Campaign creation: check ✓

The ultimate guide to getting your email campaigns ‘best practice’ ready.

Bookmark this page, because we guarantee you’ll be using this for all your future emails! This guide is your start-to-finish for everything you should be checking when creating a campaign, and won’t make hitting that send button so nerve-racking. So, let’s start….

Your campaign name
Simple, but effective. Giving your campaign a name that makes it easier for you to find and report on is really useful. Try doing it by date, range, season or content… or all. dotmailer has a tagging feature, making it simpler for you to check your stats.

Who’s it from?
Keeping your sending ‘from’ name consistent is more important than you might think, and why? Having a strong from name that’s familiar with your audience will help build trust, familiarity, and help it stand out within your recipients’ inbox.

What’s your message?
Ensure your subject line has relevant messaging. Around 35% of recipients will open your email based on the subject line alone. Keep it strong, use powerful words and aim to keep it to a maximum of 50 characters. Aim to avoid multiple spam phrases and / or words.

DO encourage replies
Set an ‘optional forwarding address’, enabling you to see users’ important responses when they hit reply. dotmailer will aim to filter out any Auto-Replies / Out of Offices / Inbox Full responses.

What should I put in my campaign?

‘View in browser’ links
In the instance that a recipient’s mailbox is unable to load properly, having a ‘view in browser’ link will allow online viewing in their default browser.

Inbox preview text (the pre-header)
This is essentially a sub-heading in the inbox. All clients will pull through the first string of text, so having inbox-preview text at the top left of your email will allow you to not only expand on the content inside your campaign, but will avoid displaying any image and / or URLs when in preview mode.

An unsubscribe link
Unsubscribe links are obligatory by Spam Law – so make sure all of your email campaigns are compliant.

Registered company address
It’s a legal requirement your company name and registered company address are in ALL email marketing campaigns.

ALT tags are key
Most email providers will make you download / click to display images before a user can see the full contents. ALT tags will display the image description, encouraging the user to click to enable. It’s also key for blind users who have a text-to-speech reader, so your ALT (Alternative Text) should be clear.

Company logo
A visibly, prominent company logo within your template will help your brand stick in your customers’ mind.

Social sharing
Encourage social sharing of your campaign to engage and reach a wider audience. Make use of Twitter Web Intents which is incredibly easy to use, and it’ll enable your users to Favorite, Re-Tweet and Reply to a Tweet straight from their inbox.

Clear call-to-actions
Make your CTA stand out. Try split testing your campaigns using various colors, target messaging, actions to take, and alignment.

Text-to-image ratio
Aim to keep this at around the 60/40 ratio. Too many images can mean a large file size, and may get clipped by Gmail. Also, if a receivers’ default settings for images are off, then there will be no clear content for them to see.

Generate a plain-text version
Once you’ve fulfilled the above, and “Save & Continue”, you’ll be able to generate and amend the plain-text version of the campaign. Primary reasons for having a plain-text version is that because HTML emails can display differently from client to client, with plain text you know that what you see is what they’ll see.

Finally, check these off…

Use the Inbox Preview to ensure your email works across browsers and devices
For a small fee, you can do an inbox and spam check for over 50 inbox types.

Does your email make sense without images?
Have someone read your email without images, ensure they can gauge the message and action to take from a text-only format.

Test send and URL check
Send a test to yourself; are you happy with the format? Should more relevant content appear above the fold? Do you understand the message without scrolling? Yes… OK. Now check all your URLs go where they’re meant to go.

Spelling and grammar (in both HTML and Plain Text versions)
You don’t want to be known as the marketer who misspells their communications. Grammatical and/or spelling errors potentially destroy your brand’s reputation and credibility, so check it through Word, a colleague, and step away from it for a while. Then go back and re-read, and then repeat these steps again!

Using dynamic content for personalized fields.
Does your default field have a pre-set value to ensure no blank spaces are displaying once your campaign is launched?

Just before you hit send…
Are all of the details on your campaign summary screen correct? Are you happy? … SEND!

As advised, keep this page bookmarked and after your first few sends this will shortly become second nature to you. You can also get a free copy of our ‘Back to basics email marketing’ cheatsheet.

Thanks for reading, and happy marketing!

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