Marketing Emails Viewed Through Spam-Colored Glasses

Essential EM elements

Email marketing (EM) can be very effective as long as it is not viewed as spam. This is critical because when your emails are viewed or interpreted as spam (viewed through spam-colored glasses) they will not likely be read by recipients and may not even reach those recipients if they are trapped by spam filters installed by some Internet service providers. It is for this reason that business owners must work hard to ensure their email marketing campaign messages are not viewed as spam by either their recipients or the recipients’ Internet service providers. That having been said, we will take a closer look at various aspects of email marketing and, specifically, how business owners can ensure that their emails are not viewed through spam-colored glasses.

The distribution (or opt-in) list for an email marketing campaign is one of the essential elements which can help to ensure that emails sent by a business owner are not viewed as spam; but before this can be accomplished it is important to understand exactly what spam is, so let’s delve a little deeper into what spam really means. According to the CAN-SPAM Act of 2004, email marketers are required “…to include their physical address in the email as well as an “opt-out” link in every email designed to give consumers the ability to reach the marketer and tell them they no longer want to receive information from them after which the email sender must remove this email address from their data base within 10 business days.”

Essentially, the law prohibits marketers from sending any email which is unsolicited, and sent for the sole purpose of advertising or promoting a product or service. And yet – in spite of this law and all that it encompasses in the way of prohibitions – Internet users still receive mass quantities of spam on a daily basis; quantities which, for some Internet users, is a huge source of frustration even as other Internet users have become so used to the spam sent to their email address that they barely even notice these emails. Neither of these scenarios, however, will bode well for business owners who are using email marketing campaigns to promote their products or services, because Internet users who are angered by spam mail in general, may react harshly and report such emails – legitimate as they may be – to their Internet service providers.

Comprising the opt-in list

Furthermore, Internet users who do not even notice spam are likely to either automatically delete emails they previously opted-in for and/or might block the sender’s email address to prevent future emails from getting through to them, because they have reached the point where all emails to their inboxes are viewed through spam-colored glasses. So if you are a business owner who intend to initiate add email marketing to your already established business operations, or you’re already engaged in email marketing activities, you may find it helpful to pay special attention to your email distribution list and make sure to only include recipients who had specifically asked for additional information, since such actions will help to keep your emails from being viewed as spam.

You can take certain specific steps to accomplish these goals, the most important of which might be to invite individuals to subscribe to your opt-in list. In other words, simply ask visitors to your website – especially repeat visitors who seemed to have more than a casual interest in your content – to register with your website and specify whether or not they wish to receive future emails with additional information, advertisements or other helpful and useful tips. This ensures that the recipients of your emails are genuinely interested in your products and services and are not likely to view your emails as spam. Don’t allow your marketing emails to be viewed through spam-colored glasses!

Another way to ensure that this does not happen is to offer recipients the option of being removed from the distribution list with each email (an option required by CAN-SPAM Act, anyway). This is important even when the recipients specifically asked to receive these emails; but they are entitled to change their opinion at any time. Offering your email recipients the opportunity to remove themselves from a email distribution list whenever they want is worthwhile because it allows recipients to have some control in the situation. This is a stark contrast to spam in which the recipients feel as though they have no control over the situation and, therefore, no way to stop the spam from bombarding their inboxes on a daily basis.

De-spamming your business emails

Finally, business owners can help to ensure their email marketing campaign is not viewed as spam by including quality content in the emails they send to recipients of their email distribution list(s). This may include providing feature articles, product reviews or a series of short useful tips which will likely be hold interest to all who receive your emails. These emails may also include a soft sales pitch but such a sales pitch should not be the primary focus of your emails. Putting too much attention on the advertising is likely to lead recipients to assume that your email is nothing more than spam. Conversely, providing quality information which is useful to recipients and subtly urging them to perform an action such as making a purchase or investigating the details of a product can make the email seem much more worthwhile, and less like spam.

The Viability of Email Marketing for Your Business

A few email marketing basics

While the concept of email marketing can might be very simple to understand and comprehend, analyzing the benefits of this marketing type and making a decision as to whether or not it is right for your business can be much more complicated. The decision-making process is difficult because a business owner has to consider a number of different factors before making his/her decision. So whether or not email marketing could or will be a good idea for your business entails a decision-making process that, while difficult, must encompass some of the important factors that have been considered integral. Factors such as:

  • Target audience having the propensity to utilize Internet tools and resources;
  • Effectively stating an objective in messages delivered to that audience;
  • Eliminating any probability that the message(s) can viewed as spam.

Answers to these and other important factors must be carefully thought out, as the audience must be identified, the objective must be stated and the message must definitely be clear, unambiguous and to the point. It is only after careful consideration of these basic elements of email marketing that a business owner can determine whether or not this popular Web-based marketing type is right for his/her business. That having been said, of all the factors that must be carefully considered, perhaps the most important is the degree of certainty a business owner feels that a particular target audience will use the Web on a consistent basis. Before a business owner begins to invest money, energy and time into email marketing, s/he should at least qualify the target audience.

Qualifying a target audience

Qualifying your target audience is important because an email marketing campaign is not worthwhile if members of your target audience are not likely to use the Internet to purchase or research any products or services you offer. Even if they use the Internet for other purposes it is not worthwhile because they will not be likely to become online customers for your products or services. However, if you have a target audience who is very likely to use the Internet to purchase products or services you offer, and to research these items, email marketing is a great idea for your business. In this case it is absolutely worthwhile because you will be providing information which members of your target audience will find useful and which they may already be looking for elsewhere.

Next you should consider the products and services you offer in an attempt to determine whether or not your objective can be effectively stated in an email message. This is important because if you offer a product or service, the value and objective of which is difficult to explain, any emails you use for marketing are not likely to be understood or well received by the recipients of your email distribution list. This aspect of email marketing is important to understand before you get started because it is essential that you are able to convince potential customers of the need for your products and services in a clear and concise manner, not make them feel more confused.

Avoid the spam look-alike message

Finally, an important concept to consider is the possibility that your email messages might be viewed as spam if care is not taken to eliminate such a possibility. This is a very important concept because emails which are viewed as spam are not likely to be well received by recipients and may not even make it to the recipients inbox if their spam filters tag these emails as spam. Even if the emails do reach the intended recipients’ inbox, many Internet users have grown accustomed to weeding out spam rather quickly and will be quick to delete, without reading first, emails which are suspected to be spam.

Therefore, in determining whether or not the possibility exists that your emails could to be viewed as spam, it is important to consider the subject of your business and therefore the emails you send out. The importance of this aspect of email marketing is highlighted when dealing with certain subjects such as weight loss pills, which are likely to be viewed as spam more quickly than other items. So if you are in the business of marketing products or services that would likely cause your emails to be deemed spam, orchestrating an email marketing campaign may not be worthwhile, because such emails may never reach their intended recipients.