It’s the dirty little secret of email marketing: everybody has at least one throwaway email address they use to subscribe to email newsletters and announcement lists, especially when they don’t know or trust the company offering it.
Hotmail accounts are, by and large, throwaway email accounts. Yahoo accounts are often used for the same purpose. Statistics show that the vast majority of Internet users have at least one of these accounts, and many users have several. And today, large ISPs like Hotmail and Yahoo are actually *offering* throwaway email account to their users to give them increased email privacy.
Chances are, if you’re marketing to end users, the majority of your email list is actually made up of these throwaway email addresses!
Yet while subscribers are gladly giving you one email address to send your newsletters and offers to, they secretly have *another* email address that’s their REAL email address. This is the address they use at work, usually, or that they give out to close friends.
This is the email address they really read.
And this is the email address you want.
Because if you don’t get it, that throwaway email address will eventually be tossed. There’s a 30% turnover each year, across the board, with these email addresses. This means you’re losing almost a third of your email list every year! If your in-house email list is vanishing right before your eyes, this is probably the number one reason.
What you really want, as a high-integrity permission marketer, is to earn the trust of your subscribers and give them a good reason to volunteer their real email addresses.
HOW TO GET THEIR REAL EMAIL ADDRESS
There are no tricks, no shortcuts, no magic bullets to this. If you want their REAL email address — the one they pay attention to — you’re going to have to EARN IT.
And once you earn it, you’ve got something of real value: their “permanent” email address. This is the address that’s least likely to change and most likely to be read.
How do you earn it? Here’s my four step procedure:
- Establish trust. At first, you’ll only have their throwaway email address. Honor that address by protecting each subscriber (don’t sell or rent their emails, because permission sold is permission lost). Don’t slam your list with an endless stream of emails, and don’t pollute your email messages with overly commercial content. In other words, keep it clean. You have to earn this trust, you can’t force it.
- Ask for their work email address. In every one of your outbound emails, ask, “Is there a better email address to reach you?” And provide a clickable link they can click to go to your website and update their email address. Be sure to flag these subscribers (the ones who actually update their address) as “loyal” subscribers who should be eligible for special invitations for surveys, coupons, and so on. By giving you their new email address, they are establishing a high degree of trust with your organization and, in a sense, sticking their necks out a bit. Be sure to let them know they made the right decision in doing this.
- After you’ve established trust over time (6 – 10 weeks), send a special email campaign to your Hotmail.com, AOL.com, and Yahoo.com addresses. The entire message should simply ask if there’s a better email address they might be willing to offer you. Ask for a work email address. Offer an incentive, such as a 10% off coupon on their next purchase, or the free download of a valuable report. Give them a reason to volunteer their best email address.
- From an email campaign management point of view, capture email bounces and keep mailing them anyway. Any good email marketing software will automatically capture bounces (my own firm’s software, Campaign Enterprise, automates this process). But don’t make the mistake of thinking that a couple of bounces means the person can’t be successfully emailed in the future. Their email account might have been full, or their POP server might have been temporarily down. I recommend keeping them on the list until they reach a total of 10 bounces, at which point you should stop attempting to mail them.
Follow this procedure and you’ll stave off the vanishing of your in-house email list. It’s a goldmine, after all, and there’s no use watching it disappear right before your eyes. Get these procedures in place and you’ll see fewer bounces and BETTER RESULTS because now you’re reaching your readers, subscribers or customers in their best inbox!
You may ask why I’m not doing the same right now. How come I’m not asking you for your best email address? That’s simple: this is a five-part series. Once this series ends, it simply ends. So this is a special case. But at the same time, I *am* establishing trust (I hope!) by bringing you compelling content without a bunch of hype. And, you’ll notice, your email address isn’t being sold or rented to anybody.
With this kind of trust in place, you’re far more likely to sign up for other 5-part courses I may offer in the future. (What I’m doing is demonstrating one of the many uses of the software product my company sells, because if I can automate this 5-part email course with Campaign Enterprise software, you can use it in the same way to automate an email course of your own.)
NEXT: FOOLED! WHEN EMAIL MARKETING SUCCESS ACTUALLY RESULTS IN DISASTER
It’s one of the most common mistakes in email marketing: using the “S Method” (revealed in the next email) to get subscribers and, ultimately, new customers. At first it seems like it’s going extremely well… all the numbers are up… everybody’s happy. But then disaster strikes. Nobody’s buying! What happened? What went wrong?