Posts Tagged ‘mailchimp’

mail flying with people giving it a "thumbs-up"

Why “Affirmative Consent” Matters In Email Marketing

Developing and launching an email campaign requires several steps. One of the most important is “affirmative consent”: the process of gaining explicit permission from your audience before you send them messages. By not fulfilling the requirements of affirmative consent, you run the risk of annoying your email recipients at best to violating compliance requirements at worst. Let’s talk about how you can gain this consent from your audience.

Demystifying affirmative consent

What does affirmative consent need to look like in practice? Primarily, it needs to be unambiguous. Affirmative consent consists of your recipient taking a clear, direct action to indicate that they want to receive further contact from you. Examples include checking a box, filling out an online form or putting a name and an email down on a contact sheet.

Self-serve subscriptions

Another part of affirmative consent is making it clear to your audience what they are signing up for. To do this, create a self-serve subscription page that people can navigate to and opt into the different types of messaging that you offer. Specify, in detail, what the mailing is and how often they should expect to receive it. You will also want to add a link to your data privacy page and instructions on how to opt-out.

Opt-out pages

Speaking of opt-outs, it’s important to have a page where your audience can go if they no longer want to receive communications from your agency. Here are some best practices:

  • Clarity and brevity: Get to the point as quickly as possible by listing how people can end their subscription to your email marketing.
  • Tailored options: You can provide the option for your readers to modify the type of content they are subscribed to and how often they receive it.
  • Automate where possible: Use your email software to set up an automated confirmation email that is sent to those who successfully unsubscribe. You should also automate the opt-out logging process. Recording and maintaining a history of opt-outs is an important part of CAN-SPAM Act compliance.

For additional guidance on setting up trigger emails, check out these resources from major marketing providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact.

Why it all matters

The consequences of not gaining affirmative consent are significant. They can range from getting banned from the inboxes of potential leads to receiving CAN-SPAM fines to the tune of over $50,000 per email.

Even if you set aside the consequences, however, you still would not want to start blasting emails to folks who have not given you permission. Why? It just isn’t very effective. Email marketing success hinges on sending the right messages to the right people at the right time. Emailing people who don’t want to hear from you probably won’t pay off. In the end, all it will do is alienate a potential audience.

The tortoise and the hare

In the story of the tortoise and the hare, we get a timeless lesson on the virtue of going slow and steady to win the race. That same idea holds true for email marketing.

While it can be tempting to send mass emails to any contacts you have, you simply shouldn’t do it. Instead, work toward gaining affirmative consent by building out the right infrastructure like subscription centers and opt-out pages. You’ll be glad you did once you start seeing improved results.

To learn more about email marketing compliance, check out our recent blog.

How to harness the power of your email database

Pretty much everybody communicates via email these days. Chances are your business has built up quite a repository of contacts over the years. But now that you’ve amassed a database of contacts, what do you plan to do with them?

If you’re not keeping in regular touch with past business contacts, you’re not taking advantage of a great digital marketing opportunity. Because despite all the advances in digital communication, email remains one best ways to communicate with today’s distracted consumer.

It makes sense when you think about it. We typically only let brands and individuals we know into our inbox, and we very quickly unsubscribe from content that doesn’t keep our interest.

The first step to harnessing the power of your email database is to make sure your database is organized. Are you contacts still accurate? Are your entries complete?

At minimum, you’d like to have a complete name to go along with each email address. Add an identifier such as zip codes to your database and produce campaigns that target specific cities or regions.

A platform such as MailChimp or iContact will help you sort contact database into marketing lists. They can help you add a customized greeting to each email you send, too, such as including the recipient’s first name. An email marketing platform can also help you track the behaviors of your recipients, such as how many people opened your message or how many clicked on a particular link.

Now that you have your organized database, you can prepare to send them your first email. Ideally, each email you send should offer added value to the recipient in some way. Otherwise, your content will quickly be deemed spam and you’ll be shut out of the inbox, possibly forever.

What are some ways to add value to your recipient’s inbox? Whether your audience is a consumer or another business, will determine the best approach. Ideas to consider:

  • Education
  • Important announcements
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special promotional offers

As you’re developing your email content, it’s also good to consider how you will measure the success of your email campaign. Are you trying to drive your recipient to take a specific action such as downloading a new white paper or registering for your upcoming event? Do you simply want to keep in touch and stay top of mind with your contact?

By knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time, you’ll be able to identify some key performance metrics to determine your success and tailor an email marketing campaign that resonates with your audience. The more emails you send, the more data points you’ll acquire, allowing you to fine tune your strategy over time.

Now that you’ve got your list of contacts, a draft of your first message and a couple metrics in mind that will help you measure your success, you’re ready to take your email marketing to the next level.

We’re here to help our agents grow. To schedule a digital marketing consultation, please email us.

Let's Connect

Discover more stories and conversations on our social media networks,
or drop us a line on our contact page.

The Independent Underwriter for
the Independent AgentSM