Spam. Once it evoked images of kitschy, canned, spiced ham, but we all know what it means now: unwanted emails that clog our boxes and force us to delete daily or spend time unsubscribing.
Of course, you think your e-mail campaigns are compelling but not everyone whose address you acquire is going to want to hear from you. In an earlier post, we discussed e-mail best practices, and now we review the importance of giving your potential clients the capability to opt-in to your campaigns, so you won’t become the spam we all dislike.
More importantly, many countries – including the U.S. now have anti-spam laws that make obtaining consent to send e-mail campaigns a requirement.
There are two types of opt-in methods commonly used:
- Single Opt-In: Most mass e-mail platforms, such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact, offer two opt-in options. Single is simple and the one most commonly used by retail and e-commerce sites. In this method, a subscriber simply fills out a sign-up form and submits.
- Double Opt-In: As the name indicates, this method has more steps but is still commonly used. In addition to signing up, the subscriber then receives a confirmation e-mail requiring one more click to confirm sign-up. If you notice your campaigns are getting low open rates, consider implementing this: a subscriber who double-clicks clearly is interested in seeing your product. By the same token, if the potential subscriber doesn’t click on the unique they are sent, your mail should be programmed to not send them mail.
- Confirmed opt-in: The terms ‘double opt-in’ and ‘confirmed opt-in’ are sometimes used interchangeably but ‘confirmed opt-in’ can also refer to the practice of periodically asking your subscribers if they wish to continue receiving your emails.
Another tool for ensuring your campaigns don’t trigger spam filters is to ask your subscribers to add you to their contact list so your emails will be recognized as valid.
Organic growth is the best way to build your list and as in other aspects of real estate, referrals can be a robust tool for adding to your e-mail prospect list. Peer-initiated invitations can be highly effective but have best-practices of their own.
- Ask your friends to target their asks. As you initiate a peer-to-peer campaign, remind subscribers to be intentional about who they invite and do not send requests to their entire address books, the latter of which may include outdated addresses that become spam traps. You’ll want your subscribers to limit the number of invitations they send to those people who might truly welcome your services. Make sure your inviters use their own e-mail addresses for sending the invitations.
- Personalize. This type of campaign works best when the invitee knows the inviter, so ensure your program displays the inviter’s name and e-mail address and use the potential subscriber’s first name.
As with so many aspects of business, an ounce of prevention on the front end of setting up your e-mail marketing will prevent a pound of cure – and keep you free of spam traps.