The popularity of email marketing as an effective online tool for businesses, organizations, associations and other groups to directly communicate with mass numbers of people continues to grow. One popular question we answer frequently is “how do I email my customers without spamming them?”
“Permission email marketing” describes the practice of regularly sending email messages to people, a.k.a subscribers, who request relevant messages from you to be delivered to their inboxes. This marketing method is the opposite of spamming, which is defined as the unscrupulous activity of blasting offending and inappropriate emails out to anyone and everyone with an email address to attempt to reach as many people as possible with often illegal and bogus offers.
Thanks to tightening requirements by Internet Service Providers, spamming is in decline and permission email marketing is seeing an online renaissance. If conducted correctly, permission email marketing can by far give you the easiest, fastest and most reliable way to directly communicate with your customers. If abused, however, it’s the quickest way to get blacklisted by not only your internet service provider, but any customers you happened to offend along the way by over-emailing irrelevant and non-applicable electronic junk mail to them.
So here is the best way to conduct a successful permission email campaign without spamming people.
Build a solid foundation: Your e-mail subscriber listYou can build a responsive email subscriber list in a number of ways. The fastest and most popular method is by using your website. An email subscription offer should be posted on each of your popular web pages touting signups for deep discounts, discontinued item alerts, seasonal items, service availabilities, grand openings, insider tips and any other offers your customers will find valuable and informative. This online form should have fields that record a subscriber’s first name and email, at the minimum, and should also be posted on each page of your website, preferably "above the fold" in high visibility locations on your most popular web pages. A privacy information page telling customers what kind of email offers they can expect from you, and how often, should be also be included as part of your permission email campaign.
Don't spam and send only relevant messages that speak to customer needsOne thing that both corporations and small businesses have discovered about email marketing is that if you are not sending exciting, relevant messages that speak directly to your customers, the email list you worked so hard to build becomes bloated and lethargic in very short order. You must send the kind of offers that your customers want to open, read, print or bring back to your store. This means studying their online and in-store buying habits, and delivering the same kinds of pushes for these products and services. Exciting email messages might include: limited time coupons, service agreement deadlines, deep discounts on popular products and special offers on items specific customers have purchased in the past. Short on ideas that might inspire your customers? Then look in your own email inbox… has an email you’ve received lately inspired you to take action, like click on a website, pick up a phone, or purchase an item? If so, what did that email look like?
Immediately honor unsubscribesPermission email campaigns call for honest and respectful relationships with the customers you are emailing. This includes not over emailing them, respecting their privacy by not selling their data, and honoring their unsubscribe requests. Federal law calls for removing customers that request to be unsubscribed from your list within 10 days, but unsubscribe requests in general should be processed as quickly as possible.
- No matter the format of your email message, be it newsletter, printable coupon, service alert, direct product sell or message from the president… the permission email marketing format should be your method of choice. This practice is not only for the sake of long-term relationships with your valuable customers, but for the sake of continuing the future of email marketing as an effective, rapid, and affordable way to directly communicate with customers.