One of the toughest things about email marketing is dealing with the pace of change. Almost as soon as you know a principle, it changes. New technology upsets the rules. A quirky new release of a Microsoft product undermines what made sense yesterday.
The Campaign Monitor blog helps us deal with change by releasing new guidelines: 2008 Email Design Guidelines. Here are some of the new guidelines:
- Don't waste your readers' time — An email inbox is a busy place, you won't get much attention.
- Permission matters — Not only do you need to have permission to email people, but it helps to remind them of how they gave you permission, as specifically as you can.
- Relevance trumps permission — Just having permission is not enough, the content you are sending must also be relevant.
- Make unsubscribing easy — There's no point emailing people who are not interested.
- Image blocking is common — You can't rely on people actually seeing your images.
- Meet your legal obligations — For example, CAN-SPAM for US senders.
- Test, test, test — It's the only way to be confident about your design working.
Thanks to BeRelevant! for the tip.