Etiquette on Emailing to Subscription Email-Groups


You belong to an email group, and you can submit to it for advice, celebration, encouragement, and more. These groups exist for a variety of industries, from design to finance. You name it, and there is most likely a little online society sending emails to a Yahoo or Google group, or some other generator of list groups. These lists can be very valuable, by way of leading to new clients, sold tickets to an event, participants in a study, feedback to a logo, experienced warnings about participation with a certain company and more. If you do this right, you can earn new clients, increase web traffic, and build relationships. Do this wrong, and you will have branded yourself as just another email to be deleted.

As people's participation online grows, so will ways to flourish, and ways to make fauxpas in a public, usually permanent way online. You want to get the most out of groups that develop online. Here's how:

DO target your message.
For whatever you are promoting online, you must target the message to the group you are sending to. What has become time consuming, as online outlets expand, is the need to target these messages. This doesn't mean writing 1 targeted message about your topic or product. It means changing it for each audience. Yes, you may write this 5 times. Which also means - don't send it all at the same time. Spread it out over the day.

DON'T send the *exact* same message to different groups.
Arg! If you belong to several different groups - be that membership sites, Facebook groups, whatever - so do other people. And there is a very good chance that a percentage of those other people belong to the same group as you. Which means that, if you send out a message to one group, and then send out the same message to another group, a handful of people that received your email received it from both group email lists. Double that if you sent it also to your personal email address book. You can easily send the same message 5 times to 1 person. You know what this means? Spam. People will look at it the 2nd time, and think "I think I just saw this...". Then on the 3rd time, they'll say "Who IS this person?" and on the 4th time, they will say: "Go away!". This could cause them to unsubscribe from a group or mark you as spam in their email program. You don't want that.

DO realize that nobody knows you in these groups.

Ok, some people may know you, but maybe 10% actually remember your name and know how valuable your insights are, or how nice you are. The other 90% really don't know you, especially if you rarely participate in the group. If you are usually quiet, yet read group emails a lot, go ahead and introduce yourself when you first email. Thank everyone for reading or taking the time to help. You don't have to introduce yourself every time, but depending on how often you submit to the group, you'll be able to adjust your tone and assume that they know you. You'll be able to tell how known you are based on people's reactions to you, which include email replies to you, traffic to your website from your submitted email, etc.

DON'T think that poeple read the subject line.
If you write a message to the group, and title the subject line something clever, and the next part of your sentance relies on having read that subject line, you have just written something very cryptic. Your attempt to reach out has resulted in: "Huh?" You must say who you are, and why you are writing, espcially if it's your first time contributing to the group.

DO write an introduction, and end it with a link.
Emails are getting to be a lot these days. The more content, the less likely your email is going to get read. Write a short piece, one paragraph long. Most likely, there is a way you can include more information on a web page or a blog post. Once you do that, copy the URL from the address bar and paste it into your message to your group. You don't want to just write one or two sentences if no one knows who you are or what you are talking about, so think about the balance. Draw your readers in, and give them reasons to want to read more.

Please don't do this. We beg you. You must get creative, or you will not get a response to your posting. You must think about the group you are emailing to, and why these people in particular would benefit from what you are saying or offering. Before you dismiss this warning, think very carefully about if you really do this. Even if you and other people belong to 5 different email groups, you belong to those groups for different reasons and different motivations. Consider your audience very carefully, and rewrite the email in order to appeal to them.

Can you shoot yourself in the foot when submitting to email groups?
You need to network, but mind your words. If people see the same exact message three times, their reactions may be to turn you off, instead of sign up to whatever you are doing. Send to multiple groups, but put the effort into changing your message by targeting it to the specific group.