We recently tweeted an article by a company who redesigned their ticketing site and realised a shopping cart wasn’t a necessary part of the solution. E-commerce without a cart – what twilight zone is this?! Shopping carts have become so ingrained as “e-commerce” we take for granted that they will be present. We assume.

Which got us thinking. Email marketing has been around for a while now, almost 20 years (to be generous). Sure ESPs have changed, and we can do fancier things now like send animations, but the nuts and bolts are still largely the same (the big exception being mobile – however this shift has still mostly resulted in existing emails being tweaked to work on a smartphone).

So like the shopping cart in e-commerce, what are some assumptions we make about what an email needs to have, and are they legitimate?

1. Unsubscribe should be at the bottom, hidden in the footer

It’s scary, but ESPs are making it easy for their clients to unsubscribe Outlook has a default unsubscribe link (still in the footer), and Gmail followed suit with one up at the top. A few year back, I attended a marketing talk where the speaker argued for the unsubscribe link to be up at the top. The logic being something like “if they want to go, let them go!”.

If inactive subscribers are an issue, then this might be a worthwhile experiment.

2. Newsletters must have images

As we outlined in this post, they don’t. It’s your email newsletter, no one is the boss of you (except your actual boss…).

Do something different now and then to keep your subscribers on their toes.

3. The send must be from the company

More and more brands are experimenting with sends from founders or other prominent figures.

Sends coming from a person (“Greg”) rather than a brand (“Pepsi”) lends a nice feeling of one to one communication to campaigns. However, we still recommend AB testing in this area. Best case scenario: people appreciate being spoken to by a person rather than a corporation. Worst case, they don’t know this new sender “Greg” is and ignore (or block) the sends.

Tread carefully, but try to keep an open mind when it comes to send names.

4. Bulk sends should be from a “no reply” address

Again, we’ve written about this. Emails do not have to (and should not) be one way. Be open to responses. Indeed, promote replies!

See what you get (and if it’s a load of profanity, well, you gave it a shot!).

These are just some suggestions, but keep the sentiment in mind next time you’re developing a campaign. What needs to be there? What adds value?