As consumers, our mailboxes often get flooded with emails from different brands, informing us of their next big sale or their new products available for example. Indeed, many marketers have now replaced their traditional direct mails by email marketing. By doing so, organisations are able to continue to deliver information that is of interest to their customers, while lowering their costs and measuring the success of their marketing activities more effectively.
However, in order to successfully deliver their message to customers, brands must make sure that their emails are not considered as spam. Rao and Reiley defined spam as an “unsolicited commercial email that imposes a negative externality on consumers without any market-mediated benefit, and without the opportunity to opt out”. Large email services such as Google Gmail or Microsoft Hotmail have invested a lot of time and money into anti-spam technologies that send messages identified as spam directly to the junk mail folder. If a brand’s email is considered as spam and is sent to this folder by mistake, it will prevent this brand from effectively delivering its message to customers. Furthermore, while customers accept advertising because it enables them to access valuable content and services, they have a very negative perception of spam. If they believe that an email is a spam, most of them will send it immediately to their junk mail folder without opening it.
Consequently, to effectively use email marketing, brands must make sure that neither customers nor email services will identify their emails as spam. The Australian Communications and Media Authority established three rules that brands should follow when they are sending commercial electronic messages.
One critical characteristic of spam is that customers receive them without their consent. In addition to being automatically sent to the junk mail folder by anti-spam technologies, these mails often annoy customers and most of them will delete them instantly. Therefore, brands must only target customers who have expressed their consent.
One way for organisations to make sure that customers agree to receive such emails is to ask them when they are filling a form. For instance, when customers sign up to Asos, they can decide which types of emails they are willing to receive from the brand.
Brands should also personalise each email by including accurate information about the recipient. It will reduce the likelihood of them being treated as spam, and will also enhance their effectiveness. Indeed, customers are more likely to open an email and read it carefully if the message is personally addressed to them.
Netflix personalises the emails it sends to its users based on the movies and tv shows they previously watched. As these emails are valuable and relevant to them, users are more likely to open and read them.
Finally, commercial emails that do not enable customers to unsubscribe are considered as spam. As a result, customers must have the possibility to unsubscribe in each email they receive. The process should also be easy and quick.
When their customers unsubscribe to their newsletter, Barneys New York asks them to give feedback. Indeed, brands should know why customers do not want to receive messages from them anymore in order to improve the quality and value of their emails in the future.
By following these three rules, brands will make sure that their emails will not be identified as spam and sent to the junk mail folder. They will also enhance their effectiveness, as customers will be more likely to read and respond positively to them.
I want to know your thoughts! Do you have other recommendations for brands to make sure they differentiate their emails from spam? What is your own experience with spam? Did you ever make a purchase after receiving a spam? Let me know in the comment section below. Thank you for reading!