10 Steps to Proper Email Marketing Relationships

By: Kathryn Beach


It doesn't matter how big or small your company, or how famous its name. The internet is the great leveler when it comes to marketing, and e-mail marketing works the best--and it works for most every company. In fact, it may actually work better for the small niche business.

Anyone can put an e-mail capture page on her website, upload her e-mail list, create e-mail templates, and send out e-mails that are Can-Spam compliant with the proper opt-out links. But the smaller and more niche your business is, the more effective you can be through e-mail in driving sales. You may drive to Walmart or log on to Amazon.com or eBay when you need to buy something, but a small business using email marketing will email you and remind you what you like and what you've purchased before. They'll whisper in your ear, isn't it about time you checked back to see what's available? or even suggest something new that they thought you might like.

Email marketing is your chance to build a relationship with your customer. But even though someone requests your email, they may still report you as a spammer. Here are 10 steps to take to build a proper relationship with your recipients so they don't report your email as spam:

1. Ask subscribers to confirm their subscriptions. Don't accept a list of people who didn't uncheck a box, be absolutely sure they know what they signed up for and verified it through their email address.

2. Manage expectations. Be clear what kind of email you'll be sending, and how often. Be as precise as possible. Confirm subscriptions and send prompt introductory welcome messages. Then keep your end of the bargain.

3. Make your identity clear in the inbox. Use a consistent, plain-English "from" or sender name, such as your company or mailing name -- they are logical and trusted. Also use an easily identified "from" address such as newsletter@mycompany.com. Don't use your name as the sender unless the name itself is a strong, identifiable brand.

4. Notice when you've lost their interest. If recipients aren't responding the way they used to, it's time to reassess what you're sending. Let your recipients control what they receive. Let them opt out of a particular campaign, rather than having them opt off your list completely.

5. "Add to address book" language needs to be included at the top of your email such as: "Add newsletter@mycompany.com to your address book."

6. Include teaser text at the top of your email to help someone decide whether to open the email, such as a brief list of headlines or contents.

7. Develop your masthead made up of HTML colors and text, rather than one that is image-based, in case your reader has images disabled.

8. Brand your subject lines. Email recipients use various means to scan their inboxes for wanted emails, by the "from" name, the subject lines or a combination of both, or by what they can see in a preview pane. Make it easier for them by providing secondary branding in your subject lines. If your "from" name is "MyCompany," then the subject line might include "{MyCompany News}" or {Name of Newsletter}." Brackets { } work well to help your email stand out in the inbox without triggering spam filters like many symbols do. And don't forget to make it interesting!

9. Don't over-email. If you tell subscribers they'll receive three to four emails a month, don't send eight.

10. Include a resource box in your emails. Many email clients have a footer option available; this is a box or distinct area at the end of each email with as much of the following information as you can provide:

a. How to unsubscribe

b. The email address you are sending to

c. Your postal mailing address (CAN-SPAM requirement)

d. Contact information

e. How and when the recipient subscribed

f. Brief description of and link to your full privacy policy.

This admin center helps your subscriber contact you and to control her account. This will boost her trust and therefore her desire to remain on your list. It also provides greater transparency.

Building an internet business is all about building trust, and you want your email to be honest, legitimate and the one your recipient asked to receive.

© 2006. Kathryn Beach. All rights reserved. Permission to publish online or in print granted provided the article and byline are printed intact with live links. Find us on the web at: http://email---marketing.blogspot.com