Last month my email provider, the increasingly popular and dominant Gmail, warned me they were going to tweak the service, offering a chance to have a peak at their new version. Oh no, I thought, not another new gismo I must adapt to/unlearn/re-learn/spend (waste) time on! Then it was too late and suddenly it opened up as a brighter, bolder, more colourful version of it’s older self. I’m all for clear, intuitive layout and big fonts. The trouble is, these then tend to flush out the grey stuff still in tiny.
First problem: how to get into your contacts. That’s now in the little ‘noughts and crosses’ box top right. Why? On the positive side of the spectrum, you now have a chance to ‘undo’ sending an email, albeit only briefly; a God-send when you’ve accidentally pressed ‘reply all’. I also like separating out the main inbox into a Promotions tab; you can then easily ‘delete all’ or delete page by page.
All of this reminded me of the Best Practice Cheat sheet sent to me by the Dotmailer team https://www.dotmailer.com/ some time ago. As many of us are now self-employed or in the gig economy, it’s worth taking the time to understand how to market our services, ourselves, and how to interact with social media in the best way possible. The list they sent me assumed one was working on a large marketing campaign, and where damage limitation might be needed. I’m picking out the suggestions that I think are most useful to our readers.
First, when sending out emails try to be sure they won’t clash with others you or your competitors are sending; optimise this by time and day/date for your recipients. Make sure the subject line is clear, concise, and correctly spelled; personalise it if you can. Make sure the footer is up to date and that links still work. Make sure the ‘unsubscribe’ box is visible and works. Make sure any permissions are valid.
As for the content, make sure images and other files’ sizes are optimised, that they are tappable and contain correct links. Test it, don’t just trust! Make sure any text has been properly edited and proofed, sent preferably in pdf format. I recently received a US investment bank’s presentation, complete with logo etc., which I could have manipulated any way I wanted and forwarded to whoever. Now you see how ‘fake news’ is so easy to create. If personalising the message, make sure it’s repeated where necessary and that sign-off is equally appropriate.
Once you are happy with it all – walk away and leave it alone for a bit; better still, do something else. Then come back and re-check with clearer, and even more critical, eyes. Send a test run to a friend or colleague, preferably on different devices; get them to test at the point of receipt. You never know how other computers have been configured – and what a hash this can make of your offering. Once ready to send, make sure other members of your team are notified that it’s about to happen, and that reporting on feedback has been assigned clearly.
Fingers crossed it goes well!