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Using Email to Build Trust

Over the last few years, marketers working in companies of all shapes and sizes have come to appreciate the complexities involved in getting their email messages delivered, opened and acted upon. Much of this can be attributed to the efforts of several reputable Email Service Providers (ESPs).
But, if you’re like many marketers, what has remained a bit of a mystery are some of the most cost effective day-to-day activities that you can take to:
• Increase the likelihood of email landing in the right inboxes;
• Strengthen relationships with Internet Service Providers (ISPs); and
• Apply best email marketing practices.
That’s what I’ll be tackling with my contributions to One Degree.
Let me begin by sharing with you some practical suggestions for building a list of recipients who will look forward to receiving and engaging with your emails. In other words, here are ways to ensure that you build online relationships based on trust.
1. Gather and Respect Consent. Email is an effective tool for building trust online but, only when you have solicited consent and continue to respect it over the long term. In Canada, this requirement is actually built into obligations outlined in the Federal privacy legislation (PIPEDA) that applies to all companies.
2. Be Patient. Be Methodical. Building a list is building a relationship. When doing so – particularly online – potential list members will need to interact with your marketing efforts several times before you capture their trust. For example, when it comes to gathering information, do it in bite-sized chunks – collecting the first name and email address during initial interactions and detailed profile information over several follow-up interactions. Identifying this online marketing reality – whether you are growing a list from scratch or gathering more information from current subscribers – helps you to manage your campaign’s expectations and set realistic targets for each initiative.
3. Be Clear. When building your list, it is imperative that you are clear about what action you require from potential list members. For example, are you asking for a box to be “checked” or “unchecked”? Do you want people to review your privacy policy or do you require it? Providing this type of clarity helps to ensure the information you gather is relevant/accurate and that recipients value your offerings enough to have engaged in the actions that you request.
4. Provide Valuable Options. Building a worthwhile list means having a commitment to maintaining the online relationship once you have established it. As a result, you need to recognize, acknowledge and adapt to the fact that recipients have a range of different priorities. For example, they may love you for your industry knowledge but be disinterested in your product information. Integrate these variations into your list-building efforts by providing distinctive and meaningful options during enrollments.
5. Manage Expectations. Just as you need to be clear and concise about what actions you need from potential list members, you want to outline very specific expectations about what you will be providing. For example, are you going to be emailing subscribers once a month, once a year or in response to specific inquiries?
Follow these steps and your emails will be accepted, opened and acted upon because you have an online relationship that is founded on trust.