Etiquette is something that appears to be slowly dying in our modern society.
My mom and I talk about it all the time – how children are seemingly being raised in metaphorical barns, adults scoff in the face of propriety, customer service is more about the server than the customer, and we all have to specifically ask to be put on “do not call” lists and request to be removed from spam email lists that we never wanted to be on in the first place.
Emily Post would be horrified. These are certainly not the behaviors that she wrote about in her book, Etiquette, in 1922.
There isn’t much we can do about the newest generation’s lack of manners, and we can choose not to dine at restaurants that offer less than desirable service, but we can make sure that our email marketing campaigns are free of faux pas and make our recipients feel warm and fuzzy about our organizations.
Make sure that your company adheres to contemporary niceties in its email marketing behavior and messaging.
Here are several tips (and a lovely infographic, courtesy of Vertical Response) that Ms. Post would have been proud to include in her book had she been born into the technological age of email marketing.
1. Ask for permission
Before adding someone to your email database, make sure that you have requested permission first. Opt-ins are vital to the health and longevity of your campaign, as those who did not subscribe to your messages will eventually report your emails as spam or junk, if they do not do so immediately upon receipt of your first unsolicited email. Business cards exchanged during networking events do not necessarily represent subscription requests; you should not add them to your database without receiving opt-in requests first.
2. Give subscribers a graceful way out
All of your recipients, whether clients or prospects, should be able to easily and quickly unsubscribe for any reason at any time. Unsubscribing should be a simple process, without too many hurdles to jump, pages to go to, forms to fill out or any other online hanky panky that merely delays the inevitable and irritates the unsubscriber. Maintaining compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act is your legal motivation, but Ms. Post would probably say that it’s just the right thing to do.
3. Talk to your subscribers
Remember that your recipients are people, not machines. Even if you are using marketing automation tools to facilitate your campaign, your content should be relevant and valuable to each of your subscribers. It should not sound like it was generated by a computer. Use the same kind of language you would use if you were having a conversation with your prospects face-to-face.
4. Treat their time as if it were your own
Your subscribers have about the same amount of free time that you do. You know every minute in your day counts, so remember that your email recipients feel the same way. Be courteous and keep your email messages brief and concise. Give your subscribers an option to continue reading items of interest, but keep the introductions to longer articles short and to the point so they can decide if it is worth their time. Along the same lines, tell your subscribers what they can expect to read in your email by using an appropriate subject line.
5. Represent your company elegantly
Keep in mind that your email marketing campaign represents you and your organization. Your brand should be well represented through aesthetically pleasing blog design, error-free messaging, and readable typography. Avoid spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, which will quickly diminish your credibility, as well as gimmicky tactics that could turn your prospects off, such as symbols, slang or abbreviations. Sophistication will always trump trend.
According to Emily Post’s family, who keep her legacy alive with blogs, books, a charitable foundation, seminars and other exciting ventures, etiquette means “treating people with consideration, respect and honesty. It also means being aware of how our actions affect those around us.” The goal of etiquette is to help us build more successful relationships. Apply these principles to your email marketing campaigns, and you will reap the rewards now and in the future.
For more tips on how to practice impeccable manners in your email marketing, review this lovely infographic: