Mail & Me – Part 1: The Basics of Email Marketing


The Indexed Web contains at least 4.85 billion pages. That’s roughly 1 web page for every 2 human beings on our home planet. Among all of this pages, there is one group, a very, very special group of pages. Your website. You have to compete with approximately 4.85 billion pages. The odds are never in our favor.

Today our readers have too much information and our job is to make sure he does not forget our very special group of web pages. Fortunately, there is a  solution to this problem and it’s being used by every competitor you have. Its name is Email Marketing. The art of emailing relevant content to the user that decided to subscribe to your newsletter. This is still one of (if not THE) best methods to keep your readers fateful to your site.

In this series of articles, we’ll be covering the Whys, Hows and Whats of email marketing, starting with…

[… wait for it…]

The Basics

As everything in life, we’ll learn how to crawl first, so then later we can walk and run. These tips are my take on how you should perceive email marketing.

Ask for permission

What do you call an email you didn’t ask for? SPAM! Email marketing is based on trust. By emailing people that don’t want to hear from you not only you are NOT converting that reader into a client you’re also creating an enemy. Email is personal, it’s like the users home on the internet. You don’t break into a person’s living room, you ask them permission to come in. There are a lot of applications that can manage your mailing lists and we’ll talk about that later on the series. Right now, keep in mind that you need to ask permission to send mail.

Set and deliver expectations
When someone joins your email list, they are expecting to receive something valuable in return. Make sure that your audience fully understands the benefits of subscribing to your mailing list. Explain how often you’re going to mail them, give out exclusive offers for subscribers or anything that makes them feel special. Of course, you need to keep those promises. A quick way to lose readers is to fail to deliver them good content. (Guess what’s coming next…)

Send relevant and valuable content
You got permission to enter the house, yay! But if you want to keep coming back to talk about your product you need to be useful and interesting. If you start to be boring, repetitive and annoying, the reader is going to close the front door, add a lock to it and put your picture in a “Forbidden” board. We receive a lot of information every day and with this huge amount of data, we start to cut what isn’t necessary. Wich leads us to our next point:

Make it simple to unsubscribe
Remember, the user is trusting in you to keep sending him the best content available. You need to trust him too. Usually, in the footer of your e-mail, you should have an unsubscribe button.

But this trust relationship is not the only reason why you should make the process of unsubscribing easy. You want your reader as long as he is happy with your work. Angry customers are bad for business, so if he doesn’t like you anymore, let him go. It’s better than being flagged as a spammer and losing your actually faithful clients, right?

Respect the reader’s privacy
Don’t sell/share your mailing list. If you do that, you are betraying the trust this user had on you. This is another quick way to destroy your image on the internet. Keep this valuable information to yourself because if a user ever finds out you’re the one responsible for the fact that he is receiving the latest news in sexual impotency he’s not going to like you anymore.

While there is a lot more to talk about when the subject is email marketing, these tips are what you need to think about when starting out on this area. Remember the trust relationship you have with your readers and they’ll (almost) never leave you.

Next week we’ll be talking about ESP’s. How to chose one, how to use one and why to use one.

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