Saturday, July 11, 2009

July 11th "Autoresponders in Your World" Series, Part 9.

Professional Autoresponder Formatting Just Makes Sense!

In their excitement to create winning autoresponder sequences, budding e-mail marketers are often careless about their letter formatting. Contrary to what you may hear, offline written communication still holds useful lessons for Internet marketers committed to doing their own thing. Amongst the most important is to format your correspondence professionally, especially with regards to autoresponder e-mails.

The easiest and perhaps most important rule to follow is compliance with a standard line length, normally sixty-five characters, for your e-mails. All too often, marketers are not sensitive to how their readers must strain themselves when facing “broken” emails: ten words on one line, followed by a two-word line, then two blank lines and more variations right up to the end.

It’s enough to make you scream…

Are these the type of emails you want to look at on a regular basis? What impression does a poorly formatted autoresponder make on subscribers? Chances are that if they have not already unsubscribed to your newsletter, they will simply ignore your presence in the Inbox.

As with other aspects of autoresponder use, you are best served by reading your service’s text handling instructions. Do you need a “hard break” or carriage return at the end of lines, or is the editor preset for wrap-around? How about plain text versus HTML format? Does copy pasting a Word file causes special difficulties? Different autoresponders will recommend slightly different tactics to handle formatting issues. However, common best practices should be clearly stated in each service’s knowledge database.

Once you figure out how to maintain a sixty-five character line in an e-mail, test it out to ensure that your autoresponder appears as it should. It is good practice to first send messages to yourself before your list subscribers, so that you can verify the delivery format. Maintaining an account (e-mail address) with the major Internet Service Providers (ISP) enables you to test multiple paths with confidence.

Standing out from your e-mail competition is beneficial in most respects. In fact, incorporating click-through videos and other audio-visual gadgets makes individuality increasingly possible these days. However, when it comes to marketing basics, let your well formatted words do the talking. Present yourself to subscribers clearly and in a non-threatening manner with a message to die for.

Rahul Majumdar is an Information Marketer specializing in article marketing, list-building, and digital product creation. Sign up for more of his insights here.

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