Many businesses are missing out on developing a powerful marketing channel for their business by refusing to look at a properly managed permission based email marketing system, fearing that it would be seen as spam. The benefits of email marketing are clear;
- Cost effective - Email marketing is extremely cost effective and has they lowest cost per contact of any direct marketing method
- Highly targeted - A properly managed email campaign is sent only to people that have indicated they are already interested in hearing your offer.
- Completely measurable - Email marketing allows for complete user tracking from the minute an email arrives in their inbox.
Unfortunately permission based email marketing is like the well behaved child that has arrived at school with an already bad reputation thanks to it's naughty older brother "Spam". In reality the two couldn't be more different; their similarity only lies with their delivery method. Permission based email marketing is sent in response to a customer deliberately requesting that marketing. Spam on the other hand is bulk mail that has been sent without permission or a request.
When someone fills in a form on your website marked with a clear instruction that they wish to receive email marketing from you in the future, this person has "opted in" to your newsletter. For the time being they wish to hear what you have to say and offer. Spam is generally sent without permission. Lists of names and email addresses are scraped off the Internet and bought and sold like a commodity to different companies, so they can tell you about the latest deal on Viagra. The permission a user gives you to continue sending them email is not indefinite which brings us to our second difference between Spam and Email Marketing - Opt out.
A customer may only be interested in your product or service for a short time. When they are looking at buying their first home they might be thrilled to receive offers from real estate agents or mortgage brokers. But the minute they've moved into their new home and are sipping their first chardonnay on their new balcony, this information is probably not going to be relevant any more. At this point your email newsletters have gone from valued, to just another email clogging up their inbox. This is where an opt-out comes in. An opt-out allows a user to instantly unsubscribe from email marketing they are no longer interested in by a single click (Flirt Engage is rather strict on it's users and will not allow any email to be sent out that doesn't feature a clearly visible opt-out option - this is also a legal requirement in some countries, so we like to play it safe). Spammers generally don't care if you want their email or not - they didn't ask you if you wanted to receive the first email so they're generally not going to offer you an option to not receive any future emails from you. They also use some fairly nefarious means to hide who they actually are.
Sender clearly identified
A well produced email template should be designed so that a customer immediately knows which company sent it. Your logo, send address, link to your website and your real contact information. Unlike most spammers, email marketers want their customers to contact them so these generally feature quite prominently. It's a common technique for spammers to pretend to be a legitimate well known company with subject lines like "News from Microsoft" and fake email addresses listed in the subject line.
Irrelevant subject lines are common amongst spam, the idea being that if they trick you into believing their email is from a genuine company you might open the email and discover their offer to increase your "size" or place a virus on your computer. As an email marketer your message is genuine. You've already gained permission, given them the option to remove themselves from your lists and clearly identified who you are, so no trickery should be needed.
In short; Permission based email marketing involves sending targeted messages to specific customers who have indicated they wish to open such offers or information. Spamming on the other hand involves sending untargeted and often deceptive messages to anyone with an email account. Don't find yourself left out of such a strong marketing channel for your business.