As email becomes ever more prominent in the typical marketing mix, we can expect a few slip-ups and oversights. According to Max Kalehoff—writing at the AttentionMax blog—telltale symptoms of lax email practices include an ignorance of basic etiquette and less-than-rigorous spam compliance.

"I'm not going to out anyone (including a prominent technology analyst firm that refused for six months to remove me from its email database)," he notes, "but I would like to remind everyone of four simple principles that all businesses should work very hard to follow." Here are Kalehoff's email-marketing rules to live by, to show your customers you care:

  1. Act as if an email address is a living, breathing human being. The reason? If you treat recipients like data on a spreadsheet, they're liable to treat your campaigns like spam.
  2. Don't assume you have permission if you haven't asked for it. Do you want email messages from anyone who manages to get their hands on your address? Of course not. So send offers and newsletters only when you know they'll be welcome.
  3. Make it easier for subscribers to opt out than to opt in. Kalehoff advocates a prominent, simple unsubscribe button. "It's not OK to hide your opt-out links with gray text on white background," he says, "or [to] require tedious click-throughs and confusing forms in order to opt out of an email marketing program."
  4. If a subscriber wants off your list, let him or her go—for real. "I can't believe how many big, savvy companies violate this rule," says Kalehoff. "When recipients opt out, don't keep their email activated in your marketing program. [Honor] requests for opt-out immediately."

The Po!nt: Treat them like they're special—regardless of their numbers. A little common courtesy goes a long way with email subscribers—and is sure to generate better ROI.

Source: AttentionMax. Read the full post.

Looking for great email marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Email Marketing Factbook (May 2010). With 129 pages and 90 charts, it is full of relevant email marketing stats and trends. The Email Marketing Factbook is Part 1 of the complete Digital Marketing Factbook (our 296-page full report).

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