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Are You Capturing the Right Email Address?

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
07 December 2009

One of my favorite parts of MediaPost's fabulous Email Insider Summits has become the inclusion of a panel of consumers discussing how they use email, social media and other communication and marketing channels.

Today, here in Park City, Utah, Michelle Prieb from Ball State University led a panel of Salt Lake City-area graduate students and students who have recently entered the workforce.

This panel produced many great nuggets, but a tactical one caught my attention: the students' use of "throwaway" email accounts. All of the five panelists mentioned they had more than one email account, such as addresses with Gmail and Yahoo.

One account is for the "wanted" emails, those from companies and services that they knew going in would provide value. The other is the "throwaway" email address, which they use to complete a one-time purchase or when required to register to use a site.

They perceive that these companies will either send them emails of little to no value or possibly share their addresses with third parties and overload their inboxes with unwanted messages.

As more and more consumers bifurcate their email streams, and services like OtherInbox gain adoption, it will become even more critical that marketers persuade people during the opt-in process to use their "wanted" email address.

Here are some quick thoughts on how to establish trust during the opt-in process and influence consumers not to sign-up with their throwaway addresses:

• Ask only for data that is logical and necessary to the relationship
• Include a screenshot and link to a sample of your emails
• Describe the value proposition and frequency they can expect
• Provide a choice of multiple email streams, such as "Deal of the Week" and "Technology Tips" that allow subscribers to choose whether they want, as in this example, educational or promotional content.
• Provide a brief summary of a subscriber's data will be used and a link to your full privacy policy.
• Include testimonials from other subscribers or influencers.




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