The Importance Of Being Earnest In Email Marketing

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Image courtesy of Horia Varlan on Flickr

One of the biggest fears for brands turning to email marketing is simply sending too much, resulting in people unsubscribing or complaining. It’s a legitimate concern as this could have a negative impact on brand reputation.

For example, I recently signed up to a popular e-commerce website’s newsletter to keep an eye on the latest offers and product releases. There was nothing on the sign up form telling me how often I would receive emails. Nor was there the option to choose specific categories I might be interested in.

War of attrition?

Having assumed I would receive 1-2 emails a month at most, what followed can only be described as a shelling of email marketing shrapnel.

The strategy appeared to be to bombard recipients until they eventually cracked. So, after the tenth irrelevant email in as many days, I unsubscribed.

Other than the electronic carpet-bombing of my inbox, the biggest mistake was not forewarning me of the impending onslaught. Had I known what to expect or been able to specify what I wanted to receive, I might have chosen not to subscribe or, at the very least, opened an email.

Setting expectations

On the flip side, when I sign up to a daily deals website, I am not surprised when I receive daily communication. Consequently, those companies are thriving from email marketing.

Ultimately, there is nothing wrong with sending emails that people expect to receive. In fact, if you’re campaign is targeted, segmented and analysed properly; it isn’t a crime to start sending even more.

Of course, if people aren’t opening, don’t increase the frequency. That’s a sign you may need to decrease it.

But, if somebody buys a book, send a follow-up email suggesting other (similar) titles they might like. Or when that author releases a new book, send them an email about it.

As long as you are transparent with your recipients, and you send with purpose, email marketing works.

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