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Even in the age of instant messaging and social media, email marketing remains a smart and timely way to reach your customers, build your brand and drive more sales. But how do you walk the fine line between successful email marketing and charges of unwanted spam? How do you navigate the endless stream of new anti-spam legislation, and how do you avoid the severe penalties laid out for violating those consumer protection laws?
Reaching out to your customers via email means walking a delicate line, one with sharp and dangerous drop-offs at every turn. If you want to stay on the right side of the law, you need to find the right balance. Here are five timely tips for successful email marketing in the age of stringent anti-spam legislation.
Build a Robust Opt-in List
If you want to stay legal in the age of anti-spam legislation and enhanced consumer protections, start by building a solid opt-in list. You will not have to resort to unsolicited emails or risk sanctions if you have hundreds or thousands of subscribers who are anxious to receive your messages.
A robust and growing opt-in list is at the heart of any successful email marketing effort. If you want to make the most of your list, you should grow it organically; beware of ready made lists others offer to sell you. By building your list organically over time you increase the value of every subscriber, driving conversion rates higher and lowering your overall marketing costs in the process.
Give Something of Value with Every Message
There is more to email marketing than enticements to buy your products and services. That is part of the bargain, of course, but salesmanship should not be the only goal of the messages you send.
Before you hit send on your email marketing messages, look at them through the eyes of the recipient. Is there real value there? Will you learn something new or gain something you need when you keep reading? If you cannot answer yes to these basic questions, you need to reevaluate your email marketing priorities.
Time Your Messages to Minimize Disruption
The people on your opt-in list get dozens, or even hundreds, of emails a day, and all that volume can be overwhelming. As a successful email marketer, you want your own messages to break through the noise and be welcomed by your subscribers.
One way to do that is by timing your messages carefully. You may need to experiment a bit to find the optimal timing for your emails, but once you do you could see your response rate rise exponentially.
Make It Easy to Unsubscribe
Every one of your subscribers had their own reasons for signing up. Maybe they wanted to take advantage of a special offer or promotion. Maybe they wanted free shipping. Maybe they wanted to learn more about your products and services.
No matter what the reasons, over time some subscribers may feel differently about their commitment. When that happens, making it easy to unsubscribe is a vital part of being a successful, and legal, email marketer.
The unsubscribe button should be prominently displayed on every email you send, and your back-end systems should seamlessly remove those opt-outs from your list. Auditing the system from time to time to make sure it is working properly is one way to stay on the right side of current and emerging anti-spam legislation.
Reach Out Through Other Channels
Email marketing may be one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal, but it does not have to be the only one. When used judiciously, email marketing messages can be a useful adjunct to other forms of outreach, including social media engagement, video tutorials and the like.
Building out these other channels is a great way to balance your email marketing and stop those on your opt-in list from feeling overwhelmed. Instead of dreading the next message from your company, your subscribers will look forward to hearing about your business and your brand.
Email marketing is a powerful tool, one that can drive sales, increase brand awareness and boost your profits. But as with so many other tools, the success of the email marketing model depends on how it is used. The tips listed above can help you keep your carefully crafted messages out of the spam filter and in front of the eyes of eager buyers.