10 Email Marketing Etiquette Rules Every Business Should Follow
Communication is one of the most important tools humans have ever learned to use. Like any other tool, it has its own application instructions that may differ depending on what you use it for. Personal, business, workplace, etc. - every type of interaction with other people requires different patterns of behavior.
You may give your colleague a friendly slap on the back, but you hardly do it to your boss. You can write your friend Hi, Jo. Busy now? Need to talk; yet your business partner would likely receive something like Dear, John. When would it be suitable for you to discuss our new client policies? Your body language, the way you talk, what you tell and when determine whether you make or break particular relationships.
However, there are fundamental issues applicable to any kind of communication: respect, politeness, and courtesy make basic good manners that can help you build lasting and profitable relationships with people from different backgrounds.
The same good manners should be applicable to email communication guidelines as well. Email marketing belongs to the written type of communication, meaning you have only one way to make a good impression - take full advantage of words and visuals and arrange them in the most profitable way.
What It Means to Be Polite in Email Marketing
1. Ask for permission.
Just because someone visited your website once or twice, or shared your Facebook post doesn’t mean these people want to hear from you on a regular basis. You need a personal permission from every customer you plan to email, and the best way to obtain such permission is to implement Double Opt-In. By asking people to confirm their subscription, you both keep inactive or fake email addresses out of your contact list and show your new subscribers you value their trust.
2. Watch your language.
Your audience most likely consists of different people of different age, sex, and different backgrounds. The content itself set aside, choose the proper language for communication and stick to this choice throughout all your campaigns. Casual and friendly or more formal and official - whatever you opt for, be consistent and show you understand who you’re trying to connect.
3. Don’t rely on body language.
Because you can’t support your words with a smile, shoulder shrug or eyewink, be careful when trying to communicate a certain tone. A joke, sarcasm, irony, excitement or wordplay might be interpreted differently by different groups of the audience. So when choosing a certain potentially dual phrase, make sure its meaning won’t be misunderstood. When applicable, consider using emoji (the most popular ones for the start) to transfer the mood of the message.
4. Fulfill your promises.
Many companies have implemented advanced subscription forms, asking users about preferable send time and how often they would like to receive their emails. It’s also become a widespread practice to include in the welcome email a little survey on the preferred topics, which is surely a great idea.
However, not all senders do take into account the choice made by subscribers. Don’t be one of them. If your readers chose to hear from you on Fridays in the evening only, respect their preferences. Irrelevant campaigns sent on the wrong time and more often than agreed don’t contribute to the loyalty of your subscribers. It’s better to implement a basic subscription form than to ask more but not commit.
5. Your subject line shouldn’t be deceptive.
You don’t want to send misleading subject lines. If you write to inform about new arrivals, tell it in your subject line. If you plan to remind about the expiring deal, tell it in your subject line. If your campaign is all about recent blog posts…. well, you’ve got the idea. You’re welcome to experiment with subject lines all you want, but don’t try to force more opens with irrelevant text. Nobody likes when their expectations aren’t met.
Be Polite! Be Professional!
6. Review your emails for typos.
Nothing kills the love of your subscribers more than an email full of misspellings and grammatical errors. And the worst of them is a misspelled recipient name; it generates 17% of unsubscribes. Your emails should be of as high standards as your service, otherwise people would be forced to conclude: if their campaigns have so many mistakes, their product may be as bad.
It’s also important to check all the practical info, if you include in your campaign some offers or special deals: actual price, expiry date, correct promo codes, countdown timer, etc.
If people waste their time on no longer relevant offers for even once, chances are good they may not want to open your next campaign.
7. Double check your links and images.
An email with broken links or images stains your credibility as a company. With today’s utterly intensive competition, email campaigns shouldn’t fail to generate business. The whole point of the email is to let recipients interact with your messages in real time, and your task is to provide them with the easiest way to do that.
8. Don’t be afraid to apologize if needed.
Mistakes are inevitable; your reaction, however, is optional. Don’t be afraid that owning your mistakes will bruise your brand reputation. People understand that we all can mess up sometimes, and admitting your failure is the best way to bounce back. It takes one good apology email to balance out a negative impression left by the wrong email.
9. Make your emails mobile-friendly.
Yes, today, mobile friendliness of your campaigns is as sign of good business manners as careful grammar. If you want to reach as many customers, your emails must be both readable in multiple email clients and properly displayed on mobile devices. For example, in the eSputnik system, it’s easy to preview an email template with one click:
Such option makes your business a big service as mobile usage will continue to grow, and more and more people will open emails on smartphones. The more satisfying their experience would be, the more chances your business would have to succeed in the upcoming mobile marketing era.
10. Provide a simple sign out option.
Be able to let go of your subscribers if they’re no longer interested in further communication. Add an understandable and easy-to-use unsubscribe form to every email you send. Not only is it the official anti-spam requirement, but it also gives your readers a choice. And you avoid a reputation of an annoying spammer. Don’t worry: if you share valuable content, few people would like to say goodbye.
At its basic, email marketing etiquette is rather simple: always ask for permission, be polite and respectful of your customers’ choices and don’t get too intrusive. Make sure your email campaigns are the embodiment of your whole business concept: client-oriented, useful and improvement-friendly.