In my last post, I discussed a few no-no’s in email marketing that I still see showing up in my inbox on a consistent basis.  I’d like to cover just a few more.


If most people are like me, they are getting tons of email already – some spam, some not spam.  If we sign up for your sale previews, newsletter or whatever, please don’t abuse me by sending me email every other day.  Honestly, I think once a week is as frequent as you can get before getting REALLY annoying.  Even if I wanted your email, I’d unsubscribe if it overloaded my inbox.

The Opt-in

Give full disclosure at the email opt-in.  No “uncheck-if-you-DONT-want-spam-from-our-3rd-party-partners”or other fine print.  Assume that I don’t want it and give me the option to check it if I do.  Outline email frequency so I’m not overwhelmed if your email campaign is nicknamed “Shock and Awe” at the office.

If you have more than one email campaign, don’t add me to ones I didn’t subscribe to. A nice feature that I have seen is giving those that subscribe the ability to modify their subscription.  That way, if they are signed up for three email campaigns and want to unsubscribe from two, they can do so without unsubscribing from all and then having to sign up again for the one.

CAN-SPAM adherence

Now, most people won’t catch this, but after working for an email marketing company, I have a heightened sensitivity to the issue.  According to the CAN-SPAM Act, there are some items your email campaign is required to have.  A few of the important ones are:

  1. Don’t use misleading header information.  That means your business or identity needs to be identifiable in the “To”, “From” and “Reply-To”.  Social media is about transparency anyway – if you’re hiding, there’s a big chance you’re a spammer.
  2. Use a descriptive Subject line to describe your email.  Don’t lie to get people to open your email.
  3. Your address needs to be on there somewhere and I’m not talking about an email or website.
  4. Give me the opportunity to opt-out and do it in a clear way.  Nothing is more annoying than opt-out instructions listed waaaaay down on an email in font size 2.  You do more harm to your brand trying to keep a subscriber with hidden or complicated opt-outs than if you just let them opt-out. I’m on Chris Brogan’s newsletter list and he’ll casually say even in the email that if the newsletter is just not your thing, its o.k. to unsubscribe.  I doubt too many people take him up on the offer.  Now you don’t have to encourage people to unsubscribe, but if you’re open and free about it, you’ll look better than if you’re reluctant about it.

These are just a few of the blatant email marketing mistakes I still see in my inbox or junk mail.  If you want to do it right, try to avoid these and you’ll stand out from the pack.