How To Use Email Marketing Effectively (Without Being a Spammer)

by | Email Marketing

Email is one of the most powerful tools you can use to grow your business. Even today it continues to outperform social media as the marketing tool of choice by savvy business owners. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing gets a $51 return for every $1 spent on it.

And when you think about it you can see why.

Imagine you have a list of 50,000 people who have asked you to email them on a regular basis. And let’s say you have a $47 digital product you’d like to sell.

  • if only 20% of your list opens your email…
  • and out of those, only 5% make a purchase…
  • you’ve still sold $23,500 worth of your product as a result of that ONE email.

Without a list of your own you would be forced to market your product like everyone.

And this applies not only to businesses who sell products online but also to restaurants, dental offices or anyone else who has a product or service to sell.


So How Do You Do Email Marketing Without Becoming A Spammer?

That’s a common question I get when I deliver my Email Marketing 101 presentation to business owners. And my answer is shockingly simple…

“Don’t be a spammer.”

Not rocket science, right?

If you don’t want to be rude, annoying or intrusive then DON’T BE! Instead, provide valuable, relative content to your reader and ALWAYS use an opt-in form to get their permission before sending email.

I’m still surprised at the amount of business owners who ignorantly spam people with email. I say, “ignorant” because after I talk with them I realize they’re not intentionally emailing people without their permission… they just don’t get it. They think if they somehow get their hands on a customer’s email address that it’s OK to add that person to their list and start “blasting” them.



1. Use an Opt-In Form

Here’s an example of an email opt-in form. This is a screenshot taken from a hyperlocal media website I own:

Email Opt In Form Example

Installing an opt-in form gives every single person who visits your site an opportunity to join your list. You don’t force them to, you give them the choice. Once the person enters their information they click “Join” and immediately they receive a confirmation email asking them if they really want to join. After they click the confirmation link then they are on the list.

Now, I want to point something out right here. It’s easy to miss but it’s one of the reasons email is much more effective than social media when it comes to having serious conversations about your business online.

It’s the “commitment” factor.

In order to like a Facebook Page what do you have to do?

Yes, all you have to do is click that little “Like” button. Something that takes less than one second to do.

Facebook Like Button

Now compare that to the process someone must go through to join your email list. It’s a 4 step process:

Step 1: Type name and email address in opt-in form

Step 2: Click the Join button

Step 3: Open the confirmation email

Step 4: Click the Confirmation link in the email

If someone is willing to commit that much time and effort just to get emails from you that tells you something. It lets you know they are interested in what you have to offer!


2. Use the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule simply means you deliver valuable, relevant content 80% of the time while 20% of the time you promote your product or service.

This could mean 80% of an email is full of helpful information while 20% of that email is devoted to an offer.

Or (and I like this strategy better) 80% of all your emails could be helpful information while 20% could be sales related. The difference is the former mixes the valuable content with the sales pitch while the second option separates the helpful emails from the promotional emails.

You can do it however you choose. Just remember… 80% valuable content. 20% promotional.


3. Use Plain Text Email

Do you know what spammers like to do? They like to send you those annoying emails for Viagra that are full of images and bright colors to get your attention. And you can instantly tell it’s an ad when you open it.

Because we see so many ads a day our mind unconsciously ignores messages that look like ads.

And HTML emails (emails with a bunch of pretty graphics) look like ads. Even if they’re not.

Let me ask you this… when you get an email from a friend what does it look like?

Is it marked up with a bunch of fancy graphics or does he simply send you a text-only email? Of course he just types out his email and sends it.

And these are the type of emails we LIKE to get. And our mind automatically codes these plain text emails as “friendly” or “something of interest.” This is one of the main reasons  why simple, text-only emails work so well.


In Closing…

There is much to learn about email marketing but these 3 tips are a good foundation to build on.

Remember if you don’t want to look like a spammer then get people’s permission before emailing them, practice the 80/20 Rule and use plain text emails. These are simple but often overlooked ways to use email effectively to grow your business.

About Josh Monen

Josh is a direct response copywriter and marketing strategist who makes a living by achieving remarkable results for his clients. His unique understanding of human psychology and marketing principles make him a valuable asset to the clients he serves.