Don’t Look Spammy
● Avoid Spam Trigger words.
○ These can be surprising…
● Don’t use lots of exclamation points!!! I mean it!!
● Don’t use ALL CAPITALS.
● Balance your text-to-image ratio. (More on this
● Send a test email to a spam checker, like mailtester.com
Don’t Look Spammy
● Don’t paste content from Word.
● Do Not Paste Content from Word.
● DO NOT PASTE CONTENT FROM WORD!
● Word’s formatting is not good HTML. This can
mess up your template AND possibly lead you to
be flagged as spam.
Subject lines are to emails what envelopes are to
direct mail pieces.
● Good subject lines are:
Clarifying Your Subject Line
If the reader can’t tell what they’re going to get
from reading your email, why would they spend
their time reading it?
Example: A Word from People for Puppies
Better: 10 Ways You Can Save Puppies
Keeping Your Subject Brief
50 characters is plenty, for most audiences.
Example: 10 Ways You Can Save Puppies from the
Plight of Parvovirus
Better: 10 Ways You Can Save Puppies from Parvo
Interesting Subject Lines
Useful & Specific
Urgent (but only when it really is!)
Example: Save Puppies from Parvo
Better: Rescue 10 Puppies from Parvo This Month
Better: Rescue 10 Puppies from Parvo in 5 minutes
More on Interesting Subject Lines
These items can be used with good results:
● Questions - What Do Puppies Need Most?
● Numbers - 5 Breeds Most in Danger from Parvo
● Violating Expectations - No Such Thing as a
Be careful - when in doubt, stick to clear and
concise over clever and obscure.
Subject Line Don’ts
● ALL CAPITALS
● Exclamation points!!!
● Words like “Free”, “Help”, “Percent Off”, and
● Using the same subject over and over
○ Instead of “November eNews”, think along the lines
of “What are Puppies Thankful for this November?”
● Use a work-related address
● Consistent, Known Sender Name
○ Include the org name first (e.g. People for Puppies,
○ Be consistent on who is sending what type of
messages to build familiarity with recipients
● Don’t use a “no reply” email address
When You Send It
● Consider both Time and Day of the Week
● It can vary depending on your audience and
your email’s contents.
● Research indicates:
○ Afternoon is better (get people on their lunch break!)
○ Weekdays perform better than weekends
Getting people to read what you wrote is
not always the most important thing…
...as long as they get your message
and take the desired action.
More on this later.
Use the Right Amount of Text
● Less is More!
○ 750 words max.
○ Put in a snippet that links to full article on your
site, like this email.
● Avoid large blocks of text. Break things up with
images and headings.
Use Images Correctly
● Never, ever, ever create an email that is one
● Set Image Description.
● Use smaller image files.
○ Jpeg Mini
○ Radical Image Optimization Tool (RIOT)
○ Smush.it or Kraken
● No more than 25% of your email should be
Make it Purty
● Would you want to read these emails? Would
you take them seriously if you did?
● Think of the colors and fonts in your email like
putting together an outfit:
○ Pick ones that look good together.
○ Don’t have too much going on, or its distracting.
● Lots of bright colors together can be garish, as
can too many colors.
● Matching your organization’s brand.
○ ColorZilla plugin
○ Or, upload a screenshot to Image Color
● Use a color visualization tool like Color Scheme
Designer or Color Hexa
● Best to stick with fewer fonts - 2 max, one for
headings and one for text, works well.
● Aim for readability
○ Sans-serif fonts for body text (Arial, Tahoma,
○ Serif fonts for headings (Georgia, Palatino, Times
○ Dark font on light background
○ 10 point (13px) minimum (Pixel to Point Converter)
Provide Good Content
● We could spend a whole hour (or several) on
this! (And if there’s interest, we will!)
● Suffice it to say, if what you write isn’t
relevant or interesting to your recipients, it
will not get read.
Is reading the email enough?
● Sometimes, yes. If your goal is awareness or
cultivation, then a reader opening the email and
reading it is enough.
● But...how do you know they read it?
● Give them something to DO as a result - give
Using Links Well
● Link to related content on your site.
● Link to your donation page (yes, even in a
● The links should make sense and be useful don’t put random links in just to have some.
● Make them stand out from the other content.
Bold, underline, a different color.
Don’t use the same formatting elsewhere.
Avoid underlining non-link text.
Blur your eyes - can you still locate the links?
● Don’t use generic phrases like “Click Here”. Link
to text that indicates what the reader will get
from the link.
○ Bad: Click here for info on Parvo virus…
○ Good: Parvo virus can be deadly for...
● Make the link text just a few words - 2-5 max.
● Set a Title on your links!
● Make sure the link goes to where it should go,
and the page is not broken!
● Link tracking occurs automatically in
● Check to see which links get clicked - that can
drive what links you use in the future.