Don’t Be Terrible At Cold Calling Your Email List
Emailing out newsletters is the big thing going into the future of customer relations. It’s exciting because people are getting better results from their email list and people aren’t talking about it like you would expect. It’s kind of weird in a way that email marketing isn’t on the minds of so many small businesses when it could help them so much. Marketing is in a constant flow of change and this should be a welcomed addition to everyone’s portfolio of tools. Build that list!
You might think you have a list of emails at your fingertips because they bought something on your site or signed up for a course. You would be mistaken because you can’t just email people without their consent. The CAN-SPAM Act spells out what you can and can’t do when it comes to clicking the send button. Now I linked to the U.S. version but other countries have similar laws and you will need to look into it. I first dealt with this when my mom was renovating her online store and she thought it would be awesome to simply copy and paste all those emails that people order with. I told her not to make another move and educated her on the risks and the benefits of setting up the list in the right way.
The Bad Part of Building Your List Without Permission
Some people are great at sending the right copy to people they put onto their email list. The copy doesn’t matter so much as the permission to email someone who hasn’t said, “Yes, you can email me”. Some people either scrape emails from the internet or purchase lists that have been curated and transferred many times in exchange for some Bitcoin or a simple PayPal transaction. I get cold calls all the time from businesses and scammers that don’t have my permission to send me emails. People should opt-in to your list and not be marketed to when they have not agreed to it.
I know it’s real easy to build a script and index tens or hundreds of thousands of emails and then start scheduling those pesky messages to unsuspecting users. One thing is for sure though, many people have wound up on the wrong side of the judgement. Yes, spamming people can easily trigger lawsuits.
Lawyers and businesses have taken a lot of legal action against people that thought they were under the radar. For instance, Facebook announced in 2014 that they have gone after businesses selling fake likes to businesses and spammers using the platform as a try to get rich. They have been so aggressive in heading to the courts that they have amassed over $2B in judgements against spammers! Buying those fake likes can hurt you and Facebook has absolutely taken action and it’s only going to get more aggressive by tuning the algorithm. I am sure there are a lot of stories from that size of a judgement that could deter you from doing this terrible business practice.
Another interesting story is Dan Balsam, a lawyer that sues spammers and is highly successful. He has his own sites called Dan Hates Spam and it’s amazing what he has been able to do in stopping dirty business tactics and making them pay for it. When you get your own Wikipedia page, you know you have made an impact.
The last example is a man who received 19 spam messages in a 6 day period! He never signed up for it and he finally had enough so it took it to court. After the entire thing was over he got his $28.5K ($1.5K per message) and didn’t receive anymore of those emails.
I highlighted 3 cases that companies were aggressively sued for bad behavior and that led to a series of court loses. Covering the things you shouldn’t be doing is probably the best way to start out with this post because I know how easy it is for some folks to pick up emails and start sending. I don’t want this to happen to you especially if your business isn’t big enough to face a lawsuit. We will get to how good your copy is and how to win with email marketing shortly. I want to make sure that going into this type of marketing makes so many people think they can do whatever they want.
The Great Part in Building a List
Building a list can be really awesome as well. When people see value in your offers they signed up, and some even tell you that they want more of what you are offering. Building a list with permission makes sure you are getting people who want to hear from you and want to be a part of the conversation. You can choose a single opt-in or the double opt-in. I always use the double opt-in because I want to make absolutely sure that people want emails from me. They can always unsubscribe if they want to, and sure it hurts, but it’s their preference.
The single opt-in just means they found a form on a landing page or somewhere else and put their info in the forum and it’s a done deal. You don’t know if they used their real email or if it was really them. In other, words you are hoping that the sign up is legit because there is no confirmation. I never leave this to chance which is why I always use the double opt-in no matter what.
The double opt-in means the filled out the newsletter form on a landing page or else where and my system emails them a confirmation link. When they click that link they are brought to a page that says “Successfully added to the list” and it’s done. I not only got them to give me their info, but they confirmed it so I know I have their actual email. There are people who rather do a single opt-in and hope for the best, but I am not one of them. I encourage you to get a solid future lead by being extra careful and have them confirm that they want you.
As long as you are sending them something that they want and that they can use they will remain on your list. This part is the hardest to accomplish.
Making the Content Count
There are legit newsletter content and SPAM. Let’s define both terms:
- SPAM is trying to sell me Viagra or some sweet prince is giving me $5M dollars for exchange in helping him launder the money out of his country. Cold calling is targeting people based on their interest. An example is that I build websites and people will scrape newly bought domain names email addresses and send them an email asking if they need web development services.
- Legit Newsletters are sent to people who have voluntarily said yes to being on your list and want your emails. You send content that is informative and gives the reader a call to action.
I decided to write about this topic because I got a couple SPAM messages this morning and had some fun over a cup of tea. I really enjoy trolling these people because they are wasting my time and I absolutely needed to waste theirs. The more they are emailing with me the less they are emailing with a potentially victim. I know I am wasting more of my time but it’s worth it in some weird way. They scraped my email address and then started sending me offers for getting me on the 1st page of Google, or buying their service to teach me how to get rich quick. You know what I mean. There is always SPAM sitting inside my email every day.
The first thing I would like to point out is that cold calling is awful, but it works to some degree otherwise it wouldn’t exist. The majority of people know SPAM when they see it and just clicks delete and moves on. Unfortunately, there is a segment that will be excited about taking these offers though, otherwise they wouldn’t be cold calling people. If it works out and both parties are happy, then I am perfectly fine with the practice. You shouldn’t be scraping emails though, and I absolutely report them as SPAM to Google (for Gmail) and forward to their email provider if I can. These people can’t get clients by using the right channels so they resort to this. If I had signed up for the list they use I wouldn’t even bother writing this post. After all, I would be asking for these.
The point I am making is that you need to not just build a legit email list, but also craft the correct messages that bring people back to your site, purchase an offer, or another action that you want them to do. People on your list usually know a garbage email from a great one. Take your time in developing that newsletter. Try to hit all the points that your audience would expect from you. The last thing you want to do is make them unsubscribe because the content doesn’t appeal to them. This is your shot to email them, get them to open it with a good title, but then get them to act on it and possibly share it with someone else.
If you are not sure what works then don’t be afraid to research. You can also look at the SPAM you get each day and do exactly the opposite for your list. A title needs to grab attention because it’s the only chance you have before they delete or open it. Once they get into the email you should have put good content in there such as news, special deals going on, or whatever you promised them when they signed up for your list. For one of mine that I send out for this blog is new tips in blogging, anything interesting going on, and an update from me on a variety of things. I try to get 4-5 things in the email and hope to appeal to the majority of my audience.
Instead, the following individual cold called me in my email and I decided to share the exchange with you to highlight my point of view and why you shouldn’t cold call people you don’t know and people that you decide to SPAM.
The Copy Is Gold
Beyond the title of your newsletter you have to really give them some solid reason to continue to stay on your list and to do a call to action. Some people are really bad at writing a newsletter and for those folks I would highly suggest finding a great writer on freelance sites or elsewhere. This should be the highest concern and one that I personally need to do as well. I am not perfect and I have sent plenty of bad newsletters, but I am getting better with each one. I can’t tell you who to hire, but I can tell you that Craigslist isn’t the worst idea.
Whether or not it’s you writing the copy or someone you hired, you have to also make sure it’s consistent. Is your newsletter daily, weekly, or monthly? This is also a key thing to remember because there is an expectation and people will leave the newsletter if you are not giving them consistent quality.
Finally, after you have nailed the title & copy, there is the call to action. This is also critical. This is why you are sending them an email. You want to give them an opportunity to buy something, join another list, like your Facebook page, or anything else you want them to do. You might say that it is pandering and you are right. The trick here is trying to figure out whether or not you put a call to action in every newsletter or not. For me it’s a time issue. I usually send monthly and that gives me the chance to put a call to action in all of them. As opposed to a daily newsletter, a call to action in every one maybe be hard to accomplish without losing people.
The finally tally is:
- Awesome non-clickbait title
- Well written copy by you are a pro
- A call to action
- daily, weekly, monthly…etc.
Hopefully this gives you something to think about before you send another email out to everyone. If you haven’t even started building a list then don’t worry because I am working on a set of videos on how to do so. I want some people to walk away from spammy emails and to get better at sending the right copy at the right time. It’s made a huge difference for me and my lists and I want the same for you. If I missed something please let me know in the comments below. As always, I update my posts all the time.