If you are a small business owner who has been doing your research about online marketing, you know that building an email newsletter list is a great thing to do. However, one thing to be aware of is the potential for getting email newsletter complaints, such as reports of spam and email abuse. This can get you and your business into legal trouble in the worst of situations, and it can result in a negative reputation for your business in even the best of cases. Luckily, there are a few steps that you can take to help prevent these complaints and run a better, more reputable and effective newsletter.
1. Only Collect Email Addresses Directly From Subscribers
You might have found newsletter lists that you can purchase, which are supposed to be targeted to your particular type of audience. Those who sell these lists often tout them as a great way to get your newsletter up and off the ground and to bring in leads, but these email addresses are not always gathered legally or ethically. To help prevent complaints, it is always best to focus on collecting email addresses directly from subscribers, such as by promoting your email newsletter on your website and your social media profiles. Then, you can make sure that everyone who is on your list actually wants to be on your list.
2. Require A Double Opt-In Process
Double Opt-In means that after the subscriber signs up through your website, they will then receive an email confirming that subscription. If the subscriber opens the email and goes to the link within, then the subscription will be confirmed. If not, the person will not be added to the email list. This helps ensure that people do not enter other peoples’ email addresses in the field to sign them up, and it also gives the subscriber another chance to make sure that he or she wants to be a part of the list.
3. Make it Clear Who You Are
Some email newsletters add their first and last names or some other name in the “sent from” field. However, this can look and feel spammy to some readers, who might recognize your website or company name but who might not recognize your first and last name at all. To make sure that your readers know exactly where there emails are coming from — and to help encourage them to open them, if they are eagerly awaiting your emails — use your company or website name as the “sent from” name.
4. Send Quality Emails
You have probably signed up for email newsletters at some point and thought that they would be better than they actually turned out to be. You don’t want your subscribers to be disappointed by their emails, nor do you want them to change their mind and assume that your newsletters are spam. That’s why it’s important to put effort into making your newsletters the best that they can be. Take the time to craft helpful, useful and interesting content for each newsletter, and leave out the overly sales-y verbiage. You want your newsletter to come across as just that — a newsletter that your readers can enjoy — and not a blaring advertisement. Not only will this help prevent you from getting in trouble for spam emails, but it will also help ensure that your emails are well received and effective.
5. Don’t Spam Your Subscribers
Just because your subscribers have decided to sign up for your email newsletter does not mean that they want to receive an endless barrage of emails from you. Try to compile multiple messages into one handy email rather than sending multiple emails a day.
The frequency with which you should send out your newsletters can vary based on a lot of factors, but you definitely shouldn’t be sending out newsletters more than once a day. Many companies find that once a week is sufficient. One other great option is to allow your subscribers to choose their newsletter frequency — some might want to receive emails from you daily, but others may only want to receive newsletters weekly or monthly. Allowing them to tailor their subscription in this manner is a good way to ensure that everyone gets what they want.
6. Make Unsubscribing Easy
Although you probably don’t want to see any of your subscribers go, it is important to make it easy for them to unsubscribe if they so choose. It can be pretty frustrating to try to unsubscribe from a newsletter only to continue to receive these emails on a regular basis, so avoid putting your subscribers through this by adding a simple “unsubscribe” link to the bottom of each email. If confused subscribers contact you because they are having trouble getting removed from the list, make an effort to assist them — it’ll be better to help them unsubscribe now than to deal with complaints later about your newsletter. Plus, it can help you establish a good repertoire with your leads.
As you can see, there are steps that you can take to help prevent your email newsletter from getting complaints. If you follow these tips, you’ll have fewer complaints to worry about, and you’ll probably find that your email newsletters are more highly enjoyed by the people on your subscriber list as well.
Henry Green is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas who helps small businesses and entrepreneurs improve their online presence through marketing, social media, and website optimization.