Industry figures estimate that anywhere between 90-97% of all email is spam, i.e. defined as unsolicited bulk email. Arguably, different organisations will suggest different levels of compliance to avoid being labelled spam, or indeed how they classify spam in the first place. What is clear, however, is that there’s far more to lose than gain by taking a renegade approach to your email marketing.
In the same way that the reputation of your brand is essential, so is your reputation in the world of email. A big difference corporate email database being that all you need to do is get complained about enough times by people you are emailing and then all trust is lost, often never to return.
Getting blacklisted by Internet gateways – meaning your emails will get blocked – is only half the story. In the social space, people could become very vocal against your brand online. Even worse, your customers or prospects will lose trust in your company because of the way you are communicating.
Ultimately, effective email marketing is about making your message stand out in someone’s in-box and getting a result, i.e. They take an action that benefits your business. So first, let’s look at who you’re talking to in the first place.
Having a quality database is central to email marketing – not just for ongoing campaigns from your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, but also for new business acquisition and lead generation. What’s more, in terms of marketing, it’s important that the people in your database actually want what you have in the first place.
New Business and Lead Generation
When it comes to new business acquisition by email, there are many companies that will sell you a database of names, many offering quality email opt-in lists. This is somewhat of a gamble, not just for the return on investment of your outlay, but also for the relevancy and quality of the contact names.
Always use a trusted source for your data or outsource your email marketing campaigns through a reputed agency. There are also lead generation companies, such as emedia, that publish industry titles to opted-in databases. This has the double benefit of extending your reach to a new audience with no potential damage to your brand and the opportunity to build your own quality email database.
Client Retention and CRM
A quality CRM system will help you break down your audiences and allow you to send targeted messaging to your customer database. The more information you have about your customers, the more refined your messaging can become. More refined = more relevant = more effective.
How you send your email marketing campaigns is just as important as what you say and how you say it. Your email message will need to jump through a lot of hoops after you press the send button, just to make it to the in-box of the recipient.
Each of the people in your database will potentially have a different set-up with regards to the way they accept email. For instance, different corporations will have different policies in place for their email firewalls and ISPs will have policies on recognising emails as spam and what they do to combat it. You could find yourself on the wrong end of one of these policies if you do not follow proper procedures.
Many marketers make the mistake that because it is they who are sending the email, it can’t possibly be spam… after all, aren’t their intentions honourable and their product amazing? Ultimately, spam is what one of these hurdles says is spam, be it the corporate firewall or ISP. If just one link in the chain bounces your campaign, it’s all been for nothing.
Use reputable email delivery software online (Software as a Service) or a desktop application that will guide you through the process of sending your campaign. Do not assume that you can email blast your Outlook address book and hope for the best, you could be damaging your reputation forever. If in doubt, use a recognised email marketing agency.
Many companies prefer to send HTML emails that can be stylised, but this isn’t always the right thing to do, both in terms of deliverability and also of the action you would like the recipient to take. Perhaps text is a better option for your audience? At the very least, a text backup should be sent as an option and this can be automated using a multi-part email, which will determine the best way to send the email for each recipient based on their own network preferences.