Yes, you read that right. Unsubscribing is preferable to hitting the 'Report SPAM' button — of course!
It also indicates that your reader bothered to click on a link, gives you one last chance to make a good impression, and allows her to change her preferences to suit her engagement level with your company.
Okay, reality hits: chances are she just wants off your list, and that's okay. As we've said before, a large list isn't necessarily a good list. (Like the old Cheap Trick song goes, I want YOU to want ME!)
Andrew Kordek provides a good argument for putting an unsubscribe button at the top AND the bottom of your email. It makes it easy on your reader if he decides your emails are no longer worthwhile in his eyes.
A small business should also understand the repercussions of SPAM complaints. Most owners of small businesses have no intention of SPAM-ing anyone, let alone their valuable, and well-obtained email lists. But it happens (or at least the perception of SPAM happens), and the unfortunate fall-out can really affect their online businesses.
Did you know it only takes 4 SPAM complaints in 1000 to trigger an alert to your email hosting company. It almost seems unfair, but hosting companies must guard their services like hawks if they are to be fair to all of their customers. When one business accidentally crosses the line, everyone suffers. Worst-case-scenario is that all users of the same email system are put on probation until the problem stops.
Email companies exist to provide an affordable email solution for all of their customers. At MyTeamConnects we also want to add value to our small biz clients by adding social networking solutions, custom templates, and personalized human service in addition to our email value. Truly, we are a small company, and we don't compete with the big email companies (you know who they are) because we choose NOT to. As a small business ourselves, we can also share some marketing insights because we've been there in those small biz shoes.
Here are a few little nuggets of wisdom to prevent the dreaded SPAM complaints we're talking about:
- The unsubscribe options must be readily available — not hidden somewhere in your email, not fading into the background color, not in tiny print at the very bottom of the page only. We're big kids (with small businesses), after all. We don't need to prove to some unconnected boss that our list is growing very day. We can handle rejection…as long as it means our list is a quality list with people on it who actually want to hear from us. (That's my theory and I'm sticking to it!) The alternative is the "Report SPAM" button or your reader quietly ignoring your email until it doesn't even make it into his inbox.
- Give your readers the benefit of the doubt. Today's consumer is a savvy individual who can probably obtain a similar service or product to yours somewhere else because we all have so many choices available to us. Your email is an opportunity for the customer or prospect to get to know who you are. Respect their time and intellect. Treat them the way you want to be treated.
- Engage your reader with the element of surprise. Branding is not supposed to be boring, but we can confuse the two all too easily. Have you ever opened an email an saw the colors, the layout, etc. were the same as last week; BUT furthermore, the message was the same?That's not branding; that's boring.
- Especially for small businesses: Be yourself. You are your brand. Only send messages you would personally approve. Don't think "Advertising!" Think "Engagement…"
- Don't beat your reader over the head with the same exact message every week or for every campaign. Two examples:
- If you are offering a course, provide a teaser of the materials you that come with the class, testimonials from previous attendees, or a sampling of reasons one might find the course useful. Don't just say "Hey! Here's that course you need to sign up for. Register for the course right now."
- If you have a sale going on: talk about the reasons your reader might want to take advantage of the offer by expounding on the seasonal importance of your promotion, or describing the extras you're forwarding for early responders, or even why buying from YOU is better than buying from someone else. Don't just say "Hey! Why haven't you come into my shop yet this week; haven't you heard there's a sale going on?!"
I really believe that if you craft your emails to one person (yes, put a face on that person as you are writing your email) you will send better, more SPAM resistant, deliverable emails.
Try it and let me know how it turns out. Add your comments below.
Written by Jen McGahan