Ten Tips for Email Marketing “Netiquette”
“Netiquette” means exhibiting good manners when using the Internet, including creating and distributing marketing email messages.
Ten Email Do’s and Don’ts!
- Do add a compelling subject line which can be searched and found easily. Don’t miss out on this prime piece of email real estate. An interesting subject line hooks people into reading the content of your email – that’s the whole point.
- Do re-read and spell check your outgoing email – your professionalism is at stake. Set your email program to auto correct errors as you type, and do a final spell check before you hit the “send” button.
- Do provide your contact information – all of it. Include links to your website, blog, Facebook page, etc. You can automate this in your email program under “insert signature”, and then you just have one click to insert all your contact info into each email you send out. It’s the courteous thing to do, so people can reach you.
- Don’t send “spam” (unsolicited commercial email). Only send email to those with whom you have an established relationship (see “Email Permissions” paragraph below). Spam has grown exponentially over the years and today amounts to approximately 80 to 85% of all the email in the world. It is arguably one of the “dark sides” of the Internet.
- DON’T USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS in the body of your email – it is considered the equivalent of “shouting” at someone! IT’S NOT POLITE TO SHOUT!!!
- Don’t reveal other recipients’ email addresses in the “TO” or “CC” boxes. If you are sending out a bulk email message to 100 recipients – you are revealing what should be 100 confidential email addresses. Instead put your own name (or a generic name such as “Recipient List” and use your own email address) in the “TO” box. You can then put your 100 email address list in the “BCC” box – and no other recipients’ email addresses will show up in the delivered email copy.
- Don’t automatically hit the “reply all” button if you only need to “reply” to the original sender – everyone is overloaded with unwanted and unnecessary email. Don’t add to the problem.
- Don’t use a former email on “Subject A” to send a new email on “Subject B”. It makes it difficult for the receiver to file and retrieve. Start with a fresh email or, if you must use a previous email, at least be sure you change the subject line to your new topic.
- Don’t abuse the options of flagging your email as “important” or requesting a “delivered” or “read” receipt. If you always use these options (it’s the equivalent of “crying wolf”) and no one will pay attention to any of your emails.
- Do Use Email “Permissions” for mass distributed marketing messages. So, when is a legitimate email marketing message not considered “Spam”? When the sending party has implicit or actual permission from the addressee to make contact. Typically this means having an established business connection with the addressee, such as someone who has:
purchased a product or service from your business in the past – i.e. a previous customer;
purchased a product or service from your business recently – i.e. an existing customer;
signed up to receive a periodic newsletter, or special offers from your business;
“likes” or “follows” your business Facebook page, or blog;
initiated contact with your business by email, telephone, written correspondence, or submitted comments or an enquiry on your website’s guest book or “Contact Us” form;
provided you with their business card;
Let’s say your “Email permissions” list becomes too cumbersome to handle – you have so many contacts and/or you have so many email marketing messages to send out (woo hoo!). You can move up to using email campaign management software such as Constant Contact or Mail Chimp (some fees will apply) to automate the process and save you loads of time. Such software also provides statistics on delivered/opened mail which is useful for measuring your reach. However, when you start using these programs you will be required to sign off that all your contacts are “Permission-based”. So you might as well keep your contact list(s) “clean” right from the start so as not to be considered a “Spammer”.
We invite you to comment below. Do you agree with these "Netiquette Tips" or do you have some more to contribute?