Permission - the key to successful email marketing

By APSIS

2011-09-26

Email marketing is a cost-effective, fast, profitable and measurable way to communicate.

It helps you increase sales on the Internet, brings more visitors to your web site, and makes people download white papers, videos and other things you offer or sell. Email marketing encourages customer loyalty, brings people to your web shop and strengthens your brand.

Email is quite simply an effective way to reach a large number of people. The cost is relatively low and you get detailed campaign reports that help you to continuously improve your knowledge about your recipients and get better results.

To succeed with email marketing, you need to be aware of two basic principles.

  1. People are restrictive when it comes to their personal inboxes. They generally only want email that they specifically asked for.
  2. Once you get subscribers (to your newsletter) you need to keep them interested. You have to give them something they find valuable.

Follow these two basic principles, and there is a good chance that your investment in email marketing will be successful. Newsletters that follow these principles usually get a strong, positive reception.

Only send to recipients that have given you permission

Successful email marketing requires you to only send email to recipients who have given you permission to do so. This is the major difference between email marketing and many other marketing channels.

Sending unwanted email is a recipe for poor results and will ultimately be harmful to your brand. Worst case scenario is that your newsletters will be banned and will not reach your recipients. In several countries, sending unwanted email is illegal.

When working with email marketing, the communication must be on the recipient’s terms.

There are a number of things to consider:

  • Only send email to recipients who explicitly have given you permission.
  • Never share your address list with anyone. Use it only to send the newsletters you specified in the sign-up process.
  • It should be easy to end the subscription.

A transparent policy makes your subscribers feel safe. The key to success online is trust –  and ethical email marketing makes people trust you. It pays off to think long-term. You should try to find subscribers who trust you to treat them and their email addresses well.

But – where do I find my subscribers?

One of the hardest things for email marketers is to find more subscribers to their newsletters.

A quick, easy way to get many subscribers is to buy a list of email addresses. It is a simple procedure, there are lots of people offering services like this. Usually, they say that they have permission to sell the addresses.

At Apsis, it is not allowed to use email addresses that have been purchased. The reason is simple.

The people you find on an address list that is for sale have not chosen to subscribe to your newsletter. They are not expecting email from you. They are most likely not your target audience (no matter how hard the seller of the list tries to convince you).

Since you don’t have permission from the recipients, you break the law in several countries by sending newsletters to them.

Buying lists with email addresses is not a shortcut to success, it is a highway to failure. You need to gather the addresses for yourself. It will take you some time, but the results will be much better.

You don't just need more subscribers, you need more subscribers interested in what you send by email. 

It is easier to attract new subscribers if you have some kind of established contact. This could be on your web site, on your blog, your Twitter account or other social media.

You can also get new subscribers by meeting them in person.

Here are a few tips that will help you find new subscribers – and to keep them!

Put the subscription form in a prominent place

It may seem obvious, but take a few minutes and study a couple of web sites. On how many do you find a button or subscription box clearly visible on the landing page? Probably not all of them. Can you find a web site where there is a subscription box on all pages? No, probably not. Few companies think about this. You should do it!

Put a subscription form at the top of the landing page (some say that placing it top right will give you more addresses). Test different placements and different formats to find what attracts most people. Consider the overall picture.

Be transparent with your email address policy

People are generally careful with their email addresses. Potential subscribers need to feel that their integrity will be respected and that you are aware of the importance of being responsible. Be transparent with your email address policy – include it or link to it at sign-up.

A new subscriber should understand what you will send in the future

It is always a good idea to tell your new readers what kind of information you plan to send. You may consider to show examples of earlier newsletters, to give the subscriber a good introduction to your content.

Effective email marketing meets the subscribers' needs

Tell the subscribers how often you will email them. You don’t have to provide an exact schedule, but they should know if it is once a day or once a month. Or perhaps give them a chance to decide how often they would like to get newsletters from you?

Try to get the right address

Few people have just one email address. Since you don’t want your newsletters to end up in an inbox that rarely gets checked, ask to get their primary address. Not just the address that gets used the most, but one that they will keep for a long time. Ask for the primary address, and notice the positive changes to your email address list.

Use a system that detects incorrect addresses

You have no use for misspelt or incorrect addresses such as:
sven.svensson@hotmial.com
sven@gmail

If you have a system that detects incorrect addresses as they are being typed, they will never enter your address list – and your readers will get their newsletters. Some system reacts instantly and warns the subscriber, but if this is not possible, make the subscriber repeat the address to make sure that it is correct.

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