In some ways, we can consider email revolutionary. It even predates the internet’s ancestor, the ARPANET. In 1965, the first version of email was found in computers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a program dubbed “MAILBOX”. In a little over ten years, people saw the potential of marketing in email, but because such method was non-existent at this point, Gary Thuerk ended up pioneering the first spam message when he sent the same email to 400 people in 1978.

Today, we know there’s a clear distinction between spam and email marketing. But usually when people think of spam, the first thing that comes to mind are messages that tell you one million dollars is waiting for you and all you have to do is click the button. By this standard, almost everyone is able to identify what messages are considered spam.

Since nobody falls for that anymore, spam senders have gotten more cultured with their techniques. And sometimes, this means even your techniques can get lost in the strategies of spam. So if you’re constructing your own email marketing campaign strategy, here are a few pointers for you to distinguish legitimate email marketing from spam.

Spam is sent with no permission, email marketing asks

If you’ll notice, legitimate campaigns begin with an opt-in form on websites. As entrepreneurs, you have to respect your customers enough to let them decide if they want to receive weekly updates from you via email.

Spam messages are intrusive, and there’s almost never a way for you to opt-out of their mailing list. But one takeaway from spam is that they offer their readers something (not real but it’s the thought that counts). Mention what you can offer to your readers, like a free trial or free PDF, to let them know what they can get from subscribing to your emails.

Spam enters deceptive subject lines, email marketing sends specific ones

Spam messages usually promise something big in their subject lines. But even legitimate email marketers get carried away with using subject lines such as “Your invitation from us” or “Your gift is waiting”. Studies show, the click-through rate of emails with deceptive subject lines is next to zero. Why even bother?

Everyone knows this tactic, too. Admit it; you’d never open an email that says, “your gift is waiting for you”.

At this point, one of the best methods to get users to open your emails is to use open loops, or incomplete ideas. For example, you could use “The one thing I wish I learned from college is… ” to make recipients want to find out more.

Spam makes it impossible for users to opt-out of mailing lists, email marketing honors opt-outs

As email marketers, you should make it a point to give your recipients choices to opt out of getting your emails. Along with this, not only does good email marketing allow users to opt out, they present clear and concise explanations on how users can opt out. Make sure to give your recipients a return email address, too.

It’s worth noting that some email marketers still act intrusively, still sending certain types of emails to people who have already opted out. You must honor recipients requesting to opt out of all commercial messages. Remember, at its core, spam is a bulk of unsolicited messages.

When you follow guidelines on email marketing and respect your customers, you know your campaign can and will succeed. It all boils down to your strategy. With the help of some experts on email campaign management, your company can deliver the best email campaign without bordering on spam.

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