Spam n. Unsolicited email (often of a commercial nature) that is sent indiscriminately to large numbers of recipients.
Nobody likes receiving spam emails. It’s the digital equivalent of junk mail flooding your letterbox and telemarketers bombarding you at home with cold calls. The only difference with emails is that you can instantly contact thousands of people at a time in one mere click.
So as a business owner, it’s essential you refrain from abusing this privilege by spamming the inboxes of potential and existing clients – otherwise it will end up biting you from behind and you will risk losing customers forever.
Let’s take a quick look at spamming in action. Remember that Seinfeld episode where Jerry finally lost it at a telemarketer? He was tired and vexed that they were calling him at his private home… completely unsolicited. Watch the video below and see how Jerry’s reaction captures the same sentiment as receiving spam emails.
So if you don’t want to come across as a spammer, follow these simple email-marketing tips on etiquette and build a trusting reputation among your customers:
- Clearly identify who you are. Write your full name or company name as the ‘From’ email sender to set yourself apart from scamming merchants, weight loss product advocates and other unscrupulous con-artists.
- Write a clever call to action in the email subject line that appeals to a recipient’s interests.
- Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe. If they no longer wish to receive your emails, then give them a way to opt out.
- Allow recipients to provide feedback or ask questions about your products or services. This makes your email a two-way conversation.
- Only send emails to people who are actually your customers and have specifically signed up for your email alerts. Sending emails to people who made a purchase several years ago doesn’t justify emailing them for eternity.
- Don’t ever buy email address lists. This can be tempting when you’re starting off with a small list, but it’s a no-no! It’s completely dishonest and you’re bombarding a group of people who probably do not even fit your target market.
- Write straightforward, compelling copy that’s not too long. The key is to make your email easy to read and scan as possible so recipients know what you’re about.
- Tell your recipients how often you will be emailing them. If it’s once a month, stick to your specified delivery frequency and do not go overboard. Otherwise you will lose trust.
At the end of the day, email marketing can prove to be a very effective and cheap way to boost your business sales. So don’t take advantage of the privilege it brings.
If you harass thousands of potential customers with sales pitches, yet only make 10 sales from doing so, it’s just not worth having your email address blocked and building an undesirable reputation as a spammer.
Michelle Wilding is a writer for ReachLocal Australia, and specialises in topics on social media and online marketing tips.