Secret #2: Respect Your
Just say, "NO!" to
Spam is any unsolicited
commercial email. If the prospect didn't give permission to be
contacted, it's spam. The best way to
build trust is to give power to the people. Opt-in email marketing
gives consumers that power when it respects the right of
individuals to choose who may do what with their personal
information. To qualify for opt-in, people specifically elect to
receive email about topics they choose. They can opt in to receive
email from you or opt out to unsubscribe from your lists. Opt-in
lists always produce more respondents, who spend more and become
much more loyal customers than opt-out lists.
The four "respect rockets" boost email response to
a higher orbit
Disclose exactly what you are going
to do with your list members' information. It pays to respect the
privacy promise made in that full disclosure. Don't go sneaking
around on your website visitors' computers or stalk people across
the Internet with invasive cookies and spyware. What's more, be
vigilant that your list vendors are not doing that as well. One of
the worst violations of trust and abuse of honest disclosure is
appending email addresses to postal mail files of customers or
prospects without their prior permission. Online consumers hate
that. A recent study by Forrester showed that 76% of respondent were
adamantly opposed to email appending. When customers are that
annoyed, they will let you know it by taking their business
Give people choices to opt in or
out of your list. Don't automatically assume people want to get your
email just because they visited your website or even if they made a
purchase either online or offline. The mortal sin of many online and
offline marketers is to assume that just because someone has bought
something from you, you now have the right to spam them mercilessly
or sell their private information to a third party (who spams them
mercilessly). Frankly, it seriously annoys most buyers when you do
that without asking their permission first. If I buy a ticket to a
Broadway show, does that give the theater the right to start
emailing and telephoning me with offers? Does it give them the right
to sell my name to a third party so they can bombard me with
unsolicited offers by email, phone, fax and postal mail? Absolutely
not! The same goes for opening a credit card or any other customer
relationship I have with any vendor, regardless of whether it is
online or off.
Give customers the choice of
whether or not they want to receive offers from you by mail, email,
fax or phone. You may collect fewer names, but the list members who
give you permission will be your very best, most profitable
customers. Not only is this smart marketing, it is also the law.
Manage customer choice correctly and you will drastically reduce the
risk of being blacklisted, sued, or in extreme cases — prosecuted,
fined and even jailed.
Give list members access to managing the flow of
marketing email. And be responsive to your list
members' choices. Opt-in fails if you cannot
quickly update you list members' personal
choices. Allowing list members easy access to
online forms so they can manage subscriptions is
simple and affordable to set up and maintain.
This form of customer relationship management is
one of the most profitable features of any
well-run opt-in program.
Respect individual privacy and a person's preferences about what
information to receive, when and how often they want to receive it.
For some list members, weekly contact may be wonderful. For others,
weekly contact will quickly annoy them. Let the list member decide
and pay attention to accelerating unsubscription rates. Unsubs are
the "canaries in the coal mine". They're your early warning that
something is fatally wrong with your opt-in program.
Once is good, twice is better
Building a good list starts with getting permission.
The best way to do that is to employ the principles of 100% opt-in,
also known as "double opt-in". With double opt-in, every list member
confirms that they want to receive your email. Sounds like a lot of
hard work, right? Well, the truth is it's not so hard and there's a
big payoff in higher response rates and sales conversion for those
who do the work. What's more, I use double opt-in as the cornerstone
of my Instant Offer Email Campaigns
that consistently generate an average of 500% greater response than
traditional email blasts.
Opt in or out whenever you want
The best implementation of opt-in also lets people
opt out or choose exactly the type of email they want to receive.