Email marketing is undoubtedly one of the most valuable ways to get in touch with your customers. And it can be extremely effective – but there is a thin line between effective email marketing and spam. It’s easy to think you’re successfully building your customer e-verse by collecting email addresses randomly and arbitrarily, but could you be at risk of becoming a spammer? This article, written by marketing professional Lahle Wolfe, helps explain why businesses need to be extra careful with how they collect addresses for their email campaigns. Wolfe outlines many of the reasons cold emailing and sending unsolicited messages can land you in junk mail folders repeatedly. And once you’ve crossed the line into being spam, your message is lost and so is your customer.
A better way to go about launching your email campaign is to create sign-up forms so your customers can opt in to receiving your messages. This is even better than popular techniques used in certain retail stores: they ask for your email address at the checkout, acting like it’s just part of the process of ringing up your sale, without telling you why exactly they’re asking; next thing you know, your inbox is overloaded with their email flyers and newsletters. With a sign-up form, you are giving your customers the choice, which not only helps your reputation as a business that actually cares about its customers and what they want, but it also gives you a level of control. You can design custom forms and include specific questions that give you more information about your customers. One of the most valuable of these is the ever-popular “How did you hear about us?” Custom sign-up forms can offer a great way to get answers to that question, and therefore ways you can analyze your marketing efforts. Janine Popick, CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, offers a useful list of ways to promote your e-newsletters; basically, not only should you include links to your sign-up form wherever possible, but include incentives for the customer to sign up. Popick goes on to name 29 ways to successfully recruit subscribers to your e-campaigns without being pushy or aggressive.
Follow these tips and steer clear of collecting mass email lists for unsolicited messages. Connect with your customers instead by offering them the choice to hear what you have to say. Your message has meaning; don’t forget this, and your customers won’t forget you – or throw you in a junk mail folder.