Newsletters are an excellent way to gain credibility with customers and to get repeat business from previous customers. But if you’re not careful, subscribers could be clicking the unsubscribe button en masse. And, for every subscriber that clicks the unsubscribe button there are probably many more who just stop reading your newsletter.
Avoiding the Appearance of Being a Spammer
Additionally, those who send out newsletters are often mistaken for spammers even though all of the recipients opted to receive their newsletter. This can get you in trouble with the law unless your opt-in software keeps an IP log of each subscriber. The most likely result is having email hosts filter your email into spam or bulk folders, and having your email address or domain put on an email blacklist. But the most likely devastating results include having your ISP and webhosts notified that you’re a spammer, often resulting in immediate termination of your accounts. This can shut you down for weeks and cost you major income and headaches.
Often these results all happen when one of your subscribers has forgotten subscribing or being a customer of yours and gets angry and reports you as a spammer. One way to prevent them from getting angry is to have a functional unsubscribe link at the bottom of each edition of your newsletter. Failure to have a working unsubscribe link is one of the most important newsletter mistakes to avoid. Utilizing software that tracks the IP of each person who subscribes will keep you out of legal trouble, but unfortunately it won’t usually help you with your ISP or host as they tend to cancel accounts without asking any questions first.
Avoiding Other Newsletter Mistakes
You need to pay attention to the technical side of your newsletter too. Take note of emails that bounce and don’t go through. If an email address bounces several times, you need to clean that address out of your list to speed up your newsletter sends. The email address in this situation is probably either canceled, incorrect, or belonging to a member whose inbox is full. If an email address bounces only once or twice, it is nothing to be concerned about; the recipient’s email server was likely just busy or rebooting at the time of the send. One of the common newsletter mistakes is to delete an email address the first time it bounces your newsletter. Every newsletter subscriber counts.
Take note of those email addresses that bounce so you can check them later. Also, if you notice an obvious misspell such as domain.con or domain.vs or hotmil.com, go ahead and correct the address and see if the email goes through next time. In addition to slowing your newsletter queue down, bouncing newsletter email addresses can add up quickly and provide you with inaccurate statistics about subscriber to sales conversion rates for your mailings. These statistics are crucial to learning what works in your newsletter.
Do not include any content that is inappropriate for minors. Also, do not include shocking or disturbing content. Not only can this all get you in serious legal trouble, it undermines the very credibility and trust you are trying to build with your customers.
Also, unless your site niche is controversial issues, you should avoid controversial issues in your newsletters. Your goal is to make your website and newsletter appeal to your customers as a credible, unbiased source of information, products, and services. You can’t do this by taking a stand in a controversy. Concentrate on building on areas of agreement.
One way you can make your newsletter appear very un-spam-like is to limit the sales pitches. This will greatly reduce the likelihood of being accused as a spammer. More importantly, you can really make more sales with subscribers by focusing on branding the quality of your website and products with positive information. Heavy sales pitches are more successful with first-time buyers than with repeat website visitors and customers. If they’re placed in your newsletter they will lead to a lot of unsubscribers.
In closing, I want to re-emphasize the importance of placing a functional unsubscribe link at the bottom of every edition of your newsletter. Sometimes subscribers will email you and ask to be removed from your list as well. You do not have a legal right to refuse them, so grant their request and be very gracious and humble. You might make a good impression on them that could lead to future sales. And besides, you can’t really afford legal battles over someone that wouldn’t even continue reading your newsletter anyway.