The ABC’s of Email Marketing:


We’ve outlined the ABCs of email marketing below to help you get the most of your next campaign.  

A is for alt text, which you use to identify images in HTML messages. Subscribers who block images by default will see a description of the image instead. Tip: Add your call to action to the image to encourage readers to click through or enable images.

B is for Bounces, another term for emails that don’t get delivered. Hard bounces are permanent failures of emails with invalid email addresses. Soft bounces are temporary failures, such full mailboxes.

C is for Changing Addresses, which subscribers do regularly (20% to 30% of your database every year) and usually without telling you. Keep track of unresponsive addresses to identify those that are ready for reactivation.

D is for Deliverability, which measures how many of the emails you send actually get delivered to the inbox.

E is for Engagement, meaning how invested and involved your subscribers are with your messages. Do they open and click on them more often than not? Do they retrieve your emails from their bulk folder or forward them to others?

F is for From Name, also called the sender name. It tells your email recipients who sent an email. For best results use a name your recipients will recognize and trust immediately (not an email address or personal name).

G is for Geolocation (location and time zone), which you can collect at opt-in and then use to segment emails for greater relevance.

H is for Header, the lines of code at the top of the email, which the email client usually conceals. These contain technical or identifying information about the sender, servers, recipient mailbox, authentication, etc.

I is for Inactivity, usually the length of time since an email recipient has opened or acted on your emails. Having too many inactive email addresses wastes money and holds back your email program’s performance.

J is for Junk Folder, also known as the bulk folder or spam folder. Having a good sender reputation, which includes regular list hygiene, is essential to getting your emails delivered to the inbox instead of the junk folder, which most email recipients rarely check.

K is for Knowledge, especially email knowledge. Where do you find it? Many email vendors, including FreshAddress, maintain extensive libraries of helpful information. The more you know, the better email marketer you’ll be.

L is for List Hygiene, an umbrella term covering all aspects of maintaining the health of your email list. It includes email validation to prevent invalid addresses, Email Change of Address (ECOA) and regular monitoring for inactivity.

M is for Mobile, which is rapidly becoming the first screen for viewing email. Email messages viewed on mobile screens should be as easy to view and act on as they are on big screens. Streamlining navigation, boosting font size and moving from text links to buttons will boost both mobile and desktop email experiences.

N is for Navigation, which is how email readers move through and find key locations in your email message.

O is for Overlay, a method of collecting email addresses that super-imposes an opt-in invitation and address field on a web page. It’s more attention-getting than a fixed-location invitation and isn’t subject to pop-up blocking because it originates from your own website instead of a third-party site.

P is for Permission, which every email-marketing program needs for maximum performance. Email marketers can ask permission in many places beyond the website: in a transactional email, on a mobile app, in Twitter and Facebook posts, in print (on register receipts, in bag stuffers or store signs) and in store locations (at the register or a kiosk).

Q is for Quality Control. Build in time in your workflow to perfect your email before launching. Check spelling (don’t rely on your spellchecker); verify copy and images; click links to make sure they work and go to the right landing pages, and view the message on different screen sizes.

R is for Reactivation, the process of waking up inactive or not responding email addresses. Subscribers go quiet for many reasons. They abandon addresses, delete your emails without opening them or never see them because they go to the junk folder. ECOA can help you catch up with your address abandoners.

S is for Snippet, also called a Preheader. It’s the first line of text in your email message body. Many email clients pull this text into the inbox, making it one of three information sources about your email that help recipients decide whether to open your emails. So, add information specific to the email, like a call to action, instead of standard copy like viewing a mobile version.

T is for Transactional Email, which launch in response to a customer action such as a purchase, a subscription, download or account creation. Customers love them because they’re highly relevant and reassuring.

U is for Unsubscribe, which doesn’t have to be the end of the line for contact with those subscribers. Give them the option to opt down for fewer emails, to switch to different message streams or connect with you in other channels, like social media or print.

V is for Validation of email addresses before they get added to your database. Set up an API integration with an email validation service like SafeToSend® that detects misspellings and malformed addresses and prompts the subscriber to correct them before accepting the address.

W is for Welcome Program, which can be a single message sent to confirmed addresses but is more effective as a series of emails to warm up new subscribers, prompt them to check out your website and, ultimately, to reduce inactivity.

X is for X-header: code placed in the email header that gives information you can tie to behavior and use to improve your email performance, such as list source or segment, campaign ID or subscriber ID. Example: X-AMAZON-METADATA: CU=A2TT6MTOUX5BOO

Y is for “You”, as in, it’s not all about you! Remember, the purpose of email marketing is to create value for the recipient by educating them and solving their problems, not just blathering on about yourself.

Z is for Zombie Email Address. These abandoned, but active addresses just don’t seem to die. They  wreak havoc on your email marketing ROI by skewing your campaign metrics, damaging your sender reputation, and increasing your odds of hitting spamtraps. The solution: Utilize a list hygiene service to cleanse your database of deliverable but damaging email addresses and leverage ECOA to update bouncing addresses with active, engaged ones.

Email Validation Whitepaper

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