Reason 9,785 Why You HAVE To Get In Subscribers’ Address Books

Add to ContactsOK, 9,785 reasons might be a slight exaggeration.

But the writing is on the wall for marketers who aren’t getting subscribers to add them to their address books.

Soon, if you’re not in there, it’ll be even easier for customers and prospects to ignore your email marketing campaigns.

Here’s what I mean:

Yahoo! Helps Subscribers Quickly Filter Out Email From Non-Contacts

On their official blog, Yahoo! Mail announced that users can now toggle from viewing all mail to only mail from their contacts. 1

As they say in the announcement,

“You get a lot of emails, some good (from friends, family, even favorite interests that you’ve added to your Address Book), and a lot of not-so-important emails (special offers, newsletters, emails you rarely read).”

So they’ve introduced a way to quickly separate those “important” emails from the “not-so-important” ones.

Essentially, Yahoo! is making it easier for users to do the same thing with emails that we all do with our postal mail – we look through for messages from friends, family and other people we know and put it in an “A” pile that we actually read, and we take everything else and put it in a “B” pile that we typically don’t read.

Many of us already do it with email, too, by using filters – but up until now we had to set those up manually. It’s not hard to do, but it is an extra hoop that most email users wouldn’t jump through.

A one-click filter like the one Yahoo! has created makes faster email filtering accessible to even novice users. Don’t be surprised if you see other email programs do something similar.

So How Do You Make Sure Your Email Doesn’t Get Filtered Out and Ignored?

Well, in this case you do it by getting subscribers to put you in their address book (sometimes called a “contact list”).

As for how you do that?

  1. Ask on your thank you page.

    You should already be using the thank you page to set expectations immediately after subscribers join your list.

    And one of those expectations should be telling people who the emails will come from (i.e., your “from” name and email address).

    Add a sentence asking subscribers to add that address to their address books. Quick and easy.

  2. Ask in your welcome email (and maybe other emails).

    Some people might not add you to their address books while on your thank you page (they may have overlooked the request, forgotten or just not wanted to yet).

    Now that subscribers have seen an example of your email, point out that to ensure that they keep getting the information they signed up for, they should add you to their address book.

    You might also put a reminder in some of your follow ups and/or broadcasts.

  3. Build a relationship with subscribers.

    If you want subscribers to treat you like a contact, you have to earn that status in their minds.

    Providing valuable content is a big part of this.

    So is coming across as a real person (see our social networking tips for email marketers).

    So is being accessible.

The Inbox is Shrinking

One could argue that this Yahoo! move is effectively creating multiple inboxes – one with all email and one only with email from contacts.

Given a choice between viewing “all” email, and only email from preferred sources (like your contacts), which one are you going to spend time in?

To take a “tree falling in the forest” view of it,

If an email goes to an inbox, but nobody ever looks at that particular inbox, is it really delivered?

If you think about it, as more email programs implement tools like Yahoo!’s and the email that’s important/relevant to the recipient ends up in a “contacts” inbox, the “default” inbox really becomes more of a “junk” folder than an inbox.

And none of us want to end up there. Right?

1: Hat tip to Mark Brownlow for pointing out Yahoo!’s announcement.