesn't happen, including suspending services for users that violate our Terms of Use or send too many "spammy" eMessages.

First, please familiarize yourself with the Federal Can-Spam Act of 2003.  You need to know the rules, because if you break them, we'll have to suspend or terminate your services.

Next, here are some great tips and tricks for making the most of your email marketing efforts AND keeping your Spam reports and unsubscribes low:

Subject Line:  Let's face it, spammy subject lines are like the kiss of death for your eMessage.  First, your eMessage may just not even get opened.  Second, the recipient may open the eMessage just to unsubscribe. Third and worst of all, it could land your eMessage in the recipient's Spam folder and they'll never even see it.  That means WE have to unsubscribe them for you, AND it drives up your (and OUR) Spam complaint rate.  So.....

   1. Catch phrases like "limited time," "hurry," "act now," "don't miss this opportunity," "special 
       sale" "unique offer" and the like in your subject line are spammy.  And distracting.  What is
       your message really about?  Tell the recipient, and do it in as few words as possible. 

   2. DON'T USE ALL CAPS, PEOPLE!  It's WAY spammy.  And it's considered rude in the email
       community.  Some email programs actually just automatically "junk" eMessages where the
       subject line is in ALL CAPS.

   3. Don't! Use!! Exclamation ! ! ! Points! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !   They're spammy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                      
       And annoying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

   4. Don't bait and switch.  Don't make your subject line about one thing and then your message
       about another.  That's a quick way to frustrate recipients and get them to click Unsubscribe Link!

Content:  If your message looks or sounds "spammy", it's going to get put in the recipient's Spam folder (either by a filter or by the recipient themselves), or the recipient may outright unsubscribe. 

   1. Don't use 643 images in your message.  Use appropriate images, but don't go overboard either
       in size or quantity.  Most Spam filters actually look at the image-to-text ratio in your message. 
       If there's a lot more image space than text, you have a relatively good chance of NOT making it
       to your recipients' Inboxes. 

   2. Never send a message that's just an image.  Even if it's an image of words.  Why? 
  
            a. Because Spam filters can't "read" images, so they think any message that contains 
                just an image or images is a SPAMmer trying to get past the SPAM filter.  They will
                block any message they can't read.  Can you say "Backfire?"
            b. Because some recipients' email programs will block images, and then all they see is a
                little red x.  That creates an unsatisfying experience for your recipients and can
                affect your unsubscribe rates.

      Spam filters like to see a good balance of text and image content in HTML emails. If you send
      a campaign that contains image only content, it will have a really hard time getting past most
      spam filters. We suggest that you add a paragraph or two of text to your HTML version of your
      campaign (outside of the image, text embedded in an image won't count) to help lower your
      spam filter score.

      Also, be sure to limit the number and size of images you include. Sure, it's okay to have
      several, including a large header or main image for impact, but your email should not exceed
      around 600 pixels wide, whenever possible. (For more information, see our
      helpful page on What affects my unsubscribe rates?)

   3. Don't use 327 text colors in your message.  They're spammy!

   4. Don't even bother trying to embed a video in your message.  It won't make it to the
       recipient's Inbox; it will be stripped by their email program and your recipients will
       receive a blank messageMore info here.

   5. Test your hyperlinks.  Send yourself a test message and click the link(s).  Do they work? 
       Sending eMessages with broken links or image paths can really hurt your credibility and your
       image with your recipieints. 

   6. Make sure your content is relevant to your Subject Line (and vice versa).  Otherwise your
       recipients will feel they're being taken advantage of.

   7. Your recipients are busy, so be concise.  Get to the point quickly and be all done.  On
       average, recipients will spend about six seconds on your message, and that's how long
       you have to say whatever it is you need to say or give them a reason to keep reading.  If
       you finally get around to the reason for your message in your 5th paragraph, you can pretty
       much count on a high spam complaint and/or unsubscribe rate, and a low response rate.

   8. Keep the information in your message relevant to the time period for which it applies.  You'll
       have shorter, easier-to-read messages, with information the recipient can use right now.
       Over time, you'll build anticipation for your "next message" with good looking, timely,
       applicable content that's not overwhelming or boring.  And your recipients will appreciate it.

   9. Certain phrases or words in your message body can get your message Spam filtered.  Some
       Spam filters look for "Dear <FirstName> in your message.  As long as you don't have anything
       else too spammy, the word "Dear" shouldn't land your message in the Spam folder, but if you
       have additional iffy content, like the word Oprah (nope, we're not kidding), bad text-to-image
       ratio, etc., you're probably not going to make it to the Inbox.  Consider using "Hi <FirstName>",
       "Hello!" or some other salutation.  Or just the FirstName!

HTML Coding:

   1. Test, re-test and then test again if you are writing your own HTML code or if someone other
       than NewPanda wrote it for you.  (No, we don't write custom HTML code, we're just making a
       point here.)  Send your message to the test accounts you've created in all the different email
       clients like AOL, GMail, Yahoo, Comcast, MSN, Hotmail, and every other one you can think of,
       to see how your message looks in each.  Sending a message that doesn't look good, or worse,
       one that looks downright awful, is a great way to get your recipients to click the Unsubscribe
       Link.

   2. Don't use JavaScript in HTML email.  Period.  We can't stress this enough.  Almost all email
       applications block JavaScript in order to prevent viruses.  If you have copied HTML from a web
       page to use as an email, REMOVE THE JAVASCRIPT.

   3. Don't create your HTML code in Microsoft Word and then export it to HTML.  It creates sloppy
       code, and SPAM filters look for it in order to STOP IT.

Frequency:

   1. If your recipients haven't heard from you in a while (or EVER), PLEASE consider sending a
      "warmup" or "reminder" message before your actual message or campaign.  Here's how:

       We found an awesome article about how email frequency affects profits, unsubscribes and SPAM 
       complaints and hope you will take a few minutes to check it out.  View the article.

   2. Maybe you have an opt-in list that signed up to receive a daily, weekly, bi-weekly or some
       other frequency of message from you.  But for messages other than those where the recipient
       expects to hear from you at a specific frequency, if you just emailed your list or group yesterday
       or even last week, are you sure you need to email them again right now?  Really sure?  Unless
       it's a really good message, like with a $50 coupon inside or something, I don't want to get
       emails from my bakery or dentist or vet every week, or even every other week.  I just don't. 

3.  The key is to consider carefully how often each of your groups or lists should (or WANTS TO) hear
      from you, and proceed accordingly.  There's no "one size fits all" in email marketing.  Once you've
      identified the proper marketing frequency you can:

Test all eMessages before sending them to your live list. 

   1. Sending eMessages with incorrect image paths or URL paths is a quick way to frustrate your
       recipients and make them think poorly of you.  And reach for the Unsubscribe button.

   2. eMessages that contain grammatical or spelling errors can also leave recipients with a
       negative impression.  Be sure to spell-check and preview your eMessages, as well as 
       thoroughly combing your test messages for obvious mistakes.

   3. eMessages may look great in one Internet Browser or Email Application, but not another.
       Be sure to test your messages in different Internet Browsers and Email Applications to be
       sure everything looks and works as it should.

See more information on Spam and Abuse topics

Want more eMarketing advice?  Check out the Email Yogi's 12 Absolutes for eMarketing Success!

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