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Are You An Uninvited Guest?

In my last post I set the stage for sharing some Email Marketing Best Practices. This time I want to ask you, the marketer, one question: Are you an “Uninvited Guest?”

Sometimes it’s just not the right time for a visit, even from a close friend, and that’s why those uninvited guests are awkward. The same is true for your email campaigns, but it’s much easier to delete an email than to kick a person out of your home.

If you barge in unexpectedly, subscribers are more likely to ignore you, unsubscribe, or hit the dreaded SPAM button. Consider the following questions to see what kind of “guest” you are:

1) Who exactly is your audience?

You're Not InvitedUninvited: “Who cares? All these people signed up for my list. And I’m awesome! I have so much to say!” If you don’t even have a consistent message to send to your list, chances are that they never wanted to hear it in the first place.

Invited: You should know WHY they signed up in the first place. Whether it’s news, daily deals, jokes, or baby animal memes, give your audience the content they want and they’re more likely to open and read it. Trying new things is always important, but remember the best email is the one your audience looks forward to reading.

2) How did you meet?

Uninvited: You collected a list (in person or online) by offering an incentive or prize. There’s no problem with that…unless you didn’t tell people that they would end up on your email list and you start hounding them with offers they don’t want.

Invited: Always remember: you can’t go wrong with double opt-in. That means everyone who joined your list clicked a link in a confirmation email. For a list you collected in person, be explicit about what they’re signing up for.

3) When did you meet?

Uninvited: You built that “incentive list” 8 months ago, and you’re finally putting together the first email campaign. Avoid sending to folks who won’t even remember you: they are much more likely to hit that SPAM button!

Invited: Send a welcome email or at least a quick thank-you when people confirm their subscription. Any good email provider with a good deliverability team can help with this (hint hint). Oh, and don’t wait months before reaching out again!

4) How often do you really have something to say?

Uninvited: Personally, I have unsubscribed from lists simply because I’m being contacted far too often. One large retailer in particular was emailing me every day and didn’t give the option to choose the frequency of emails, so I opted out as quickly as I opted in.

Invited: Allow your subscribers to choose daily/weekly/monthly/etc when they sign up, or at least tell them how often they will hear from you.

Engagement is #1 for any marketer and email opens are the door to engagement. ISPs are watching you and they will send you to the junk folder if your engagement rates are poor. I hope this set of questions helps you think of email best practices from the point of view of the recipient. If you wouldn’t let yourself in the door, why should they?


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Whois: Scott Grant

Scott is an Associate Product Marketing Manager at Dyn, the world leader in Internet performance solutions. Follow him on Twitter: @ScottGrantJr and @Dyn.