Spam falls under the “I know it when I see it” category, right? We all receive spam, so we all know how to identify it. However, the technical definition of spam often eludes people. The most common way to define spam is by explaining the two criteria the e-mail must meet: It must be unsolicited, and it must be sent in bulk. Let’s break those down.
Unsolicited: That means the recipient didn’t opt in for it by subscribing to your e-mail. It’s easy to ask users to subscribe to you; just include a “Yes, I want to receive information about future promotions” box at the bottom of your purchase form.
In bulk: Sending a large collection of messages with near-identical content is sending in bulk. When those messages are largely unsolicited, they meet the criteria for spamming.
You may be asking, “I send e-mails to prospects all the time from my computer, and they didn’t ‘opt-in’. Is this spam?” The answer is no, because it only meets one of the criteria and not both. The messages are unsolicited, but they are not sent in bulk to hundreds or thousands of people.
What if your e-mails are solicited (that is, users opted into receiving your messages), but you find that they keep going into your recipients’ spam folders? Chances are, it may be in the wording. Take a look at the Top 5 Mistakes of E-mail Marketing Newbies, and skip down to “Attracting the Spam Filter.” It could be an eye-opener!
What if you don’t know whether your messages are going to recipients’ spam folders? Try asking a few family members and close friends to opt into your e-mails, and ask them to check their spam folders the day you send out your next newsletter. If more than one said that the message went to the spam folder, it may be time to re-evaluate the way you write your e-mail communications. Go back to “Attracting the Spam Filter,” and write your next message in a way that is compliant with those suggestions. If you use a reputable email marketing service, such as MailChimp, they will provide you with valuable reports that will help you determine how people are receiving your emails.
Don’t be a spammer! Instead, make your e-mail marketing campaign memorable for all the right reasons. When this is consistently applied, the results can be profitable.