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Email Marketing. Let's do it right.

Most of us have a love hate relationship with email, we love to get messages from people we know, or to get information that helps us in our daily lives. But, we really hate those emails that clog up our inboxes with stuff that we are really just not interested in.
I'd like to share with you some interesting stats that I saw the other day.
In 2012 there were:
  • 2.2 billion email users worldwide
  • sending 144 billion emails daily
  • and of that, 68.8% of them were SPAM
of them were spam"

That is a lot of spam... Which means it is also very easy for your marketing message to get lost in it. That's why it is important to have your emails be something your subscribers actually look forward to.

But, the problem is this. What exactly defines spam?

Google defines spam as:

Sending the same message indiscriminately to (large numbers of recipients) on the Internet.


But, what exactly does that mean?


Well, people have very different views on what is an acceptable message, and what is not. Without a clear definition, it is easy to alienate your users, rather than win them over.


So, should we give up on email marketing as a tool entirely? No, not at all. Just do it better.


The Benefits of Email Marketing

When done right, email marketing can be a wonderful tool, not just for you, but for your subscribers as well.

It's not all about pushing calls to action and conversions. Instead, focus more on keeping your brand in their mind so when they do need your services, they will think of you, and not your competitors.

It is also a chance for a more personal level of communication than your website offers. You can ask questions, encourage discussions, and gather feedback. A good marketing email is a dialog rather than a monologue.
"a dialog rather than a monologue"
Your emails should not just benefit you. They should provide real value to the reader as well. Your emails should help them solve problems, keep them informed, and provide a tangible value.

Remember, that is what they expected when they signed up.
3 Fundamental Rules

There are three rules to email marketing that if not followed will result in your message being classified as spam.

Rule #1: Never, ever, ever buy a list of emails.

Gain your subscribers through legitimate means. That means they expect to receive emails from you. This can be a web form, a trade show, or an opt-in of another sort piggy-backed on something else (e.g. "Get Offers From Us" on a registration form). The last one being a little more of a grey area, use your discretion.

Rule #2: Always give your subscribers an easy opt-out option.

Nothing is worse than getting an email and not being able to opt-out of it due to a forgotten password, or no opt-out option at all.

Rule #3: Refer to rules #1 & 2.

I can not emphasize how important these are. Don't do it.

Email is a Two Way Medium

Start treating your marketing-emails as emails. That means not using reply-to addresses.

We should actively be seeking to engage our subscribers in discussions. Ask for their opinions & comments. This will demonstrate that they are more than just an email address to you.

In closing, I'd like to practice what I preach, so I'd love to know your thoughts on marketing emails. What have you found to work for you, and what engages you in the emails you receive?

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