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Email Etiquette: Ask Permission First or Forgiveness Later?

May 10, 2016
By Steve Robinson
Director of National Organizations, Constant Contact

email-marketing-picRemember when you were a kid and your parents told you not to put your hand on the hot stove? Or when you mistakenly went along with the crowd and your parents said, “If all the other kids were jumping off a bridge, would you do it, too?” What if I told you that email marketing is a lot like the hot stove? And just because lots of small business owners send email to customers without their permission, it doesn’t mean you should, too.

Sure, it’s exciting to see your email list grow. It feels like your efforts are paying off and that you’re actually making some headway. But if you add customers without their permission, you might be undoing all of that hard work. Why? There are lots of reasons why it can be bad for your business, and we’ll dig into those, but let’s first consider things from the customer’s point of view.

Picture this: It’s the first thing in the morning. Your customer grabs their phone or flips open their laptop and a hundred or so emails start to download. The steady flow of messages to their inbox goes on all day and your customer’s well-trained brain can’t help but gravitate to a certain email based on interest and priority. If they’re not expecting your email, they’re likely to ignore it. Or worse, they’ll delete it, block you, or report it as spam.  (more…)