E-mails are generally more effective when you make them as concise as possible. Consumers who want to receive lengthy e-mail messages frequently are the exception rather than the rule. There is no such thing as the perfect e-mail message length that works best for everyone and every format. Frequency and length depend on your audience and the value of your content. Until you become familiar enough with your audience to know how much content they will tolerate in each e-mail, adopt a less-is-more mentality. As a general rule, the longer the content, the less frequently your audience will tolerategetting your e-mails.
Although your audience will ultimately tell you when your messages are too long by unsubscribing or opening your e-mails less frequently, you can reduce the size of your individual e-mails and correctly match your frequency with your length by doing the following:
- Break your content into parts and send a series of e-mails. Be sure to include links to all your content so interested readers don’t feellike they’re being deprived.
- Use images to describe the value of your products or services. Images can replace long passages of text. For more information aboutproper image use.Using too many images or using large image files might make your e-maildownload more slowly, and attaching images to your e-mails directlydegrades your deliverability.
- Use white space and design elements. You make your e-mails easier to scan and consumers can quickly find the information they value.
Figuring out how often to call for action
When your e-mails are always asking your audience for some type of action, chances are that the majority of your audience isn’t ready for action with every frequency you choose. Calling for action is a balance: Some calls to action wear off if you send them too often, and others won’t work unless you repeat them often enough.
You can call your audience to action with frequency:
- Design your e-mail templates for action. Create an e-mail template exclusively for urgent messages while maintaining a look that is consistent with your brand. Then, reserve that template for only the most urgent messages you need to send. For example, you might use your urgent template for 4 of 12 monthly promotional messages.
- Match your calls to action with your audience’s preferences. Because different people take action for different reasons, you can change your calls to action to match the reasons why different people in your audience take action. For example, a golf and tennis shop might want to divide an e-mail list by golfers and tennis players so that they can send an invitation to a half-off sale that includes a free gift for walking in to the store. The e-mail sent to the golf list offers a free sleeve of golf balls, and the e-mail sent to the tennis list offers a free can of tennis balls.
- Match the timing of your calls to action with your audience’s behavior. Calling for action precisely when your audience is ready to take action is likely to result in the best response to your call. Because you can’t tell exactly when your audience is ready to take action on every call to action, keep track of the types of behavior your audience exhibits to help you determine when you need to call for action and when you should send other types of messages. For example, an auto mechanic might keep track of customers who recently purchased new tires so they can receive morefrequent offers for alignments or tire rotations.
Choosing the best day and time for delivery
Your audience is more likely to respond positively to your e-mails if you send them when folks are most likely to have time to read and take action on them. For example, if a large percentage of your e-mail list contains people’s work e-mail addresses, you might want to avoid sending your e-mails early on Monday mornings when the people on your list are likely to walk into a full inbox and prioritize your e-mail to the bottom of their list. You can determine the best days and times to send your e-mails when you do the following:
1. Test for the best day. Divide your list into equal parts and send the same e-mail on different days to determine which day receives the best response. For example, if you have 1,000 e-mail addresses, you can send 200 on each day of the week. Whichever day receives the best response can be your sending day going forward.
2. Test for the best time of day. After you test for the best day, you can then test for the best time of day. Divide your list and send the same e-mail at different times on the same day.
3. Set up a master calendar for each list.
If you send more than one e-mail format, use a spreadsheet or a calendar so you can view your e-mails by frequency and format. Planning allows you to visualize your e-mail frequency and make adjustments so you don’t inadvertently send too many e-mails too close together and overwhelm your audience. You can also use a calendarto help determine when to send e-mails that come up at the last minute.
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1. GSM: Global Systems for Mobile
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