The Most Important, Can’t-Ignore Law of Email Marketing

August 15, 2011
By Lisa Barone in Online Marketing

Hey you! Yes…you, the one sending out all those email newsletters. We need to talk.

I mean, sure, we’ve already talked to some degree. We’ve talked about best practices for email marketing, how email is NOT dead and why it’s actually the Batman to social media’s Robin, but NONE of that matters if you ignore the most important email marketing law of them all. Get this wrong and the rest of it simply doesn’t matter. I can’t believe we haven’t talked about this already.

Do you know what that most important law is?

Do you?

It’s understanding when you’re allowed to add someone to your email list and hit them with a message.

I know what you’re thinking. “This is common sense!” And you would hope it was. But it’s not. I know because currently sitting in my inbox are messages from companies who I never gave permission to spam me. I mean, message me. Lots of them. So perhaps a quick Monday lesson is in order

Ready?

When Is It Okay To Sign Someone Up For Your Company Newsletter?

  1. When they’ve told you, through a double opt-in, that they want to receive your newsletter and get updates about your company.

When is it NOT Okay To Sign Someone Up For Your Company Newsletter?

  1. After they visited your company’s booth during a trade show and were forced to hand you a business card that contained their email address.
  2. When they gave you their email address for some other purpose other than signing up for an email newsletter. For example, to register on your Web site, to leave a blog comment, to enter a contest, to fill out a contact form.
  3. When you got someone’s email address because you both attended a mutual friend’s wedding and she gave you her business card so you could stay in touch because you went to high school together and she was feeling a bit nostalgic. [True story.]
  4. When you received someone’s email by guessing.  [first@domain.com, firstlast@domain.com…]
  5. When you stole their email address from somewhere else on the Web.
  6. When you purchased their email address from a soulless email list.
  7. Any other reason that does not include them double opting into your email newsletter.

Got it? Because there is no greater way to piss off your customers/potential customers/people who used to be your friends than to sign them up for something without their permission. You invade my inbox with your unsolicited nonsense and you shouldn’t look too surprised when I show up angry at your front door.

With a bat.

We clear? Good.

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