Spam. It’s one of those things we dread when we open up our inbox, isn’t it? Tons of messages from people who are soliciting to you for their products or services.
So, what is Spam? How does it differ from actual email marketing and how do you avoid the mistakes that will cost you dearly?
According to Wikipedia, Email spam, also known as junk email, is a type of electronic spam where unsolicited messages are sent by email.
The thing is, some forms of Spam were made legal in the United States in 2003 by the CAN-SPAM Act provided that the message adheres to rules set by the Federal Trade Commission.
By following the rules of the FTC regarding the CAN-SPAM Act like, not using deceptive subject lines, and failing to honor opt-out requests, may keep you legally safe but do very little to win you points with potential clients who receive your emails.
Email Marketing on the other hand is defined as directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves using email to send ads, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness.
So, what’s the difference you ask? Permission.
The reason why proper email marketing works so well, is that people have actively chosen to sign up to be on your emails list or newsletter. They are a captive audience who have decided that they are interested enough in what you have to say that they are willing to take that conversation one step further. Although they may not be in a place to make that purchasing decision, they’re still interested.
Proper email marketing builds on that relationship and establishes you as the industry expert so that when they are ready to make that purchasing decision, you are at the top of their list. Spam violates that trust and can actually act as negative publicity for your private practice.
So what can you do to avoid the mistakes that will leave a bad taste in the mouths of those followers you wish to convert to paying clients?
SPAM, by its very definition is unsolicited email. So the first tip has to be simply to not sign people up to be on your email list without their permission. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to folks who boast about having huge email lists of people that they market to on a regular basis. Ultimately, when I ask them to describe how they’ve grown such giant lists, I discover they they’ve just “collected names” along the way.
Some have just gotten in the habit of collecting business cards and just entered their information on their list. Others will collect information from emails that they get from people or from phone calls they’ve received. If the person has not given you expressed permission to be placed on your email list or newsletter, then, just don’t do it! There is just no quicker way to turn people off than to place them on a list that they never asked to be on!
When you’re at a networking event and away from any means of allowing someone to go on your site to physically sign up, you can employ the use of a sign-up sheet. That way you will have something in their writing that shows permission for sign up.
You can also email the person and mention that you’d like to place them on your email list and ask their permission. For example,
I was thinking of our recent conversation and how you are struggling with ______. These are some of the topics that I cover in my
Newsletter and think it might be helpful for you. With your permission, I’d like to put you on my Email List so that you can get this
Information as it becomes available. Would this be helpful to you? If so, please let me know what email address you would like to
begin receiving this information.”
Lastly, to avoid a Spam approach, avoid using emails that are always selling to people. This will turn people off very quickly and they’ll begin to either delete your emails without even reading them or worse yet, opt-out of your email list all together.
Instead, try providing content that your readers need. Do you know what their pain points are? What kinds of information would help them? A link to a blog that you’ve written, a video you’ve created, an event that speaks directly to their concerns? All of these options provide valuable content that will speak directly to them and keep them engaged.
Make sure that you are speaking to them rather than at them. Remember, you are building a long term relationship that will convert them in to paying clients. Not forcing a quick sale.
We’d love to hear how you are building relationships and growing your email list. If you need help with this, feel free to reach out to us on the website at Woz Marketing.