Email lists are a great way to keep in contact with your blog or website visitors. If you grow a healthy email list, your re-engagement rate from the emails you send out can far exceed social media. Before you jump into creating your own email list, here are 10 do’s and don’t you should follow.
Don’t add people to your list without their permission
While it may be tempting in the early days to add email addresses you find into your email list, don’t. You may already have email addresses of friends and family. You may have found the email addresses of fellow bloggers. You may even have found people posting their email addresses in message threads on social media.
While it is tempting to add these to your list to see your subscriber numbers grow, it’s not recommended. You want to grow a healthy email list. By healthy I mean a list that only includes people that want to receive your emails. Adding people that have not opted into your newsletter may result in a poor open rate for your newsletter. This can be demoralizing. You could also be doing some real damage if people start reporting your email as spam. If enough report your email as spam, you will find your newsletter start going into the spam boxes of your subscribers.
Don’t send your newsletter from your regular email
You may find yourself tempted to just collect email addresses and use your regular email inbox to send your newsletter. While this is easy and gets your newsletter started, you want to avoid this practice. Sending from your own email can seems a little unprofessional. You could also be at risk of exposing your subscriber’s email addresses if you don’t send the emails the right way.
Don’t use a popup window when people first visit your site
We have all experienced it. We click on a link to read an article that peaks our interest. Immediately we see a popup window to ‘subscribe’ to something. I’m sure I’m not alone thinking that this is super irritating. I know I immediately close this popup and sometimes will even just close the main browser tab and decide not to read the article. I know I am not the only person that does this.
While this technique can increase subscriber rates there are some important reasons you should not do this. Google has started to use this as a ranking factor in their search results. Anyone that uses this popup technique will find their blog or website ranking lower in the search results. You will also find it will damage your bounce rate as people like me immediately close the window and leave your blog or website. This also hurts your search engine ranking. Those that do sign up are most likely not the best quality subscribers. How do they even know they want to get your newsletter if they haven’t even read your post yet?
Don’t send HTML only version of your newsletter
This is a little more advanced. When you send your newsletter you will often have the option to send both an HTML version and a text version. The HTML version will be the pretty version with pretty formatted fonts and pictures. The text version will be just plain text, not fancy formatting. A lot of email clients will allow people to configure how they want to view emails including the ability to turn off HTML and images. By sending HTML version of your email then you may miss out on reaching your subscribers that would prefer text only emails.
Don’t share your email list with anyone
Do use a real physical postal address in your emails
Make sure that in every email you send out to your list, you include a real physical postal address. The address should be somewhere people can contact you. This is legally required by the CAN-SPAM act. Failure to include a real address can result in high fines. Do not use a fake address or just leave it out. If you don’t want to use your own home address you can use your business address if you have one or a PO Box.
Do spell check and grammar check your email
This may seem like a no-brainer, but people do forget this step. I will admit I have slipped on this every once in a while. You want your newsletter to look and sound professional when people read it. Something as simple as a spelling mistake or bad grammar can damage your readers perception of your newsletter. There are plenty of free tools out there for spelling and grammar checking out there. Try writing your newsletter in Google docs first or use a plugin like Grammarly.
Do stick to a regular mailing schedule
It’s important to make sure you are sending newsletters to your subscribers on a regular basis. Once you have formed a schedule your readers will start to expect your newsletter and will be looking to read it. Throwing off this schedule may result in a lower open rate for your email. If you go a long period of time between sending to your subscribers you will see a larger drop in your open rates.
Do check to make sure your email doesn’t look like spam
None of us want our newsletter to go into the spam box of our readers. The best way to avoid this is to pre-check your newsletter to make sure it isn’t considered spam. There are free services out there you can use to check your newsletter before you send it to your full list. This services will run the newsletter through many spam filters and give you a report based on the content. One such service is IsNotSpam.com.
Do get a name with an email address
When asking someone to subscribe to your newsletter, make sure you get their name as well. While you don’t need it to send an email it does provide a couple of key benefits. It will make the emails you send out more personable if you can address the reader by their name. This will help with open rates. It will also help with the spam filters. Having a name along with the email tells the spam filters that this email is less likely to be spam. This will help your email appear in the readers inbox rather than their spam folder. You don’t have to get a first name and last name, just a first name will be enough.