Email Marketing: The balancing Act Between Spamming and Informing

January 24, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

Just like you, I get more than 200 emails a day from different vendors and sites offering their services, promoting a product, pushing a sale or informing me of their new developments. Who has time to read all that? It’s important that as a business owner you keep the same perspective when you are sending out email marketing campaigns. With a whopping 144.8 billion emails sent per day how do you assure that readers will keep your newsletter in their inbox and not in their junk mail? 

The most important thing to know before you send out a single email blast is this: Did you get permission from everyone on your list to send your material? If you did not get explicit permission from a person to send them email blasts then you are spamming them. Also, you could get into a lot of trouble. Make sure you include a large Unsubscribe button on the bottom of your emails and that you remind people how they ended up your mailing lists.  It may seem all too tempting to just import your contacts from your Gmail or Outlook to your email marketing software to start a list –but resist! This will not only get you into trouble (violation of the CAN-SPAM act) but also damage your brand. The minute people associate your brand as a nuisance is the moment you have lost a customer.

Make a list and then make groups. Odds are your not just sending out a newsletter every month. Your also sending updates, promotions, sales and event invites. Just as you spent months finding your ideal target market or client base it is important to now nurture them and break them into groups. Which of your customers would want to hear about sales? Which of your customers would want to know about your local events? If you spend the time to properly target your campaigns to the appropriate readers you will not only have a higher response rate but a deeper affinity with your costumers. Why? Because now you have taken the time understand their needs.

Here’s a short story to illustrate that point: I once went into a retail store that asked for my email information. I first refused and told the sales representative that I did not want to receive any spam. She said no problem and that she could customize the settings so that I would only receive an online gift card once a year for my birthday. Reluctantly, I agreed. Not two days later I started receiving 3 emails a day from this retail store. My reaction? I unsubscribed, marked their email as spam and resolved never to shop there again. Don’t make the same mistake with your customers. There is so much competition and noise that you will make a larger BANG by being more targeted in your campaigns and, ultimately, making less useless noise.

Content is King. Now that you have permission from your readers and have broken up subscribers into groups you are ready to launch your first email marketing campaign. Now, it’s all about your content. Make your emails easily scannable with short paragraphs and sentences –a lot of readers will be viewing this on their mobile phones and won’t have interest in dense long paragraphs. Add bright colors, graphics and photos to illustrate your content. Craft a strong subject line with positive words like “connect” and “inspire”. And most importantly, make sure your content has a purpose.  Include a Call To Action button (the desired result your email has been designed to achieve) and place it several times throughout your email.

I personally recommend keeping a publishing calendar so that you can stay on top of your email marketing. Try to write your copy at least 2 weeks before it is due that way if an emergency takes place or business gets busy you won’t have to worry about falling behind. Newsletters, blogs, monthly updates etc are all a huge undertaking and a serious responsibility. Don’t take this on if you are not sure you can sustain it. But mostly, have fun with it!