Responsible Marketing is More Successful

suspicious_character.pngSpam is often compared to the paper junk mail we get, but really it’s much worse than that.

Think about it. When is the last time you’ve received postal mail from someone illegally selling prescription drugs?

Of course you’re not sending that type of email, but if you’re not taking the right steps, your subscribers might group you in with people who do.

The Scourge of the Internet

Usually when we remind people of why not to send messages that resemble spam in ways that might seem minor to them, we’re focusing on some aspect of the deliverability of email.

But it also can affect another factor businesses rely on: how subscribers judge your brand.

Think about it. If email readers were surveyed about what a spammer would remind them of most in the “real world”, many would probably name some sort of shady character, like a convicted felon.

Can you begin to see why this can spell bad news for an unscrupulous marketer, even with good intentions?

The Path to Marketing Success

In “Responsibility”, Seth Godin implores marketers to stand behind the ethics of what they’re selling. He also claims that responsible marketers tend to be more successful.

Successful branding that leads to sales is a process that requires trust. “

Working with thousands of customers, we would tend to agree, especially for email marketing.

Why? Successful branding that leads to sales is a process that requires trust.

Meanwhile, sending email that resembles spam quickly wipes out any established beneficial relationship. It converts potential customers into people who feel like spam victims.

Needless to say, they’ll probably never consider a purchase again.

What is Your Stance?

Responsible email marketing isn’t just about being an upstanding citizen in cyberspace. It also relates to the success of your campaign.

Is your email campaign as far from the line of spam as it can be?

Or are you living on the edge, teetering towards ruining all of your work?


  1. Elizabeth

    6/20/2007 6:10 pm

    I have found that more strict I have become with my eZine practices (moving to double opt-in, not signing up business cards without express permission, not using purchased email addresses), my conversion rates have shot through the roof.

    Yes, you could buy a list of 100K emails and start sending stuff to them, and get .1% of them to click (total of 100 clicks). But, probably another 1% will hit the "Spam" button on their email, and most of the rest will probably never read your email again. (also, if you do this, you have to use an autoresponder that lets you use purchased lists, and you will have a horrible delivery rate since their servers get blacklisted)

    Instead, you can grow a list of 1000 emails and send them quality stuff, and get 10% of them to click (total of 100 clicks). Yes, you will have to give them more quality info. But, they will probably not Spam-buttom you, they will forward your eZine to their friends, and they will buy from you over and over again.

    Thanks for the blog posts!

  2. Marcel

    6/22/2007 8:35 am

    This is a very good topic!

    Responsible marketing relates a lot to the approach to keep your list and the content of emails and autoresponder messages very focused.

    A targeted focused list will serve much better click through and purchase-trust rates than other. Also it will be important to always use the aweber built-in spam-check before sending out any mails to one’s list.

  3. Shirley

    6/22/2007 1:34 pm

    This topic couldn’t be more true.

    If Email contact is not done in a responsible way, there are no sales and certainly no trust. It’s this type of responsibility that earned me an 86.7 percent open rate for the 8 Ezines sent to my subscribers in May (love those AWeber stats).

    Stay true to your following, and the word "responsible" will become your nickname.

  4. Jennifer Hofmann

    6/25/2007 7:09 pm

    I have to admit that I originally had a hard time with the idea of double opt-in, even though I wouldn’t dream of deliberately spamming someone. I was concerned that it would be to great a barrier for the technophobic.

    To tell the truth, even though some of my cohorts are encouraging me to stop using double opt-in, I’ve decided that it is the right thing for me. Even if it’s confusing. Even if I lose some potential clients.

    Not only do I want to conform to the law, but using it really does send a clear message to my clients that I want to handle them with care. I only want to communicate with them when they want me to.

    (patting self on the back) : )

  5. Marc Kline

    6/25/2007 10:39 pm

    Great comments.

    We use confirmed opt-in for all of our own campaigns also. But I can understand the frequent initial apprehension about it, since inevitably there will be some people who don’t verify.

    Unfortunately, the easy way out means you could jeopardize your campaign and get sub-par performance from your list. If you forget about the absolute number of subscribers and look at the growth of your revenue, you’ll probably find a continuous upward trend using confirmed opt-in.

    The bottom line is that a product or service with integrity deserves the same level of integrity for its marketing. A consistent brand image is important to subscribers as they judge what you sell. Remember that prospects need to trust you in order to become regular customers.

  6. Marcel

    6/26/2007 2:30 am

    It’s a question of the long run. Means long term reputation, relationship and profits (or whatever your newsletter is aiming for). Short profits are beautiful – at first glance – but to show real long time value of your services to subscribers you need to work on a responsible marketing basis first above all. Running for every dime and nickel, no matter how, can soon harm or ruin a business.

  7. ..john

    6/6/2008 5:50 am

    I now have selected brand retailers on my e-commerce site.
    So first we walk, then we run.
    E-mail/myspace marketing is a great way to meet goals, personal and business.

  8. Patrick Byers

    6/10/2008 12:29 am

    As you might expect, considering the title of my blog, I couldn’t agree more with your post.

    I really like your analogy regarding the way an irresponsible marketer could be lumped with a spammer if they don’t take the appropriate steps.

    I taught an Integrated Marketing Communications course at the University of Washington for five years. Seth Godin’s "Permission Marketing" was required reading for all of my classes.

    Keep up the good work.