By Accumul8 Advantage

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I Hate Spam Emails! How to Avoid Being a Spammer.

And improve email open rates with these tips.

My all-time favourite comedy show would have to be Monty Python – absolutely ridiculous skits on mundane topics to create LOL moments of memorable comedy.

One of the more memorable moments is the Spam skit which features the fascinating lyrics – Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam (as I said, absolutely ridiculous).

Processed pork shoulder and ham has nothing to do with email marketing unless you have responsibility for selling Spam online (my commiserations – Have you consulted a career counsellor?)

Ban spam

Of course, this is just an obvious segue into the topic of spam email which is vital for anyone who needs to send emails to a list whether to inform, entertain or sell.

Making sure you do not fall foul of spamming laws and the spam settings of your email service provider are critical to the success of any email campaign and the overall “health” of your list.

This topic came up while talking to an accounting firm commencing a monthly email to their clients. The current email frequency is the May/June “get your tax stuff in” and the Christmas “Seasons Greetings – we’re disappearing for 3 weeks”.

This firm is facing a few problems here.

First, although they have email addresses for the clients, these were collected as part of the name/address/DOB initial data collection when the clients came on board. The onboarding process did not ask for permission to email with marketing/promotional material so there was no express permission (the best kind of permission).

Without express permission, the sender must rely on implied permission. Implied permission derives from the nature of the existing relationship. The firm can argue that this permission exists for existing clients, provided the content is relevant to the accountant/client relationship.

As the proposed email content, in this case, is information about finance-related issues, we agreed that implied permission exists.

The second issue is the increased frequency. If a list goes from receiving 2 emails per year to at least 14, there is likely to be pushback from some of the list. Some will send angry replies, some will unsubscribe, and others will not open the emails (hopefully, none will report your email as spam!).

Not surprisingly, the firm didn’t want to upset any clients.

We decided that the first email would be a “warning” email to advise clients of the proposed change and to promote the benefits of the new emails –

  • Short
  • Informative
  • Easy to read

And, of course, we would highlight the ability to unsubscribe from the list.

“But, if they unsubscribe, they won’t receive the emails we currently send about tax & Christmas.”

I explained that it is possible to segment the list, so we would still have one list for all clients (to receive the administrative type emails) but be able to identify clients who do not want to receive the monthly emails.

Engagement matters

The level of engagement determines the health of your email list.

When emailing existing customers/clients, you expect a higher percentage to open the email to engage with the content.

Maintaining that engagement is the key to a healthy list.

Emails added to the spam filter

The content must be –

  • Relevant
  • Informative
  • Easy to read (avoid jargon)
  • Encourage participation (e.g., quizzes, useful downloads/links and comments)
  • Include humour where appropriate
  • Highlight the firm’s personality/culture

Having an engaged list will aid the delivery process. Emails sent to an engaged list are more likely to end up in the Primary tab (in Gmail terms) instead of ending up in the Updates or Promotions tab, where the recipient can easily ignore your email.

Or worse, ending up in spam!

How do you help your emails through the spam filters?

  • Ask your customers/clients to whitelist your email address. Email programs all have different ways of doing this. You could prepare a simple instruction sheet to explain how to do that for each email program to encourage that step.
  • Get permission upfront. Low open rates and high deletions will flag your emails as possible spam to your email marketing program, even for those wanting to read your content.
  • Be legal. The laws governing spam emails are relatively straightforward – permission and simple unsubscribe options will usually be enough. If your emails are being sent to Europe or some US states, you may need to complete more research to make sure you comply with the specific requirements of those jurisdictions.
  • Use a reliable email marketing program. The programs will help you stay legal and avoid subject lines/content that may appear “spammy”. The best software providers have a vested interest in keeping spammers off their platforms so they will be reviewing your deliverability statistics.
  • Eliminate typos etc. Spam emails often contain errors or are poorly written, so your email needs to be (almost) error-free to avoid the filters.
  • Be careful with subject lines. Look at your spam folder and see how many of those emails have subject lines with $, multiple !, discounts, bonuses, emojis and CAPS in them. Again, your email marketing program should highlight potential problems for you.
  • Delete disengaged subscribers. As noted above, the open rate will affect how the filters view your emails. Deleting email addresses that are not responsive will improve the open rate as a higher percentage of the list will be active.
  • Is the sender recognisable? The From field is always displayed in the recipient’s Inbox. If the recipient does not easily recognise the name, the email will likely be ignored or deleted. Always use the name of your business or a real person’s name in conjunction with the business name.

So, there you have it.

  • Make sure you have permission to email the list
  • Make sure you are clear with expectations (frequency and content)
  • Use software to manage the list and the emailing process
  • Keep your list engaged and
  • Enjoy the process.

Whether you are using emails to inform, entertain or sell (or all 3), make sure you take the steps necessary to ensure your brilliant communications reach your audience who are eager to consume your message.

And, if you’d like help to get your email marketing campaign underway, let me know and we can discuss how I can assist.

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Accumul8 Advantage offers a range of copywriting services for business owners in the accounting and financial services industry. With over 40 years of experience as an accountant and financial planner, Allan Johnson is the first choice for financial content that boosts your brand and attracts the right clients.


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