News and tips from the industry leaders in email compliance.

When implemented properly, email advertising has the potential to be one of the most potent marketing forces available to an organization. When used improperly, however, it can become a burden, or worse. Aside from the risk of violating email compliance standards, such as the CAN-SPAM Act, a poor email marketing campaign will waste a company’s valuable time and resources.

That is why it is essential for all email marketers to follow best practices to maximize their effectiveness. And, as several experts recently highlighted, three of those best practices are creating useful content, carefully managing lists and avoiding spam filters.

1. Useful content

If the emails a company sends out do not have useful or entertaining content, that organization’s email advertising efforts will almost certainly fall short. This point was recently reinforced by AGBeat’s Matthew Collis, who argued that a reader who is bored by the first line of an email message is unlikely to read beyond that point. Instead, he or she will probably delete the email or, even more damaging, flag the message as spam.

To avoid this fate, Collis recommends that email marketers think of themselves as industry experts, rather than salespeople. Instead of pitching a product, they should offer useful advice. By doing so, they will earn readers’ attention, and this may lead organically to greater results.

Management consultant Ken Lizotte agrees. Writing for Business Review USA, Lizotte recently argued that useful content, such as information on upcoming events or teleconferences, is much more appealing than straightforward advertising.

2. List management

Collis went on to claim that another key to successful email marketing is list management. Specifically, he wrote that advertisers should not send messages to anyone who has not indicated that she or he wants to receive emails from that organization. If you send emails to unwilling recipients, he argued, those individuals will mark the messages as spam. This can quickly earn the company a reputation as a junk mail sender, which can do significant damage.

3. Avoiding spam filters

To a large degree, this is where the damage of a bad reputation can take effect. If an IP address is affiliated with spam, email clients will begin to automatically filter out its messages.

Additionally, both Collis and Lizotte pointed out that certain words and phrases are seen as spam signals to email clients. For example, overusing exclamation points, the word “free” or caps lock can send messages, even legitimate ones, to spam folders.

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