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Email Marketing and Privacy

Particularly in the faceless online world, people are suspicious of sharing their personal information; you might have come across websites who require your full address, email, and phone number to let you download one of their white papers. This is precisely the kind of invasive arrogance this tutorial will show you how to avoid.

Aside from a marketing point of view, email newsletter must comply with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003; while this particular legislation only concerns the United States, many countries are starting craft similar legislation in response to the overwhelming amount of spam, worldwide. Make sure you understand email marketing's legal context.

Privacy and Email Marketing

The excellence of your product or service may mislead you into forgetting that your business depends on customers: you likely have competitors, whose offerings might even beat yours. Carelessly treating your prospects' privacy is a certain way to drive business away.

Website Contact Forms

Because of the constraints of the email newsletter format, much of email marketing lies on getting prospects to visit a website to gather more information. As such, your email newsletter format should come as close to a teaser table of contents as you can.

If your offerings are compelling enough, prospects will voluntarily share their contact information; and as a general rule, ask as little information as you need. If your sales force can contact prospects by phone or email, don't make both form fields required: let the prospect decide which of email or phone number, she would rather give out.

Aside from privacy concerns, conversion rates will fall if obtaining more information becomes a hassle: whether the information is difficult to find, your email newsletter contains dead links, or your organization demands personal details to supply more detailed information.

Back to Basic: the Privilege of Email Marketing

Especially online, people are weary of divulging too much information. The simple fact that you ask for their mailing address or phone number will brush off many potential subscribers. They are doing you a favor by subscribing to your newsletter, not the other way around. Put in a slightly better perspective: by agreeing to share their email address to receive your email marketing, people give you the right to advertise your offerings to them. What more could you ask for? Use this privilege wisely.

Your respect for visitors' privacy is clear not only by the information you request for subscribing to your newsletters, but also by the way you ask for it. Nearly always, when sharing the subscriber's email address with a third-party affiliate is offered, that opt-in checkbox is checked by default. Do not force your visitors' hand: let them choose, without forceful hints, whether they want "affiliate newsletters" as well. Your job is to convey the sense that you will share valuable information with your subscribers; if they are not convinced, go back to work on your subscription form/website.

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