Based on the email landing in my inbox, it appears it is time for this little reminder about Email Marketing Etiquette.
Just the Basics
Most sole proprietors and small business owners I work with struggle with the proper use of email for business marketing. When it comes to email marketing, the last thing we want to do is discourage subscribers, cause unsubscribes, or worse — get reported for spamming!
What to Do, What Works, What Doesn’t
Each business has different goals, business models, and methodology that can and should be reflected in its email marketing efforts. Therefore, a great deal of time and testing must be done to determine what will work for your specific brand, market, or niche. But there are some basics that you can use to guide your strategy and ensure a positive marketing ROI.
- Always get permission! It’s the law. I discuss this in more detail in my article: CAN-SPAM and Your Business Email Marketing. If an interested party emails for information on your product or service, that is NOT tacit permission to add them to your list. Add a checkbox on your forms – that is NOT checked by default — asking if they want to be added to your newsletter list. Then respect that choice.
- Have at least two lists. One for folks to receive your new blog posts notices via email and one for your newsletter. Believe it or not, some folks will only want one or the other. You may even want to segment your newsletter list further, which allows you to laser focus your message to those who have indicated an interest in particular topics only.
Be Personal & Efficient
- Avoid impersonal reply addresses like [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] without a real person’s name for your newsletters. Instead, always use your name (or the person responsible for managing inquiries) and their address. That’s how you make a connection!
- Use a service to handle all the subscribe/unsubscribe, formatting, cross-platform and mobile display issues for you. You create the text; they control the design. MailChimp.com is just one of several easy-to-use marketing automation services. These services will make sure you are CAN-SPAM compliant as well.
- Spellcheck, then read out loud! Rinse and repeat. Nothing can dent your brand’s professional image like typos and grammatical errors.
Test & Tune
- Send a test email before publishing the campaign to be sent to your list. When the test arrives, click on all the links within to ensure they are operational and not 404s (not found).
- Be very wary of email lists or databases that are available for purchase. You do not know the integrity of those lists or how they were accumulated. Work instead on building your list organically through your website contact/subscribe form(s).
- Do not wear out your welcome. Email subscribers on a clearly stated schedule (once a week or month) and only when you have something of value to share. Don’t get in the habit of emailing only when you have something to sell. Mix it up with helpful information! Send too many emails or be too sales pitchy, and you risk becoming annoying and having subscribers jumping for that unsub link.
So as you can see the above tips are pretty easy and common sense. By following the above basics, you can grow your list to valued and repeat customers!