Subtlety in Email Marketing: Golden!

Easily misconstrued

Consistently, everyday users of the Web receive tons of emails telling them to buy certain products or visit particular websites; and while these emails arrive in the inboxes of unsuspecting Web users each and every day, most of them devote very little attention to such emails. The reason for such inattention is that emails which can be construed as, or simply are, blatant advertisements have often been viewed as spam and will continue to be viewed as spam until email marketers and the businesses that send them clean up their act.

Let’s face it, most users of the Web have very little tolerance for spam; and for good reason, given that spam has been outlawed (See CAN-SPAM Act), and spammers have therefore developed the most sinister of reputations when compared to any other Web-based entities, except scammers (those who actually set out to engage in outright theft). Reactions to spam tend to range from simply ignoring the emails and having spammy email addresses blocked to reporting those emails to their Internet service providers for further investigation.

We realize that many Web marketers have difficulty keeping their email marketing subtle, and therefore run the risk of being mistaken for spam; so in this article we will provide what we hope will be some useful information on how email marketing can be kept subtle so as to avoid it being viewed as spam. But more importantly, we want to provide enough thought-provoking points, aspects and norms associated with email marketing to help you formulate some of your own ideas that will ultimately keep you clear of suspicion in your own email marketing efforts.

High quality content

One of the most important criteria for ensuring that your email marketing is subtle and therefore not be viewed as spam, is to provide content which can be viewed as valuable or of high quality to subscribers and recipients of your emails. This may include insightful articles, interesting quizzes or other useful facts which members of your target audience are likely to find useful. When email recipients realize 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 since they will not likely consider it spam.

In addition to using the creation of this copy to convince recipients that the email is not spam, the marketers and business owners can also take advantage of the copy by providing subtle advertising which may include product references in the articles or links to your website throughout the email.

Keep ad & link density low

While providing such links and product references it is important to avoid packing each paragraph with such instances of product references and links, which obviously defeats the purpose. Think in terms of keyword density and the avoidance of packing a website article with keywords to attract search engines, but end up having the reverse effect. Same applies to link density and readers.

Avoiding language which makes outrageous claims can also help to keep advertising quite subtle, as using superlatives and describing the greatness of specific products will likely be viewed as blatant advertising. When this happens, it is unlikely that website owners, readers and subscribers will believe there is validity in anything contained within the emails because they will deem the entire email to be simply one big advertisement for your products or services.

Using the third-party technique

Another way to keep advertising subtle when running an email marketing campaign is to only send your email to those who are likely to be extremely interested in your products and services. This is important because when email recipients receive an email which does not reflect their interests at all, they are not likely to take the email serious and may view the email as a blatant and unwanted advertisement.

However, when the email is only sent to those who share a common interest, the message seems more personalized, in which case the email recipients are not likely to view every product reference as a blatant advertisement and understand there is sometimes a need to mention products or services.

Keep in mind that email marketing remains subtle when the content of a message is written as though it is not coming directly from the business owner. In other words, the copy may speak about products and services as though they are being offered by a third party. This technique makes the advertising seem more subtle because it does not appear to be coming directly from the Web marketer or business owner.

This approach is one of the most effective in the sense that the sender does not give his/her recipients the impression that s/he is selling them something; and you know how people hate to be sold… anything. So it may be a good idea to learn the third-person technique, practice it, and use it in your email marketing campaigns.

In conclusion…

Finally I will leave you with the idea that you, the business owner, can help to ensure your email marketing effortsensure your email marketing efforts are not viewed as blatant advertisements (or spam) by keeping references to your own website to an absolute minimum. Most Web users often view links from one website to another strictly as an advertisement, and it is for this reason that most business owners who are marketing via an email campaign may find it worthwhile to keep links to a minimum and carefully weave these links into the most quite benign copy.

The links should be provided as though they were only included to provide readers and subscribers with an opportunity to learn more about the products and not being included as a way to encourage them to purchase any products. It might also be worthwhile to consider hiring a writer with this type of experience and expertise to ensure that your copy conveys the desired message and has the desired effect on your email subscribers and other such recipients.

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