Tuesday Tips #19: Control Junk E-Mail and Create an Opt-in List

Tuesday Tips #19

Most people prefer to spend time with their family and friends, pursue important activities, or get real work done instead of dealing with junk e- mail. What constitutes junk e-mail? Junk mail consists of any of the following:

  1. e-mail for which the recipient did not sign up
  2. e-mail from which the recipient cannot unsubscribe
  3. e-mail without a link to the original site sending it

If you dislike junk mail as much as I do (and if you receive as much as I do in a typical day, you definitely dislike it), you’ll take extra precautions to insure that all your e-mail communications find a happy response upon their delivery.

E-mail communications form a large part of normal interactions with a company, so it’s best to start off asking permission if you may send e-mail to your users. This involves an opt-in process: users submit their contact information and confirm that they have opted to receive communications from you. It’s always thoughtful to offer links to your latest e-newsletters so visitors may preview what they will actually receive.

When you have legitimate news that benefits your clients, readers, or website visitors or if you offer a service that’s timely and truly of interest to your mailing list, then feel good about sending your message to your community. It helps members feel like they’re “in the know” and have access to behind-the-scenes information.

Develop a list of people who truly care about your products and services and who want to hear from you, as opposed to a “ho- hum” list of people who don’t actually enjoy receiving your e-mail missive and who will delete it or, worse, spam filter it upon arrival.

When you send out messages, always make sure that you offer an opt-out link in the bottom part of the newsletter. Also, offer a link to your visitors so they can change their e-mail address, update their own contact information, or even choose which types of announcements they’d like to receive.

When you control junk e-mail, offer opt-ins and unsubscribe links, and truly target the message that you send, you keep your business active in the eyes of the people who care the most. Through your e- mail list, you’re building a loyal base of fans who enjoy hearing from you. Respect the trust they place in you and maintain the newsletter as a valuable service. You build one of your most important assets with your permission-based e-mail list.

I recommend minimizing the number of e-mails you send. Is your message so important that people must hear from you every day? If you offer a regular service, then you’re fine (e.g. you may have a weekly offering or a daily roundup); but if you’re simply sending promotional messages, consider sending messages only on a monthly, quarterly, or special seasonal basis.

Proofread your announcement, and always consider the question of “so what?” You’ve crafted your newsletter, so what? Before pressing the “send” button, confirm that your newsletter truly increases the quality of your business relationship. If you plan on sending e-mail, make sure your recipient cares.

Otherwise, they’ll say “so what?” and delete or unsubscribe.

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