I’ve noticed something interesting lately with regard to SPAM complaints. First, let me set up the situation: A customer buys a product online. The customer fills out a web form with their contact information to complete the transaction. This customer even checks the box on the form indicating that they want to receive future marketing communications from the seller. An opt-in email confirmation is sent out and the customer promptly confirms their email address and opt-in status. Infusionsoft records everything including the opt-in confirmation with the original web form, IP address and time stamp data.
Everything is perfect so far.
Then, time goes by… perhaps months…
Later, the small business owner sends the customer a marketing communication and guess what… the customer reports the email as SPAM.
What!? How can this be? Everything was done perfectly, right? The customer even “requested” to receive future marketing communications from the seller. You can “prove” this isn’t SPAM by providing all the opt-in confirmation information.
The problem I’m seeing lately is the span of time between the initial opt-in with the request for future marketing communications and the actual sending of the marketing email. Put another way, if you don’t maintain your relationship with your customers, their opt-in request for future communications will expire and former customers will likely treat the new communication as SPAM. Possibly the most painful part of this is that this happens even when the customer has specifically requested to receive future communications.
A customer list is one of the most important assets of a small business. It’s a fact that the best future customers are former customers. If you are a small business owner and you don’t believe this fact and leverage it in your business then I recommend that you reevaluate your entire marketing and sales cycle. To maintain a fresh, healthy list of customers that want to continue to hear from you (and buy from you), it is imperative that you set a communication frequency expectation and stick to it.
So what’s the right frequency expectation? It depends on your business. At a minimum a small business should send a monthly newsletter to it’s customers. This is a good way to maintain the relationship. In fact, most customers that request future marketing communications expect to get at least a monthly newsletter.
Okay, here are some tips I’d like to reiterate which I hope will be beneficial:
- Your best future customers are your former customers.
- You lose your ability to market and sell to your customers if you lose touch with them.
- A monthly newsletter is a reasonable place to start with your marketing and communication frequency strategy.
- Even if a customer “requests” future marketing communications from you, if you don’t set the expectation right in the beginning, your future communications will likely be marked as SPAM.
[Image Credit: ‘Closure’, CarbonNYC]