Wednesday, 28 March 2012
damage your email reputation deliverability
Let’s take, for example, the very common practice of offering a white paper, free report, video access, website access, etc. in exchange for filling out personal information via a web form. With this exchange of materials or access for personal information come certain expectations for both the recipient as well as the email marketer. However, this is where the breakdown often occurs.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably an email marketer, and you’re likely getting leads in your funnel using both online and offline marketing. With that, you’re also very likely a consumer, which makes overcoming this obstacle very easy.
An All Too Common Scenario Among Marketers
Let’s say I visit your website and find a form where I can obtain a white paper entitled “Learn How to Cook: The Basics.” On this form, there are two fields for me to enter, Name and Email Address. I submit the required information and anxiously await and expect to learn how to take my bachelor-style cooking (spaghetti and cereal) to the next level. I promptly receive the information I requested via email and eagerly begin to consume the material. (Cool!) Then, an hour later, I hear my email client chirping at me to let me know I have a new email. The email is from the same sender, trying to promote a sale on their cookbooks, pots and pans, and exotic spices. I never asked for any of this! The next day, I get another solicitation email from the sender. The day after that, I get an informative email. The week after that, I receive an additional email selling other merchandise and so on.
The next steps are where the real damage occurs.
Instead of deleting these emails, I now report these messages as spam to my email provider. After several subsequent emails from this sender and consequential spam complaints to my email provider, I suddenly stop receiving unwanted and unsolicited email from them altogether.
Problem solved. It’s a silent solution that stops the sender dead in their tracks.
As email marketers, this has a very negative impact on deliverability, which in the end means a detrimental effect on revenue. In addition to the hard cost of getting blacklisted, recipients now have associated the company brand with being a “spammer.” No one wants to do business with a company they find to be abusive and harassing.
Capturing Leads the Right Way at Events
Exhibiting at tradeshows and conferences is a great way to connect face-to-face with potential customers. Typically, as an exhibitor or sponsor, you get some opportunity to gather leads, whether a barcode scanner, business cards or having people opt in via SMS. Whichever your lead retrieval method is, you need to set clear expectations at the booth about what you’re going to send the person, when and why. For example, “If you let me scan your badge, I can email you a copy of the free report you see here at the booth, ‘Copy writing Tips for Small Business.’”
From there, you can send the report and ask them to opt-in to receive more emails from you in the future. Don’t simply assume they want to hear from you indefinitely because they let you scan their badge at an event. A business card is not a blank check to receive limitless emails from you.
Assessing your opt-in methodology is as easy as putting on your ”consumer hat” and objectively determining the risk of prospects labeling you, your business, your brand and your company’s email reputation as spam.
Here are three tips to gain permission from leads:
Set explicitly clear expectations and providing choices to your prospects when they give you their valuable and personal contact information. If you providing a whitepaper, webinar or free report, give people a choice to receive further emails from you.
Stay disciplined and honor people’s email preferences. Sure, it’s dead-simple to send another email. Think about the silent payback that could result if you upset someone. They will report you as spam and that could put a big dent your email marketing program.
If you aren’t sure, ask! Sometimes exchanging business cards introduces a bit of uncertainty. It happens. A much safer alternative to simply adding them to your list is to ask them if they want to hear from you. If you don’t hear back, unsubscribe them. And by ask, I mean just that. Don’t pitch them. Only have one call to action: opt in.