Mark Brownlow of the blog "Email Marketing Reports" had a great post recently ("What you say ... what you communicate") about companies that use justification language in their emails.
Examples Mark cites include:
"You have received this email because you expressed interest in our products in the past."
"This is NOT SPAM."
"This email is sent in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003."
I couldn't agree more with Mark that many marketers who use "justification" sentences like these are in a way saying that, in fact, their emails probably are spam.
If your emails are truly permission-based and the opt-in process is completely transparent, why do you need to make the case that your emails are not spam or are wanted?
However, I also see this topic a bit differently than Mark. Like many people, I sign up for a lot of emails. They can look like spam when they finally show up—weeks later—from a brand or email address I no longer remember. In cases like this, reminding recipients why you're communicating with them is a best practice and will help to minimize spam complaints and lost subscribers.
Here are some quick tips to ensure your emails aren’t mistaken as spam by new subscribers:
- Deploy a welcome email or, better yet, a welcome email program. One that starts within minutes after a subscriber opts in is probably your best means to ensure that new subscribers will remember they signed up for your emails.
- Send your first email soon after a subscriber opts in. Make sure that new subscribers receive an email from you within a week, but preferably no later than a few days from opt-in. Consider that if you’re only sending a monthly newsletter, a number of your subscribers will not receive their first email from you for two, three or four weeks. Guaranteed, many will forget they subscribed—another reason why welcome emails are critical.
- Include subscription information in your email administrative footer. Because people may still forget they opted in, I like to see the following included:
- The email address used to subscribe
- Date they opted in or were added to your list
- The reason/circumstance of their opt-in: downloaded a white paper, signed up for news alerts, made a purchase, etc.
For example, the subscription information portion of the footer might read as follows: "You signed up on January 5, 2009, using firstname.lastname@example.org when you registered for our Webinar." Personalizing this sentence should be fairly easy, as the opt-in date and email address are usually captured automatically. The subscription "circumstance" will take a bit more work, but it’s fairly easy for your Webmaster to add a hidden field on your forms that describes the nature of the opt-in.