Etiquette for Business Email Marketing
John M. Haddad
Etiquette doesn’t just apply to your table manners; it applies to email marketing too. How we write emails when communicating with our current and potential customers is not the same as when we communicate with our friends and family.
Here are some tips for creating your email lists and for sending emails to your subscribers.
Always get permission
Many businesses simply take email addresses they get and add them to their email list. Just because someone handed you a business card doesn’t mean he or she wants to get emails from your business. You need permission from each and every customer you email. If you decide to subscribe them to your list, make sure you inform them in advance. They can always unsubscribe later if they want to be removed (see next tip)
Make it easy for them to unsubscribe
Your customers should always be given the ability to unsubscribe, or leave your mailing list. The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) is a federal law that established requirements for those who send commercial email. It is recommended that at the bottom of each email you send that you have a link with clear instructions as to how the customer can unsubscribe from your list. Most commercial mailing list services automatically place this at the bottom of each email to comply with the law.
Send short and concise emails
Shorter emails help your readers get the message when they are crunched for time. In many cases, your readers will only see a short preview of your email in the preview pane of their email client, so you want to quickly capture their attention in that preview window so they will read the rest.
Make sure your content is free from errors
Nothing stains your reputation faster than an email full of misspellings, grammatical errors and broken links. Use spell check and proofread your email more than once. In many cases, I will compose my message using Microsoft Word, then copy it into my email or blog. Word gives me more tools to check spelling and grammar than my blog provides.
In addition, you don’t want to send an email with broken links. Not only does that defeat the purpose of your email and potentially cost you sales, it also drops your credibility as a company.
Your subject line should relate to the content
Don’t be deceptive with your subject line. You can get creative with your subject line, but don’t try to trick your customers into opening the email. Customers don’t respond well to it, and it’s against the CAN-SPAM law.
Overall, you want to convey a professional image and keep your emails classy. To do that, don’t write your subject line or content in ALL CAPS. Similarly, don’t go crazy with symbols and exclamation points in your message. Messages such as “SALE GOING ON NOW!!!!!!!!! ♦♦♦♦ Buy Today! ♦♦♦♦” can be a real turn off and result in quick deletes of your email.
In the end, etiquette is all about being polite. The same applies when you are emailing. Be courteous and respectful of your customers and their time. Making sure your company is putting its most polite foot forward will ensure the success of your email marketing campaign and reduce the number of people unsubscribing from your list.