email spamWould you believe it? Email spammers have taught us honest email marketers a thing or two over the years. Mostly, it's what to avoid if you don’t want to end up in handcuffs. But in their own twisted way, spammers have helped us figure out some email marketing best practices to keep in mind as your email marketing, lead nurturing, and marketing automation campaigns get underway.

Here are 4 great email marketing tips from email spammers that you can apply to your (totally legit) email marketing campaigns.

1. Remind people they can trust you.

Online security company Bit Defender revealed that in 2011, Jay Leno topped the list of the most frequently used celebrity names by email spammers. Spammers knew that, by pure virtue of having a recognizable name, enough people trusted Leno to open the email.

You don’t need a celebrity endorsement for higher email open rates, but you can gain trust by ensuring your recipients remember how they know you. You got your list legitimately (you did get your list legitimately, didn’t you?), so you can identify how you met each of your subscribers. Is this email part of a demo follow-up campaign? That recipient probably knows one of your employees, so that employee should be listed as the sender. Did they subscribe to receive blog updates from your site? Then they’re familiar with your company, and you should identify your company as the sender. People scan their inboxes quickly; if recipients don’t identify you as a recognizable, trustworthy name, you’ll end up right in their trash bin.

jay leno email spam

2. Write with a specific goal in mind.

Email spammers know exactly what they’re trying to get the reader to do. It’s not an esoteric goal, like giving the reader a better understanding of product offerings. How the hell can you measure success with that goal? Spammers want an email open so they can infect you with malware. Or they want a click to collect your banking information.

Approach your email marketing goals with the same precision. Identify the goal of the email, and draft your call-to-action accordingly -- to achieve that goal. If your goal is to get someone to download an ebook, you can measure how successful you are by tracking click-through rate, conversion rate, and leads.

3. Stay trendy.

Spammers get high email open rates and click-through rates by riding the pop culture wave. This plays into people’s desire to stay in the know, and it’s something you can do regardless of your industry.

Use language in your subject lines and email copy to connote thought leadership, and recipients will be chomping at the bit to be the first to share this new information with their networks. When appropriate, leverage current events and news topics to add a sense of urgency and timeliness to your marketing messages. If your recipients think they’ll get juicy data and insights on the latest industry trends, they’ll not only open your email, but they’ll also share it with their networks, thereby expanding your reach and attracting more subscribers.

4. Leverage email list intelligence.

One way email spammers collect your information is through fake unsubscribe buttons at the bottom of emails. When you unsubscribe from their emails, it tells them a real person is using the account and gives them the opportunity to collect more information about you in the process.

So stop and think. When was the last time you scrubbed your email list? Do you know if there’s actually someone on the other end of your email sends, or are they getting sent to an AOL email address from 1999? Have you considered why more recent subscribers aren’t reading your emails and what you can do to better communicate with these people? Just like a spammer, continue to refine your email list and learn more about what makes readers open, click, and share.

What other tips can you steal from those annoying email spammers?

Image Credit: comedy_nose


Originally published Nov 10, 2011 11:30:00 AM, updated June 09 2021


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