4. Don't ignore your bounces
Today's Internet service providers (ISPs) are demanding, and one area of focus is undeliverable e-mail coming from individual marketers. If you exceed their standards for undeliverable, or bounced, messages, they may flag you as a spammer, and your mail may be blocked. There's some good news on this front. E-mail marketing and online advertising firm DoubleClick has done an excellent job at monitoring quarterly trends and publishing the results on its site. The firm's latest report shows bounce rates across its client base have declined to 11.5 percent. But that's still high!
Establish thresholds for re-mailing both hard and soft bounces, and retire e-mail addresses after threshold limits are exceeded.
5. Don't capture several pages of data during registration
Direct marketers are data junkies, and it's tempting to want to know everything possible about online registrants. Have you ever been intrigued by an offer, yet abandoned the sign-up process when you were asked too many questions?
Short registration forms work, and you can still ask qualifying questions. Make it easy to complete, and don't ask for information you're not going to use. An important metric to examine is the abandonment rate for your sign-up forms.
6. Don't design an e-mail program without looking at the Web site.
In many companies, the responsibility for e-mail marketing resides in one department and Web site design in another. An e-mail recipient may click on a beautifully crafted e-mail and be brought to a landing page or microsite that has a totally different look and feel.
Remember the best user experience is a seamless one. Your e-mails should be consistent with your site.
7. Don't select rental e-mail lists based on price
There are inexpensive cost-per-action (CPA) lists available. Marketers pay only for those recipients who meet performance criteria set in advance: clicks, registrations or purchases. This sounds like a great deal: You control your marketing costs, and pay only if someone responds. Be wary! Many CPA lists simply blast all names on the list rather than use selection criteria. Also, the level of permission may be suspect. Use these lists and you run the risk of being labeled a spammer.