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It all began with a conversation with a friend of mine who works at a large CRM (client relationship management) firm.  He had slapped the hands of several people who had used Hurricane Harvey as a time to take the opportunity to use their email marketing to capitalize on tragedy by tying sales pitches to the devastation that people were experiencing. On that same weekend, another marketer emailed their list four times in one day.  This morning, I looked at my spam file and saw that another friend was mailing their list every two days – not good!


In the last two weeks alone, I have unsubscribed from approximately five email lists; one of whom was a friend.  I have unsubscribed to all retail emails with the exception of three.  As an aside, these retailers email market appropriately and their content is exceptional.


When email marketers mail too frequently or inappropriately, they expose themselves to a deluge of potential ramifications.  With new anti-spam laws in places like Canada, where a violation of CASL can lead to fines in the thousands of dollars, it is imperative that businesses of all forms take on responsible email marketing.  You may think that your list needs to hear from you everyday however they don’t.  In fact, a survey done by Technology Advice found that the number one reason people unsubscribe from emails is due to frequency.  People unsubscribing from your list can tear your heart out like people unfriending you from Facebook.


The sad reality is that with so many people entering The You Economy and embarking on the journey of solopreneurship, there is a general naivete when it comes to truly understanding marketing.  These people tend to be a business of one, wear many hats, and frankly do not have a dedicated marketing department.  Large companies, who mail too often, should be hiring people who actually understand email marketing so that they are not violating laws and bombarding customers.


Regardless of the size of your business, there are 5 key things to know so you can stop committing email sin and be responsible.


1. Email Less Frequently

People like 4-Hour Work Week Guru – Tim Ferriss, mail their list once per week.  This guy has incredible content and his podcast features guests such as Tony Robbins and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Mr. Ferriss has defied the ‘do not mail on Friday’ rule of email marketing and does indeed mail his list only on Friday’s.  A good rule to follow is to have one consistent piece that goes out once per week.  If you have something great to share with your list such as a special offer or a fun update, make an exception and mail a second time.


The only exception to this rule would be news outlets and investment gurus who mail daily because the news and the markets change rapidly.  For everyone else – tone it down!


2. Email Great Content

My question to you is this – who are you trying to write to?  Who is your reader?  What interests them? Make sure you are creating great email marketing content that will make your reader want to open your emails week after week.


3. Do Not Mail People Who Have Not Subscribed

I have been holding back however this one is the golden rule of email marketing.  Yes, its great – you started an online business and you are excited so you dump all of your contacts into a CSV file, import them into your CRM, and mail them with your new product announcement.  This is a fast way to lose friends and also violate a myriad of anti-spam laws.  Your friends may be kind and not hit the ‘complaint button’ however the list of people you purchased online are not going to be so kind because they came from sources such as hackers, re-sellers, and other nefarious groups that sell our information.  Don’t do it!


4. Get The Double Opt-In

If you are gathering emails through your website, blog, through social media marketing, or if you are a speaker in front of a large group – get a double opt-in.  What this means is that a person must confirm that they are giving you permission to email them in order to receive more correspondence.


5. Email Your List in Segments

We teach our clients to ‘tag’ their lists so they can email them in segments.  Amateurs do a one-size-fits-all approach and market to their entire list all at once.  Professionals understand that a list should be segmented.  When we onboard new clients who are importing their CSV files to our CRM software, we coach them to tag their list.  Tags, or segments, can be as simple as something like location.  A new client we have coming on was scheduled to have an event in Florida.  Had his list been tagged, he could have sent a special message just to those people as an example.


Another approach to emailing your list in segments is to market based on the buying habits of your list. For instance, if you have people who have purchased one of your products this year, they are likely good candidates to purchase another product from you this year.  Tagging your list allows you to write content specific to a key group which will likely lower unsubscribe rates and make you a more effective marketer.


At the end of the day, there are endless numbers of potential clients.  For our businesses to grow and succeed, we want our existing clients to give us referrals.  Those referrals will not happen if we are committing email sin and annoying the clients we have.

Susan Sly

Author Susan Sly

Susan Sly is considered a thought leader in AI, award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, and tech investor. Susan has been featured on CNN, CNBC, Fox, Lifetime, ABC Family, and quoted in Forbes Online, Marketwatch, Yahoo Finance, and more. She is the mother of four and has been working in human potential for over two decades.

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