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March 28, 2011

101: Email Newsletters

The email newsletter is still relevant. Even though social networking is all the rage, email newsletters are one of the best ways to link to customers. But there are some simple dos and don’ts when it comes to email marketing. Here are some ways to make sure you don’t end up “unsubscribed” by your email recipients.

Make them an offer they can’t refuse. Tell subscribers what benefits they can expect, such as exclusive discounts or insider tips. But it should be related to what you do.

“You shouldn’t raffle off an iPad, because the people who sign up will probably only care about the iPad, not your company,” says Gail Goodman, CEO of Constant Contact, a Waltham–based company that makes email marketing software.

Respect the reader. We all get a lot of emails. If your email doesn’t provide real value to its recipients, it’s just going to end up in the junk folder. When you work on content for the email, be sure to keep the recipient in mind, says Matthew Patterson in an article at

“Get to the point quickly, instead of burying the value under a mountain of greetings and headers and hilarious photos,” Patterson writes. “Figure out why someone would want your email, and then tell them what that is right away.”

Be careful about word choice. It’s easy to get carried away when you’re writing the copy for your email newsletter. To make sure your email doesn’t end up getting bounced, be sure to choose your words wisely, says Jessica Albon at

“Steer clear of subject lines that scream SPAM! Words like ‘free,’ ‘limited time,’ and ‘money’ often trigger spam filters,” she explains. “Take a look at the spam in your own inbox for examples of words not to use.”

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