deBanked Email Campaign Tips

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Sending out an email campaign? Here are some helpful guidelines we’ve put together from experience:

1. Choose a well-crafted subject line. If your subject line doesn’t speak directly to your audience and entice them, they won’t open your email and nothing else will matter. Assume your recipient gets hundreds or thousands of emails per day so even if they recognize the sender and subscribed to them, they might not feel compelled to open the email unless they’re convinced they should. Assume that they also receive a lot of spam so something like the subject line “Best deal of the year” could be glossed over by the ever-distracted eye that can’t tell if the email is about Black Friday shopping discounts or their funder’s newest commission structure.

Try to be as specific as possible in as few enticing words as possible. “ISOs, best deal of the year” tells the recipient this is a deal for ISOs, not a deal for footwear at Macy’s.

Consider also: You have to do it in a way that won’t trip spam filters. Even if the recipient’s mail server regularly gets email from the sender, a subject line in all capital letters or lots of dollar signs could send that email to the spam folder anyway. Lines like “Make lots of money” or “Get rich” have a lower chance of making it to the destination. Mail servers remember email they don’t like so one poorly worded subject line today could convince mail servers that your future emails, no matter how mundane, should go there too. So be careful.

2. Draft your campaign in HTML. A standalone image might look really cool but that presents two problems.

  • If the recipient has images in emails blocked by default they will just receive a blank email. NOT GOOD.
  • Spam filters may suspect you are trying to hide your message in a photo rather than in text where the content can be analyzed. As a result, your email and future ones may go right to the spam folder.

Consider also: That HTML comes in many versions that is interpreted in various ways by different mail clients. Stick to HTML 4 (do not use HTML5) and use TABLE tags instead of DIV tags (DIVs are ignored by some email clients).

3. Cap the maximum width to 700 pixels. Remember that your recipient may be reading your email on a mobile device or not have their email client window fully extended on their screen. To prevent loss of readability, think narrow, not wide.

4. Use still images, not animations. Use of images in emails are great, but bear in mind that unfriendly email clients like Microsoft Outlook will not animate an animated .gif file. Instead, it will only display the first frame of the animation as a still image. So if you use animations, make sure the first frame is something you can live with if your recipient is viewing it using Microsoft Outlook.

5. Don’t use huge image files. The perfectly crisp high resolution image might look fantastic but if it’s multiple megabytes, mobile phone users not connected to WIFI may close your email before it even loads. So keep your images to 72 dpi and as little memory as possible.

6. Cross-compatibility. Email looks great on Gmail? That’s a start, but you’re not done. Email clients interpret design cues and HTML differently. Every email campaign needs to be checked in Gmail, Apple Mail, Microsoft Outlook, and mobile devices.

7. Email design programs. Some design programs do a decent job of producing HTML-based email-ready campaigns. Others might seemingly look okay but place thousands of unnecessary lines of junk code in your campaign’s HTML that either cause cross-compatibility problems, or worse, exhaust the email client. Gmail, for example, will just stop reading the code if it’s too long and hide the lower part of your campaign design from your recipient’s view. You definitely don’t want that to happen.

8. Be careful what you say. Spam filters are analyzing more than just subject lines. They want to know what you’re emailing about. Terms like Loan, Cash Advance, Money, Get Paid, might make complete sense in your everyday business marketing but spam filters hate these words even if they trust the sender. So limit your usage of them or come up with other terms.

9. Be work-appropriate. They say sex sells, but not here, do not incorporate sexually suggestive phrases or imagery into your campaign.

10. Be legal. Consider that a government regulator could one day get ahold of your email campaigns. Is your campaign truthful? Is what you’re saying and offering legal? If your email isn’t regulator-ready, it’s time to revisit.

11. Allow time for testing, suggestions, and corrections. Always have your campaign fully completed at least two business days in advance of its scheduled delivery. That will allow enough time for testing and to apply changes as needed.

12. Place BIG and obvious calls to action. Your email was perfect and the recipient is ready to communicate with you, but their ever-distracted eye did not see the tiny little text hidden at the bottom that said “email us.” As a result, they closed the email and forgot all about you. Oops!

Every campaign must have a clear actionable.


Some people are too shy to pick up the phone and others don’t have the hand energy to type out an email saying they’re interested without any promise of when they’ll hear back, so include as many actionables as possible and make them as VISIBLE as possible.

Consider that: Some users automatically assume the top image of an email will be actionable. Meaning if they click it, they expect something to happen like the loading of a landing page. Scrolling down requires work and effort so place as many actionables as high up as you can.

13. Landing page. If your actionable is going to direct the recipient to a website, try not to make it your home page. The best way to lose the user is to send them to a generic home page with a navigation they are not familiar with. If possible, create a simple page that uses language similar to your email campaign with a SHORT web form or highly visible listing of your phone # or email address.

14. Smarter. Not more. If you’re not satisfied with the results of your campaign, having more subscribers the next time around may not be the answer to your woes. Review the above the steps and make changes where appropriate and try again. 🙂

Last modified: November 9, 2018

Category: marketing

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