A couple of weeks ago, when I announced that I am writing an ebook about blog marketing, I decided that I should step up my broader marketing game a bit and send out an email to my contacts.
Here is the email that I sent -
Then I started seeing some tweets like this from the community:
— John Doherty (@dohertyjf) July 2, 2012
— Greg Shuey (@shuey03) July 2, 2012
And I received this email:
To which this email correspondence took place -
And I received this email from Mailchimp -
I learned a few valuable lessons through this experience. I didn’t receive a fine or anything like that, but I realized that email marketing has its own set of rules that apply to it, and we must adhere to them.
Be Careful with Non-Opt-Ins
The first lesson I learned was to be careful with the email addresses that have not opted in to hear from you. I used a Content Exporter plugin that allows you to export the emails of the people who have commented on your site. If I had been smart, I would have segmented the list and not sent the email to both the opt-ins and those whose emails I gathered.
Ask for Permission, Not Opt-Out
The second area where I went wrong was asking people to unsubscribe if they did not want to receive the updates, as opposed to emailing and asking people to then opt-in to the list by clicking on a Subscribe as opposed to an Unsubscribe button. This may still have technically been against Mailchimp Terms of Service, and I would have ended up with fewer opt-in emails, but I also may have annoyed fewer people and thus would have a happier email list in my possession.
What I Did Right
The biggest lesson I learned was to be personable, honest, and approachable in the email. In essence, I tried to be TAGFEE with everything that was in the email.
I included the following elements in the email that I think helped the recipients (many of which are you who are reading this post now, and I thank you for going easy on me):
- How I got their email;
- What I plan to do with it;
- Easy unsubscribe in multiple places;
- Thanking them for commenting on my site.
Would I send this email again? I think so. Why? Because it not only helped me to connect with my readers, but it also made it easier on a larger group of people to stay subscribed when they might not have been before. Funny enough, the way this email was sent made life easier on more people than it inconvenienced.
Email marketing is a tricky business, I realize. Mailchimp has extremely tough standards to which you must adhere, while other email delivery programs do not have as strict of standards. I definitely recommend doing your research into the different providers before embarking on your email marketing campaigns.
Thoughts? Would it be wrong for me to repeat this “mistake” in the future? What would you have done?