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November 19, 2013
Holiday Email Marketing Dos and Don'ts
 
We all know that one of the biggest drivers of online and offline sales is email. The message shoppers receive in their inbox is often a welcome prompt to make a purchase.
 
But this isn’t always the case. The following are some recommendations to follow for your email marketing program to stay off Santa’s naughty list during the holiday marketing season:
 
1. Don’t spam people. If the list of addresses in your possession didn’t opt into your program specifically, you’ll be a spammer when you send them an email. Don’t be that guy. Nobody likes spammers. Trust me, nobody will care what you have to say if they didn’t ask to receive your emails.
2. No two addresses are always equal. The one-size-fits-all, batch-and-blast mentality rarely ever yields the results you’ll be hoping for. Segment your audience and send tailored messages based upon past online or offline behavior. A personalized approach is the way to go.
3. Do not send one big image. Here’s why: ____. You didn’t see the reason? Maybe you didn’t download images. Not everyone does.
4. Don’t send a mobile-friendly email that leads to a non-mobile-friendly web page. You want to make the experience consistent and positive for the recipient. Nobody wants to get excited to make a purchase from an email that functioned great on their phone only to be frustrated when the website has microscopic action buttons and even smaller type. You need to be ready every step of the way for the shop-from-anywhere mobile crowd.
5. Test, test, test. Make sure the email renders well across a variety of platforms. Make use of Email on Acid or Litmus for this task.
6. Links: don’t forget to add and test them. 
7. Let Santa’s belly be the only thing that’s overstuffed this holiday season. Don’t cram everything you could say into an email. Beyond one point or call to action, you risk confusing readers.
 
This list could go on, but I want to hear from you. What other email marketing no-nos would you like to add?

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Sandi Solow has over 15 years of professional experience in marketing, web content development, and media relations. Before focusing on email, Solow worked in marketing for a Big Four consulting firm and as a web content producer for CNN.com and CNNSI.com. She is a past member of the Board of Directors for the Atlanta Interactive Marketing Association (AiMA). Check out her blog at isendyouremail.com/blog. Connect on linkedin.com/in/sandisolow and Twitter @sandisolow.
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