10 Simple Ways To Improve Your Mailing List Etiquette

By Frederique Bros
on 27 May 2015

Generally, a healthy mailing list unsubscribe rate is less than 0.5%. If yours is higher than this, or you just want to take proactive steps to make the best of your email marketing campaign, here are 10 simple ways to improve your mailing list etiquette – and maximize effectiveness, while you’re at it.

1. Think Before You Send It

Think about what you’re sending before you send it — if it belongs in a private email or makes more sense to send to an individual, you shouldn’t send it through a mailing list.

Also check the recipient of the email before you send it.

2. Don’t Add Unwilling Recipients

Nobody wants to be on a mailing list you didn’t request, so just don’t do it. If you do add someone accidentally, or if recipients eventually want to be removed, don’t make it difficult for them. If you can do it yourself, do it immediately. If you use a mailing list client, give clear instructions on how recipients can remove themselves (update your preferences – or unsubscribe at the email’s bottom)

People already receive enough emails willingly. A mailing list shouldn’t feel like a punishment!

3. Timing Is Everything

Send emails in the morning, when people are first opening their inboxes — between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. — and when they check their email again after eating dinner, but before they go to bed — between 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. According to reports, Tuesday and Saturday both have high open rates.

4. Be Consistent

It’s a bad idea to become known as an extremely persistent mailing list, because too many emails can desensitize or annoy recipients, and therefore hurt open rates. Commit to sending emails either weekly or bi-weekly, and then everyone on the mailing list knows when to expect messages.

5. Use A Brief Subject Line

Think of your subject line as an elevator pitch — it should be brief and capture attention so your audience will want to find out more.

6. Know The Appropriate Message Length

Too long and you’ll lose interest, too short and your email could seem pointless. Sending a consistent number of emails will help with this, as too many emails corresponds with fewer updates in each one, but a good rule is to observe how many paragraphs your email contains. Readers lose interest when they initially see too much text. Essential information should be included at the beginning, where people are less likely to start skimming.

7. Organize Dense Text

Have a lot of updates? Use bullet points in order to direct readers’ eyes to a list. Breaking up text will be easier on the eye, and it’ll be less taxing to read the entire email.

8. Avoid Excessive Stylizing

Using bold or italic text for headings or to highlight important information, such as deadlines and meeting locations, is a good idea. Highlighting entire paragraphs is not. The same applies to brightly colored text, especially on non-white backgrounds, and non-standard fonts that are hard to read.

9. Say No To All Caps

While not everyone associates all caps with yelling, it isn’t necessary in an email when you could achieve the same effect with bold or italic text. Shut down the urge when you have it, no matter how important something is.

10. Consider Context As Well As Audience

Assume the people on your mailing list don’t read all the emails you send, and that there may be people who don’t know what you’re talking about. If you’re bringing up a previously discussed topic, summarize that topic in one sentence for those who missed it before.

You should also offer to bring individuals up to speed in a separate conversation.

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