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8 Steps to a Better First Impression

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By Hallie Mummert

RISMEDIA, Feb. 2, 2008-(Target Marketing)-Brand and subject lines are key factors in getting your e-mails opened, but so is your recipients’ prior experiences with your e-mail efforts. According to a study conducted last year by Return Path, a New York-based provider of global e-mail deliverability tools and services, 51.2 percent of survey respondents indicated prior value influences their decisions to open e-mail. What’s more, prior value was the only factor to exhibit year-over-year growth.

What this means is the value clock starts ticking with the very first e-mail contact you make. And for many marketers, that’s the welcome e-mail. To ensure your welcome message sets the proper stage for e-mails to come, check out these eight best practices offered by Margaret Farmakis, Return Path’s director of strategic services, in her whitepaper A Welcome Message Study: Marketers Are Missing Opportunities to Pave the Road to Relevancy.

1. Send your welcome message within 24 hours to people who sign up for your e-mail program.

2. Provide a link to your preference center so subscribers can manage their subscriptions.

3. Include a welcome offer or other incentive to make a purchase; be creative about incorporating this offer into the subject line without making it too long to display in subscribers’ inboxes.

4. Provide subscribers with information on the types of content they can expect to receive from you and how frequently.

5. Include white listing instructions so subscribers can keep your e-mails out of their junk folders.

6. Although welcome messages likely are considered transactional under the CAN-SPAM Act, it’s still smart to include an opt-out link in case people change their minds about subscribing.

7. Try to personalize the content for maximum relevancy and subscriber retention.

8. Tell subscribers how you intend to use their e-mail addresses or provide a link to your privacy policy.

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