One dysfunctional side-effect of the Internet are email lists and newsletters. I've already questioned whether the newsletter is on the way out in my ’Are You a Modern Seller’ blogpost.
For over 2 years now I’ve been unsubscribing from newsletters and for the majority of those (95%), I’ve never ever asked to be added to their list. I'm not talking about spam mail. I'm talking about genuine newsletters and announcements, ranging from contacts I know or have met in the past to vaguely familiar people or companies and completely unknown companies.
How did they get my email address?
I know most lift it from my LinkedIn profile and that means they are a first level connection. From my website? Sure it's on there, so they can lift it from there too. From sign-up forms when I’ve downloaded research, white papers, interesting reports? Yep I'm guilty of that. Usually though I remember the ones where I've downloaded stuff and then I quickly unsubscribe from those when I receive the first promotional email.
How then should I get people on to my email list legitimately?
Using double opt-in or better still opt-out! It's the only way. You could have something that folks will be interested in downloading and on that web page you let them know that it will add them to an email list and state for what purpose. If you use the correct process, they will receive an opt-out email after completing the form. This means they can download the content and unsubscribe instantly, without ever receiving another email from you. Now this is real choice for the reader of your content.
Will they remember you for this? Of course they will!
I highly recommend that you investigate what process you have in place for emailing folks and whether your process is filled with integrity.
- Are you scraping email addresses from LinkedIn?
- Are you collecting from websites?
- Are you using something like Nimble to transfer addresses to Mailchimp?
- Are you using external apps to transfer from your contact records to email clients?
- Are you adding addresses from business cards?
Please think carefully about these and maybe other processes and practices in operation inside your business. How would you feel if you knew that your contacts or connections were doing this?
Any recipient of your newsletters or email announcements must have had the opportunity to choose whether they wanted to receive your email. And more importantly, at any time they should have the opportunity to unsubscribe.
I'm astounded that some people still use the bcc: method to send their email out to their contact list from Microsoft outlook or Apple mail.
Once you change your approach, you will feel better about your process and know that you are treating your contacts, connections and acquaintances with integrity and respect.
I know for a fact that this is how you would like to be treated.
Image credit: @gapingvoid