“An' I don't give a damn 'bout my bad reputation. Oh no, not me.” — Joan Jett
Joan Jett may not care about her reputation, but you probably care about yours.
But if you’re like most Realtors, you probably have some unintentional but dirty habits when it comes to your email marketing. And these habits can negatively impact your sender reputation. Here’s why you should care:
Your sender reputation is a lot like your credit score. If you have a poor sender reputation, it means Internet service providers (ISPs) may skip your subscribers’ inboxes and deliver your email campaigns to their spam folders, or reject your campaigns outright.
Numerous factors determine your sender reputation, including but not limited to the following:
There are many metrics you can monitor that will reveal the health of your list, such as open rate, click-through rate, abuse complaints, unsubscribes, and bounce rate. But today, I’d like to take a look at five dirty habits that drive these metrics and impact your list health and sender reputation.
Let’s dive in, shall we?
It's not illegal to add people to your list without permission, but it's not a best practice.
Let's talk consent for a second. There are three types: no consent (You add an email address to your list without permission), implied consent (You add the email address of someone you know—friend, client, lead—without permission), and express consent (You add the email address of an individual to your list who has given you permission).
Express consent may seem like a real drag when it comes to building your email list, but yes is always best.
Why attach your name and reputation to information of little or no value to your clients, leads, and peers? They deserve better, and you can do better.
Your granular knowledge of the city, insights about real estate, and personality make up your unique awesome position. Please use that and spark a little joy by sending emails that add value to the lives of your subscribers.
Showing up in your subscribers' inboxes is a good thing. But if you think that's good enough, your bar is way too low.
If you settle for showing up, it's likely you're sending something instead of something of value. Because you're happy when people simply notice your name in their inbox.
This dirty habit will bite you in the ass. If you're not offering something of value, your email may show up, but it will likely be deleted or remain in email purgatory (unopened). Both ding your sender score and, when it happens often enough, your emails won't show up in your subscribers' inboxes.
Bigger is not always better, my friend. The size of your list is not what matters; engagement is everything.
If you spend a lot of resources importing lists you get from third parties—stop! This practice puts your sender reputation and email deliverability at risk.
And if you're playing it loose with your sender reputation and email deliverability, it’s likely you’re overlooking critical CAN-SPAM requirements—like honoring unsubscribe requests within 10 days.
Violating CAN-SPAM requirements will bust your budget. According to the Federal Trade Commission: “Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $41,484.”
Being relevant is incredibly important, and when you opt to send information to everyone on your list—relevance is lost.
I think it's natural to want to get things done, and that's why we blast the same info to everyone on our list. One and done!
But when we're truly focused on our subscribers as people—not as entries in our database—we understand there are naturally occurring groups within our list and they require different things from us. And that's when our marketing becomes more human, we build better connections and relationships, and we make more sales as a result.
We all have dirty habits that prevent our marketing from achieving the results we want. And these habits usually arise because we're pressed for time. Totally human.
If you have some dirty habits (email marketing-related, natch) you'd like to clean up, I'm here to help. There's no reason for you to do anything less than your best.
Image: By Jessie Pearl - Flickr: joan jett, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21217095
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