I know it sounds odd, but it’s true. Take the techniques those spammers use to get your attention, and use them for good (instead of evil).
1. Not all spam is really spam
I looked in my spam folder and found a message from Technorati. Definitely not spam. I think the images were the problem. Check your outgoing messages (email newsletters) with spam checker or another tool to minimize the chance they’ll get stuck. And, send a plain text version (this also works better for Blackberry users).
2. Be relevant
Don’t send something your recipients don’t want or care about. I have no interest in magic weight loss berries, lists of dentists, or virility potions.
3. Ask first
Nobody wants unanticipated messages clogging up their email boxes. Only send messages to people who have asked for them. If you like, add a message reminding people that they’re getting the newsletter because they signed up for it, and include the date (your email provider software can do this automatically) .
4. Don’t try to “buy” lists
They’re probably garbage, scraped off Web sites, stolen, or obtained illegally. You can rent lists (to use once), but they’re expensive. It’s better to build your own list.
5. Send emails people want to open (not trash)
Offer information that helps your readers get something they want, such as more time or more money. Skip the crowing about hitting your sales numbers. Share tips on how to choose Web site colors, save money on video production costs, or speed up storyboarding.
6. Don’t hijack other people’s lists
I keep getting emails from people pretending to belong to an online forum I joined several years ago. The forum is now inactive, but I still get the fake emails. The right way to take advantage of an established newsletter audience is to write an article for it. Join active forums and contribute to the discussion.
7. Have a great headline (subject line)
Spammers get you to open their emails by writing headlines that get your attention, and make big promises. You can do this too (without being spammy). Write a subject line that arouses curiosity, suggests you can make it easier to do something difficult, or offers inside information. (More on this tomorrow).