Whether you’re already an active email marketer or just starting to think about using email to market to prospects and customers, there are many things to take into consideration so that you don’t end up spamming your list. Here are a few tips to increase your email marketing success:
Start by asking permission.
This is so important whether you’re just starting email marketing or you’re adding someone new to your list: start by asking if you may include them on your list and let them know what you’ll be emailing about and how often. This will ensure that you’re starting from a place of CAN-SPAM compliance by getting permission. And, instead of suddenly receiving emails from you without warning, your recipients will have been given the option to receive them.
Ask to be added to your subscriber’s address book or safe list.
Reminding them to add you to their address book helps make sure that your emails land in the inbox instead of the dreaded junk mail folder.
Set the tone at the beginning of the relationship.
Sending a confirmation email automatically to new subscribers helps the email relationship start on a positive note. You can also go beyond that first email by setting up a series of emails that offer a set of best-of newsletter articles or an email-exclusive offer just for newcomers.
-> Read Ideas for using Automated Emails
Set frequency and content expectations.
Be sure to also set your subscribers’ expectations from the start by letting them know how often to expect emails from you and what kind of content they will include. Emails that do not meet subscriber expectations in terms of content and/or frequency can quickly trigger subscriber dissatisfaction and then opt-outs. Did you promise valuable, informational content, but continue to send only product pitches? Did you promise a monthly newsletter, but send weekly promotions? A recent study shows that 65% of men and 56% of women define SPAM as “email from a company that I have done business with that comes too often.” Yikes!
Send relevant and valuable emails.
Your audience is expecting your email to provide them with relevant content – what they expected when they first subscribed or accepted your invitation to receive your emails. Every email should include something of value to the recipient. Remember that something of value to you (like making the sale) may not be valuable to your subscribers. The age of email blasting is over. Begin capturing data on your subscribers via surveys or during sign-up. Over time you will be able to send even more relevant content, which lessens the chance that your email will be interpreted as SPAM.
Avoid ‘spammy’ words and phrases.
Systematically scanning email subject lines and body content (also called content filtering) is the most widely used filtering method among ISPs. Avoid overly promotional words and phrases, multiple exclamation points, all capital letters and other text often used by spammers.
Segmentation and personalization.
Your emails are competing for attention with an increasing number of messages in your subscribers’ inboxes. The emails that resonate most, through personalized subject lines, special offers, articles, products showcased and follow-up emails based on recipient activity, will be the ones that are opened. It is important to begin this process, even if it is simply adding first name personalization, or going a bit further and personalizing the content of the subject line or sending modified emails to several different segments of your list. Once you’re consistently gathering your subscribers’ first names as well as all other contact information that is useful for your business, it’s easy to take the next step and begin segmenting your list according products previously purchased or links clicked through for more information.
-> Read more about Personalization
Focus on metrics that matter.
Industry averages can give you a general sense of where you fall, but the most applicable numbers are the ones you generate – after all, your metrics are as specific as they get, and they’re your best way to see how you’re doing over time. They’re segmented according to your industry, your audience, your content and your frequency. What numbers matter most to you? How many e-mails were sent? Open rate? Click rate? Think long and hard about what metric really matters – then focus on it like crazy to improve results!
Promptly remove unsubscribers and respond to comments.
You are responsible for promptly handling any unsubscribe requests as well as changes to your subscribers’ email address and email preferences. Some of your recipients may reply to an email with a request to be removed from your list or ask you to update their email address. As a responsible email marketer, you need to respond promptly and always be sure to send your emails from a valid email address so you receive those requests.