It’s taken a while but more businesses are discovering the delights of using email to communicate with their contacts every day, or so it seems. And once they start, there’s just no stopping them! Sam and I have both received mailings recently that really do break all the rules of good practice; hence this post.
1. Don’t email everyone you’ve ever met
I’m sure some people just go through the piles of business cards they’ve collected over the months or years and add them all to their email contact list. And/or they go through the member directory of the business groups they belong to and add those names too. Not everyone is going to remember who you are. Not everyone is going to be interested in what you have to say.
Best Practice Tip: Ask for permission to add people to your email marketing list when you meet them.
2. Don’t email jokes, cute photos or ‘chain mail’ to your business contacts
I know they can be cute, hilarious or tug at the heart strings – but I’m going to be a killjoy and say they don’t have a place in business and they don’t do much for your professional image. Speaking with a friend at the weekend she just deletes the emails without reading them now because the pictures take so long to download.
Best Practice Tip: If someone has entrusted you with their business email address, then business is what it should be used for.
3. Don’t mass email from your computer Email programme
Once your list grows to over 50 people, it’s wise not to take the risk of sending emails to everyone from your Outlook or Outlook Express programme (or Mac Equivalent). Your email provider will pick up the activity and may take the view that you’re spamming your contacts. At best you’ll receive a warning, at worst your email account will be suspended – not good for business or your online reputation.
Best Practice Tip: Use a professional email service for your larger business mailings (see our March 2009 newsletter for suggestions)
4. Don’t make your contacts’ email addresses public
If you must send small mailings from your computer email programme, for heaven’s sake don’t lump everyone into the ‘To’ or ‘CC’ fields where they can be seen by everyone else. This practice makes it easy for your less scrupulous contacts to spam all your contacts with their messages too, which won’t make you very popular. Read this cautionary tale.
Best Practice Tip: Send the Email to yourself and use the ‘BCC’ field for everyone else. (click on ‘CC’ to reveal it).
You might also be interested in listening to this short interview with Robin Houghton of Egg Box Marketing on the subject of permission email marketing. Click here to listen
If you know anyone who could benefit from reading this post, please do us all a favour and show it to them