If you have no credibility with your email recipients, then it will be almost impossible to sell them on anything else. Trust is basic to any business to consumer or B2B relationship, and with the onslaught of spammers and other phishing attempts online, commercial emails are received today with some skepticism. It therefore becomes crucial for legitimate businesses to separate themselves from spammers and other email abusers by following practices that build credibility for their brand.
So here are the 12 most important ways to build trust and credibility in your email marketing:
1. Looks go a long way.
Because spammers try many different tricks to avoid the spam filters, their emails have a characteristic rough look with misspelled words and awkward graphics where words should be. You don’t have to receive spam for too long to recognize it as such. If you use a professional design in your emails that match your website in color scheme and logo, then your subscribers will come to identify your emails as from a reputable company.
2. Include your contact details at end of every message.
If you include your company full contact details at the end of each message, then this will make your email seem transparent to your readers. Details such as mailing address, email and phone numbers along with a contact person, clearly say that you have nothing to hide. Although SPAM laws require some of this information already, by providing more than the required information it helps your email to stand out.
3. Provide a link to a sample email on your sign-up page.
If you provide a link to a sample of your email on your website, subscribers will know what to expect and look out for when they receive your email. This will make your emails easier to recognize and less likely to be confused with unwanted junk mail.
4. Respond to subscriber feedback.
When you ask for feedback from your list respond to those feedback by sending the subscribers an email. In this way your readers realize that there is a human behind the “reply-to” email address and they are not just interacting with a machine.
5. Do not trick subscribers into opting in.
6. Never rent subscriber lists.
7. Go beyond the subscriber expectations.
Even if your emails deliver engaging and valuable content, the savvy subscriber still thinks that you are just hoping for the sale later down the line. If you should deliver a surprise gift even before you send any promotional emails, then you can win the readers confidence. Giving before asking is always a model to follow that would bring greater subscriber loyalty and trust.
8. Give your emails some personality.
If you write as if speaking to your readers face to face, then you are more likely to avoid the ‘corporate speak’ that leaves your readers cold and unaffected. You will have to make a judgment based on your target audience but you may want to even be audacious sometimes and show the readers your human side—note that nobody deals with a faceless company but with a human being at that company.
9. Use the best email service provider available to you.
If half of your emails do not reach their intended destination and you cannot provide both text and HTML versions of your email, subscribers may view this as you not taking your email marketing serious enough. If your emails end up in junk folders and spam filters block most your emails, then you would appear unprofessional to your subscribers and lose trust.
10. Offer the subscriber as much choices as possible.
Subscribers like to know that they are in control of their subscriptions. If you provide clear instructions on how to unsubscribe, change their contact information and update their subscription, then they are more likely to trust you with their details.
11. Keep your promises made at sign-up.
You may have provided an incentive at time of sign-up; therefore you want to deliver on that promise immediately. Did you indicate that they would receive a weekly newsletter? Then sending emails everyday will violate this ‘agreement’ you made with them. Always deliver on your promises.
12. Invite subscribers to share your emails.
By encouraging your readers to share your emails with friends you are indicating that you think they will find your emails valuable. Why would they want to share what is not valuable? By expressing such confidence in your emails, you will help to instill confidence in your readers as well.
Finally, keep in mind that it takes a long time to build trust in your company, but only one misstep to destroy all your credibility in a moment. So guard your credibility as you would your bank account because … it is your bank account.
About the author: Ray Edwards
“Ray L. Edwards is a direct marketing sales copywriter, coach and online marketing consultant who enjoys helping small to mid-size businesses optimize their online marketing results. Over the past 12 years he has helped his clients make tens of millions of dollars through his copywriting and consultation services. He is the author of several books on the subject of online marketing, many promoted under the names of other marketers (ghost written) who have profited handsomely from his writing skills. He is available to a limited number of clients each year who want to expand their businesses or want to launch with an experienced copywriter and online marketing consultant.