If you have kids, you’ve probably told them several times: think before you speak. The idea is simple and it’s a basic principle of communicating with other people – before you say something, try to imagine how your words will affect the other person. Although sending an email is somewhat different than speaking face to face, the bottom line is email is still human communication.
Now, imagine yourself on the receiving side. Actually, you don’t have to imagine: just open your email and look at all the messages that are there before you start the task of deleting everything you don’t want. While email providers are becoming better and better at filtering SPAM, some of it still seeps into our inboxes. Whenever you see it, I’m pretty sure it strikes a nerve as you press that delete button. Your goal as an email marketer is to never strike that nerve in your audience!
My advice, then, is this: whenever you send a message to a list, try to imagine yourself on the receiving side. Email communications is not much different from other ways we communicate: people will only listen if they are interested in your topic.
How do you make sure that people are genuinely interested? There are a lot of ways, but the most important is to have information they need. Period. It’s hard to say what this information is but you that’s how you distinguish yourself. Whether it’s a statement of services, a schedule of performances, coupons for people previously bought stuff, or anything else, the principle remains the same: your audience should already be interested in your message.
The best way to ensure that you have an engaged audience (and to avoid issues with the CAN-SPAM act, is to follow the Double Opt-In loop. Here’s how this works:
Let’s say you have some important information. The loop begins when a person who’s interested gives you an email address so you can send more up-to-date information – that’s the first opt-in. For the second opt-in, you ask this person to confirm that he or she indeed wants you to send them email communications. When they reply to your request, you’ve closed the loop: your trade has let you know twice that he or she is really interested, and you have permission to send messages to that email address.
Many email marketing software providers use a double-opt system that makes it easy for you to build lists. All you have to do is to create a new subscription form and embed it into your website.
When customers visiting your site becomes so excited with your information, they will happily provide their email addresses on the subscription form to keep it coming. When they submit the form, the software will send them a response asking them to confirm their enrollment. When they confirm their interest by clicking a link in the confirmation email, they have closed the loop, and you have one more happy customer who will be very unlikely to press the dreaded SPAM button!
However, at no point should you relax! To keep your subscribers happy and to get more people subscribing to your content, you have to make it interesting and relevant.