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How to Avoid the Spam Filter

How can marketers achieve their objective of higher sales by using e-mail marketing and without annoying their readers?

By
Diane S. Thieke,

How to Avoid the Spam Filter

by Diane S. Thieke

We all get too much e-mail, much of it in the form of e-newsletters and promotions. Even marketers find the overwhelming amount of spam e-mail to be annoying.

Since marketers are part of the problem, how do we achieve our objective of higher sales – when e-mail marketing is known to be one of the most effective ways to communicate our news, promote our products, and generate quality sales leads – while staying on good terms with our readers?

Here are two ways: get permission first and create valuable content to share.

Get Permission First

One huge benefit to first seeking permission to e-mail a potential customer is that doing so will keep you from violating the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The law outlines requirements that businesses must follow when sending commercial email. These are:

  1. Make sure your originating domain name and e-mail address clearly identify the person or business that initiated the e-mail.

  2. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the e-mail.

  3. Clearly mark the e-mail as a promotion.

  4. Include a valid postal address for your library.

  5. Provide a way for recipients to opt-out of future e-mails.

  6. When a recipient requests to unsubscribe, remove them promptly from the list.

  7. Monitor third-party vendors carefully, if they are e-mailing on your behalf.

The Federal Trade Commission’s full Compliance Guide is available here. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission has issued rules that prohibit sending unwanted messages to wireless devices.

The need to comply with spam laws and to avoid e-mails getting caught in spam filters has led marketers to develop “permission-based marketing” as a discipline. The general idea is that you build your e-mail list based on those who have explicitly said that they want to receive communications from you.

Seth Godin, the marketing guru who is credited with coining the phrase, describes his vision for permission marketing on his blog. Permission can be obtained by asking people to sign up for your newsletter at the counter or on your website.

Create Valuable Content

Over the years, I’ve subscribed to many newsletters and promotions. Each January, I review all of my subscriptions and unsubscribe to the ones that I feel aren’t worthwhile. I do, however, keep the ones that consistently provide new, interesting, and useful information.

The best way to increase the number of subscribers on your e-mail marketing list is to create and share content that helps solve your customers’ problems. Focus on creating tips, how-to guides, and trend articles that relate to your products and services, but don’t seek to sell them.

You’ll soon find the ROI on your email marketing program rising.

Diane S. Thieke is the president and founder of Simply Talk Media, a digital media marketing consultancy. With more than 25 years in digital media and technology, she helps clients build stronger relationships with their customers and communities, using both social and traditional channels. Follow her on Twitter at @thiekeds or visit her blog at www.simplytalkmedia.com/blog.

E-mail Message photo from Shutterstock.

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