Almost every Internet marketer has asked themselves, “What can I do to avoid email spam accusations?” There are some simple steps that will help.
Email marketing can be a very effective way to promote your online business. It actually works extremely well for small niche businesses.
It is important to start with an email capture page or form so that visitors can “opt-in” to receiving your information. This also helps you build and manage your email list. With an opt-in list you can send emails that are compliant with the CAN-Spam Act and that include the necessary opt-out links.
Using email marketing can help you build relationships and trust with your customers. Nevertheless, although someone may request your email, it is still possible that they might report you for spamming. They might forget they opted-in or not recognize the email is from you. These 10 steps will aid you reducing the number of times you are accused of spam.
1. Don’t Ever Spam!
That might seem obvious but it cannot be ignored as the number one rule. Since it is so easy to obtain email addresses it may be tempting to send messages and just hope for the best. This is not only illegal, it is a poor marketing tactic since it will only annoy people and you will see poor results if any at all.
2. Confirm Subscriptions With Double Opt-in.
Always ask subscribers to double opt-in or confirm their subscriptions. This way you have a record of their choice and they cannot claim they did not do it. Do not have them simply un-check a box because they could accidentally opt-in or be confused. By having them verify their opt-in choice through their email address you eliminate any inadvertent sign-ups. Additionally, someone else will not be able to sign them up as a practical joke.
3. Send a Welcome Message.
By sending a welcome message you can let them know what type of communication they will receive. You can also let them know how often they should expect your emails or ezines. Be sure that you don’t suddenly start sending email more frequently or they may feel you are taking advantage of them and that they are being spammed.
4. Clearly Identify Yourself or Your eBiz.
Never try to disguise who the email is coming from. In most cases it is best to use your company name or your website domain name. This, after all, what you are usually trying to brand. Use your personal name in the sender line only if you are well known by the individual or have a strong reputation on the Internet. If you are sending a newsletter or ezine show that in the ‘From” address or the Message Title.
5. Keep Your Subject Lines Consistent.
Make it easy for your recipient to quickly know what to expect if they open the email. You are branding your company, ezine or newsletter when they regularly see it posted in the same way in the subject line. When they have consistently enjoyed your emails even if they can’t read it now they will save it for later.
6. Use Plain Text and HTML.
You can use HTML text and colors or just plain text. Just remember that for some people their ISP software will not process HTML. It is best not to use images since the ISP or the subscriber may have disabled images. We always send each email in both text and HTML so each individual can read it in the way they prefer.
7. Delete Names of Those Who Lack Interest.
There is no hard and fast rule on this, in fact some will tell you to NEVER remove someone from your opt-in list. It may be true that in rare cases someone responds after years of receiving emails. However, if you never remove those that lack interest you may well end up with hundreds or even thousands on your list that simply delete your messages without even opening them. I feel it is more productive to have a quality list of those that value your emails. The more disinterested ones that remain on your opt-in list the higher the chances are that some of them will accuse you of spam.
8. Include a Whitelisting Message.
Somewhere at the top or bottom of your message you should encourage the receiver to whitelist your email address and domain name. Just a simple sentence to add you to their address book or whitelist you is sufficient. The more that actually do this the more your messages will get through and not be blocked by their ISP.
9. Include a Resource or Footer Box.
Every email should include some standard information and this is best put at the bottom under your signature line. Some of this information is just good business practice and some is legally required.
You should include:
- Directions to unsubscribe
- The recipients email address
- A postal mailing address, a CAN-Spam requirement
- Contact information
- When and how the recipient subscribed
10. Do Not Send Email Too Frequently.
Some online businesses send emails to individuals several times a week or even every day. Most people would not have opted-in if they thought they would receive that much email. The companies that do this are just looking for the quick emotional sale and are not interested in building a trusted relationship. (An exception would be something like an e-course where the person is expecting an email every day for seven days or so.) You should stick to the frequency of emails you agreed to when the person opted-in.
All of this information aids your subscriber. It is also one more way to build trust and their desire to stay on your email list.
When you build an online business, you also want to build client relationships based on trust. You can do this by presenting only honest and valuable emails. This will bring more customers and will reduce or even eliminate accusations of Spam. Following good email procedures will help build and maintain subscribers that look forward to receiving your messages.
Hopefully, all these tips will help you avoid email spam accusations.
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