Email marketing can be a valuable, low-cost tool to help you keep in touch with your clients as well as potential clients. But it has to be managed in accordance with the email industry’s established rules and “best practices.” Perhaps the most important thing to pay attention to is your list itself.
If you haven’t been keeping your list clean via monthly updates or if you have a list but you haven’t used it in, say, nine months or so, your emails could get labeled as spam. This can result in your ISP (internet service provider) blocking your emails from being delivered. This can also damage your “reputation” in the minds of the ISPs, since they assign a score to you which is akin to a consumer credit score.
Here are some tips to help you with building, then managing, your email list.
- If your email list is old, meaning you haven’t used it in the last nine months or so, it’s time to clean things up. Assuming that all of your email contacts have “opted in” (given permission for you to email them), consider using an email delivery service that boasts a high delivery percentage and reports on the open rates as well as bounced rate. Disable the email address in contact records that opt out or bounce back.
- If you’ve been sending emails regularly (every month or two) and you haven’t had any spam complaints, your list is probably OK. Presumably, these people have opted in to receive your emails, which of course is a best practice. Best rule of thumb is, as mentioned above, remove all the opt outs and bounce backs to keep your list as clean as possible.
- The old adage, “it’s better to ask forgiveness than it is permission” does NOT ring true with email! Get creative when it comes to getting permission to communicate with the email herd you build. Generally, getting permission from clients or prospective clients at speaking engagements (by offering a newsletter or the delivery of some other valuable information) or offering something of value on your website that requires permission in order to deliver what you offered—is the easiest way to obtain permission.
Remember, your list is a valuable asset. Manage it accordingly, keep it clean, set systems in place to add to the list whenever you can, and deliver your emails as promised in terms of frequency and value-added content.
Director, Member Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555