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It's a Tip, Not a Commandment

April 21, 2010  

Just because something is currently labeled a best-practice doesn't mean it's written in stone, says DJ Waldow in an article at MarketingProfs. "[W]e can find and spit back best-practices for most email-marketing-related questions; however, I nearly always find marketers who 'break the rules' with tremendous success," he explains.

Here are a couple of commonly held best-practices, and the reason they might not be the best thing for your campaigns, according to Waldow:

"Don't use ALL CAPS in your subject line." Overstock.com breaks this rule on a consistent basis, and for a good reason: It works for the company's audience. "I had the chance to meet a member of the Overstock email-marketing team," reports Waldow, "and he informed me that they have done (and continue to do) extensive subject-line testing." Contrary to conventional wisdom, those emails that use all capital letters significantly outperform those that do not, he says.


"Don't use one large image, especially if there isn't alt text." Despite the omnipresence of image blocking, Apple's email messages unapologetically defy these edicts. "So, what gives?" asks Waldow. "How does Apple get away with that?" In a conversation with the men responsible for the company's email marketing campaign, he discovered some tweaks were planned, but that the campaigns worked because customers' high level of trust of Apple emails meant subscribers were more likely to auto-enable images.

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