If you send emails to groups of people, you are a spammer. We don’t typically think of ourselves this way, but consider the mindset of anyone with the ability to send an email to many people. When you are the sender, you have to decide what you think is important to people. And of course, you tend to think that if you can just get this message to people, they will think it is important, too.
But will they really think it is important?
Many people won’t even open the email (unless you magically always have an open rate of 100%). Instead, some people will it open it, and some people won’t open it. This is just like a spammer. When they send an email, they think some people will find the email important enough to open it. And some people won’t open it.
But that spammer very well could have an open rate close to yours. So what makes you different than a spammer?
You could of course argue that people signed up for your list, indicating that they must have some desire to receive emails from you, but this is likely only partially true.
What Did Your List Members Really Sign Up For?
But you have to ask what they really signed up for.
- Did they sign up after you lured them with a free download of some kind?
- Did you promise a discount code?
- Did you promise they would be notified of some upcoming release?
None of these common practices are bad, they are somewhat misleading. If the initial motivation for joining your list was to get something specific, it is a good idea to ask yourself how far your email topics have strayed from this initial offering.
How Frequently Are You Sending Emails?
How frequently are you sending your members emails? How do you think this compares to what they expected when joining your list? You need to check your practices frequently, monitor your open rates, and monitor how many people leave your list after each email.
Practical Changes to Make to Your EMail Practices
First of all, don’t send email “blasts”. Rid your lexicon of that description. Your email practices should be much more sensitive.
Second, notify your list members of how frequently you plan to send them emails. Do this in the initial email, and include it in each email going forward. If you say once a week, then stick to that routine at all costs.
Third, don’t use holidays as a way to sneak an email message in. Just because you have the ability to send an email on any given holiday doesn’t mean you should. Unless that holiday is so relevant to your mission, and your list members lives’ would be worse off without your email, then don’t send it. And being worse off is not the same as being slightly better. I get the sense that people send the holiday emails because they think they are somehow enriching the receivers’ lives, but I doubt that. Instead, think, “If I don’t send this email, will my list members miss it?”
Let me tell you the answer; it is doubtful that they will miss it.
Be sensitive to the personal nature of email and don’t abuse the power you have to get into someone’s inbox. Otherwise, you are no different than a spammer.
Need help with your non-profit or small business email marketing plan? Get in touch; I’d be happy to help.
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