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You Can be an Email Marketing Supergenius #211

#2.11: The “Design Flaw” Issue

Great content only goes so far. Don’t wreck a solid newsletter by making elementary design mistakes.
1> Obscured Background
2> Off-the-Page Printing
3> Over-the-Top Advertising

1> Obscured Background

Something as simple as a colored background can be a design faux pas. A colored background makes it impossible for readers to write a message to a friend when forwarding. Don’t let your design department ruin your viral marketing attempts.

2> Off-the-Page Printing

Contrary to popular belief, paper still exists — and many subscribers will print out your emails to read them. Test every message to make sure that it’s printer friendly. Complex images will come out muddy, and super-wide messages will be cut off on the right side. Keep your primary text to 600 pixels wide, on a plain background.

3> Over-the-Top Advertising

Whatever you do, don’t put an ad for another company at the top of your message. Hurried subscribers will see the banner ad first, and the advertiser’s logo instead of yours. Often, they won’t recognize your newsletter and they’ll think that the advertiser spammed them. Keep your branding and logo front and center.

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You Can be an Email Marketing Supergenius #204

#2.04: The “Customer is Always Right” Issue

Give customers more control over their subscriptions, and you’ll keep them reading and keep them buying.
1> Let Them Choose Titles
2> Let Them Choose Timing
3> Let Them Change Their Minds

1> Let Them Choose Titles

Offer more (shorter) newsletters on many topics instead of one general-purpose email. Customers will select the topics that interest them most, self-segmenting into nice, targetable groups. They will stay on these lists longer and respond more often because you can provide more specific, relevant offers. You also get to mail more frequently without being annoying. Readers will choose a mix of titles until they get the perfect quantity.

2> Let Them Choose Timing

Let your readers decide how often they want to receive emails. Give them the option on your sign-up form to choose if they want your email daily, weekly, or monthly. Deflect unsubscribes by putting the same choices on the unsubscribe page. Ask if they really want to unsubscribe or just get mail less often. You’ll be amazed at how many almost-unsubscribes remain happy readers.

3> Let Them Change Their Minds

Create a clear, easy-to-use page that lets readers adjust their settings. Let them change their email, text/HTML, frequency, name, and subscriptions. Keep it simple. If you don’t, readers will unsubscribe in annoyance, or they’ll re-subscribe with a new email, leaving bad, old data in your list. If you do, you get happy readers who stick with you.

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