The Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing

Feb 14, 2022 | Marketing

I have a confession, I’m in love with the ‘unsubscribe’ button. 

If subscribing to a certain email brings me no value, I’m gone. I get enough emails that I really don’t need to be reminded to buy another pair of shoes or a shirt. However, I do tend to keep the emails that bring me value, entertain me, and give me something useful besides screaming ‘buy me’ through my laptop. 

Something interesting happened recently. I opened my email and a woman who a few months ago had emailed me with a professional question had added me to her email marketing list without my consent. If I had done business with her or attended one of her events, I wouldn’t have thought twice about receiving the email. Being added after a light conversation felt unprofessional.

Has this happened in the past? Yes. I remember giving out my business card (are these even relevant anymore?) at an event a few years ago (when in person was the standard)- and being added to tons of email lists. Really, that wasn’t appropriate either. 

So what happens when we throw a bunch of people on our list that didn’t consent to marketing messages from us or even do business with us? We look bad. The email police won’t show up, but we don’t want to be that spammy type of marketer. 

So how do we keep people on our list? 

How do we earn that space with them? 

How can we be sure that what we are sending isn’t going to send them to my favorite ‘unsubscribe’ button?

3 Do’s for Email Marketing

  1. Provide Value. Your email should contain content that serves or adds to someone’s day. Whether it’s informative, problem-solving, thought-provoking, or just humorous- there must be an element of value to keep the recipient from unsubscribing. Or worse- they stay on your list and send you to the dreaded junk folder. Ouch. Does this mean you can’t sell via email? Heck no! It means you should be aware of how you are selling and the messaging you are using.
  2. Keep it on brand and topic. Keep the original intent of communication clear. If I sign up for a cooking newsletter, don’t sell me a sweater. I’m not saying you can’t evolve your business, but keep the audience in mind. If I sign up for one thing and receive another- I’m gone. People are too smart for bait and switch tactics.  
  3. Use captivating subject lines. If you want someone to open your email, give them a reason. What’s the hook? What will they learn? What is waiting for them inside your glorious email that they can’t wait to read???? Use your subject lines wisely. 

3 Don’ts- The Things to Avoid 

  1. Do not add people to your email list without their knowledge or having a connection. I covered this above. It’s simple, don’t add people who didn’t subscribe OR haven’t transacted with you in some way. 
  2. Do not act irresponsibly with your list. Respect the information given to you. This means don’t share contact information without consent, set up double authentication on your email marketing service (most require this anyway), and never, ever, sell or share your list of contacts with someone else. 
  3. Do not sent an email without an unsubscribe option. Don’t worry about this if you are sending one on one communication or small groups around a specific topic or event. But if you are marketing to a list, the unsubscribe option is necessary and good form. A good email marketing platform should have this built in for you. 

Hopefully, you are the tactful type and would never do anything like I’ve mentioned above. If you have email marketing questions. You are welcome to reach out to me via email – obviously, I won’t add you to my list :). 

Written by Kate Winter Cole

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