Subtlety in Email Marketing

Know the distinctions!

Typical Web users receive tons of emails encouraging them to purchase certain products or visit specific websites owned or managed by the email senders or merchants with whom they are affiliated; and while these emails arrive in inboxes of unsuspecting web users each day, most of them pay very little attention to such emails. This is because emails which are blatant advertisements are often viewed as spam, and most Web users have very little tolerance for spam; but it is very important to understand the distinction between these two types of communication.

One distinction is the reaction of recipients, which is to say that reactions to spam tend to range from simply ignoring such emails and having the email addresses blocked from sending future communications, to reporting such emails to their Internet service providers (ISPs) for further investigation. We realize many Web marketers have difficulty keeping their email marketing subtle and, as such, this article will provide some information which we hope will be useful in determining how email marketing can be kept subtle so it is not viewed as spam.

Criteria for subtlety

Among the most important criteria for ensuring your email marketing is done in as subtle a manner as possible and not be viewed as spam is to provide something of quality to your recipients. This thing of quality may consist of insightful articles, interesting quizzes or other useful facts which members of the target audience are likely to find useful, if not valuable.

The simple fact is when email recipients realize that an email they received is offering them something worthwhile such as knowledge or information about a particular niche subject they are much more likely to spend some time reviewing the email and therefore will not likely consider the email to be spam. In addition to using the creation of something qualitative to convince recipients that the email is not spam, business owners can also take advantage of qualitative content to provide subtle advertising which may include product references in the articles or links to his/her website throughout the email.

Avoid outrageous claims

Avoiding language which makes outrageous claims can also help to keep advertising quite subtle since the opposite – using certain superlatives and adjectives of greatness with which to describe specific products – is likely to be viewed as blatant advertising. When such language is used, it is highly unlikely that email recipients will believe there is validity in anything contained within the email because they will believe the entire email is simply one big advertisement for the senders’ products or services.

One method proven to be most effective in keeping advertisements subtle when running email marketing campaigns is to only send your email(s) to those who are likely to be extremely interested in your products and services. This is important because when email recipients receive an email that does not reflect their interests in any manner or form, they are not likely to take the email seriously and may very well view such email(s) as a blatant advertisement or spam.

Blatant advertisement is taboo

However, when emails are sent only to those who share a common interest the email seems more personalized and therefore, those email recipients are not likely to view every product reference as a blatant advertisement since they understand there is sometimes a need to mention products or services in emails of high quality content which are sent legitimately.

Finally email marketing is considered subtle – and remains so – when the content of campaign emails is written as though it is not coming directly from the business owner. In other words, the copy might discuss products and services as though they are being offered by a third party. This method makes the advertising seem more subtle because it does not appear to come directly from the business owner.

Be minful of perceptions

Of course, business owners can help to ensure their email marketing efforts are not viewed as blatant advertisements by keeping reference to their own website to an absolute minimum, while being mindful of the fact that most Web users often view links from one website to another strictly as advertisements. For this reason it might be advisable for business owners who are promoting products/services via an email campaign to keep links to a minimum and to carefully weave these links into even the most quite benign copy.

The links should be provided as though they were only included to provide readers with an opportunity to learn more about certain products/services and not as a way to encourage them to purchase these products/services. It might be worthwhile for business owners to consider hiring a writer with this type of skill and experience to ensure the copy conveys desired message, message formats and message intent which should therefore convey the desired effect to the email recipients.


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