in: Newsletter Marketing
by: Katie Hellmuth Martin
You just finished inputting a lot of email addresses into your e-newsletter program. You got these email addresses from networking groups you'd attended in the last month. You never mentioned your newsletter to these folks, because who has time for such mundane details. You worked all day on a perfectly worded email newsletter, and you pressed send to your big newsletter list of people anxiously waiting to hear from YOU! Seconds after sending, you get slapped with your first Unsubscribe notice from your email newsletter company. And then another, and another. Why? Was what you said so bad? Were you offensive? Irrelevant? No. You were just rude.
BUT THEY LIKED ME!
If you met someone at a networking event, shook hands, shared clinks of a cocktail, exchanged business cards, this does not mean that you can now date on your newsletter. It is common practice for business owners to add people they meet to their newsletters. Just because it's common practice doesn't mean that it should be done, or is even legal.
People's inboxes are sacred and very crowded. When a person is in the middle of their busy day fielding emails from those they are expecting, they won't be expecting to see your brand in their inbox. When they do, they'll crinkle their eyes and say "Huh?!" and click unsubscribe. You'll be lucky if they don't report your newsletter as Spam. Because adding their email without their permission is illegal under the CAN-SPAM Act, rude, and is a sure-fire way to earn a high unsubscribe rate.
DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY
If you're using an e-newsletter tool like MailChimp, Constant Contact or Vertical Response, chances are you are emailed by that platform the address of each person who unsubscribed. As a person who sends a lot of newsletters, I know this, and if you add me to your newsletter without asking me, it is now violating my inbox. I know you, and I know that you're going to get an email that I unsubscrbed. And I feel badly about that. But it's not that I don't like you. It's just that I didn't want your business email because I'm keeping up with a lot of business information and yours isn't in my head-space yet. Doesn't mean that I don't think you have a great idea or product or service, it just means that it doesn't fit into my work email address, and you should have illegally added it to my gmail address where I'd be less likely to unsubscribe because all of my newsletters go there. But, you didn't give me the chance because you added the email on my business card. Grrr.
Plus, and this is a little known fact, if a reader hasn't been reading your email newsletters for a long time, then their email program like iMail or AOL may take action on your friend's behalf, and start auto-moving your newsletter to your friend's Spam folder. Not only that, but that email program may automatically send a Complaint to the newsletter platform you sent the newsletter from. It happened to me, and can happen to you. My own mother didn't read every single one of my newsletters (how could she not? what I say is so very important and relevant to her world!!), and AOL moved those puppies straight to her Junk box and sent a Complaint. :(......
DON'T SEND A MASS EMAIL TO MAGAZINE EDITORS OR TV PRODUCERS
Please don't. They will delete you right away. Not only did you break the law to get into their inbox, but you didn't properly pitch them your product or service. Whenever you email the media (aka "pitch the media") you need to tell a specific editor at a specific magazine (or TV show, or newspaper, or radio) why their audience will love your brand. This cannot be done via a mass email to loads of other editors who you just wrote to in a most generic style to appeal to all of them. Plus, they may flag your email address as Junk or Spam and then you'll have a hard time getting back into that inbox even if you are sending a personal note.
DON'T TROLL FOR BLOGGERS' EMAILS
Yup, this is as bad as lonely dudes in their rooms who troll the Internet for anyone's email address that is posted online, and then send them a phishing scam where they send you a fake email from a bank or a trusted brand like AT&T or something. If you find a blogger that covers brands like yours, and you'd think you'd be a great fit, don't go the super passive aggressive (and illegal) route of digging to find the blog's email address and adding it to your list. Bloggers are real people with real inboxes. Your brand is as yet unknown to them. You might make the coolest purses, but when your unknown brand name shows up in the blogger's inbox, that blogger is very likely to look at the name, not recognize it, and whisk your newsletter to the trash and hopefully doesn't mark you as spam.
USE A NEWSLETTER PROGRAM
Don't BCC (blind carbon copy) an entire list. You know, when you send an email to yourself, but you've filled in about 50 names into the BCC area? Yeah, don't do that. Do yourself a favor and start an account at MailChimp or any other email program that manages mass emails. They will be 3 steps ahead of you in terms of filling in legal things that need to be in your email (like your office address, an unsubscribe link, etc).
Earn your way into your new friend's inbox! Ask their permission in person when you see them, and only if you think they will really want it, and really benefit from it.