How to avoid your email marketing looking like spam

Have you noticed how spammers and scammers use personal names rather than brand names in the “from” section of their emails? Usually they’re female names.

Here’s a recent example.

Spam example

The reason why they do this is hopefully obvious. It’s so that the email looks like it’s from a real person.

My tip to avoid looking like a spammer.

Use your business name as the “from” name. 
If you use your own name, and not everyone on your list knows who you are, this may affect your open rate.  I receive a lot of email marketing emails done like this. Another option is to use your business name followed by your own name.  Eg.  From: [Expertise on Tap – Julian Wellings]

Email marketing – how NOT to manage your unsubscribe process

I’ve blogged before about why your unsubscribe process should be as simple as possible – ideally a one click process.

The screen shot below from Avid is a good example of how not to do it. Instead of a one click unsubscribe, where you click a link in the newsletter and it’s sorted, with Avid you’re taken to a web page with a myriad of choices. In fact it’s not an unsubscribe page at all – it’s a subscribe page.

Only on looking closely do you find a tiny unsubscribe link at the foot of the page. When you click this, it won’t process until you enter your email address. Again, with a one click process you should not have to enter your email address.

To summarise:

  1. Keep your unsubscribe process simple.
  2. If you want subscribers to be able to manage their preferences or interests, if you use an email service provider such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor it’s possible to add a link to enable this. Make sure the preferences are kept to a minimum.
Avid unsubscribe process

Example of Avid unsubscribe process.

Why you should include a subscribe link in your email newsletter

SubscribersAdding a prominent subscribe link to your email newsletter is a great way of growing your list.

This is where you might well say “Why do I need one? They’re already subscribed aren’t they?”

Not necessarily.

If someone has received a forwarded copy or read the newsletter on social media, by including a prominent subscribe link will enable them to do just that. Most people won’t go hunting for a sign up form on your website so this is all about making it easy for them.


Email marketing: Why your From Name will affect your open rate

Choose your “from” name carefully and you could improve your open rate

A quick survey. Which of these emails are you more likely to open?

Set A

Set B

The correct answer (according to me!) is Set B.

inbox screenI receive a lot of e-shots and email newsletters these days with only a person’s name in the “from” section of the email like Set A  above.

The problem with this is, if you have a large list many of the recipients might not know who the sender is.  This increases the risk of them deleting the email without reading it.

Another big issue is these days spammers are using real names in their spam messages, to try and make the email look like a personal communication. This means spam savvy email recipients are even less likely to open your e-newsletter, unless they know you personally.

My tip: Unless you’re so well known that your name alone will suffice (eg. Richard Branson, Alan Sugar) , always include the company name. You could just use the company name on its own, or if you want to add a personal touch, add the sender’s name as well. The examples in Set 2 above use both these approaches.

Bonus tip:  Use a real “from” email address not a “no reply” address.

I often see larger companies using a “no reply” email address meaning the address cannot receive replies.

The problem with this is, what happens if a recipient replies with a question or complaint? Their email just gets ignored!

I recommend always using an address which can receive replies.

Yes, it means you’ll also receive all the out of office replies but you can easily sort all the emails by subject line and delete these, leaving genuine replies to be dealt with.

How to welcome e-newsletter subscribers effectively

The welcome message for new e-newsletter subscribers is something that is often overlooked.

It’s an important step towards creating a one-to-one relationship with new subscribers.

If you use an email service provider (Mailchimp, Constant contact etc) the welcome message can be fully automated. Do contact us for guidance.

WelcomeTips for effective subscriber welcome messages

1. Include your company name or brand in the subject line and in the ‘from’ section.
2. Thank people for signing up.
3. Confirm what they’ve signed up for.
4. Reiterate the benefits of subscribing and what they can expect along with the frequency of emails.
5. Remind them that they can unsubscribe at any time.
6. Reward them with an offer. For example a money off coupon or a free e-book.
7. Include links to key pages on your website and to Facebook and Twitter.
8. Include your contact details and sign off from a real person.