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Turning Spam Into Ham: the Art of Email Marketing

Ding. You have a new email! You open your inbox. Tada! Oh yay. It’s spam. According Merriam-Webster spam is “an unsolicited commercial message sent to a large number of recipients.” It’s basically any email sent impersonally to a lot of people for the sole purpose of marketing to them.

It’s practically and practicably impossible to change a lump of Spam meat into something delicious like ham. But, you can absolutely turn your company emails and newsletters into something more attractive than a spam email.

The only difference between spam emails and any other email is this: no one ever wants to receive spam. So the answer is simple; change your marketing emails into something your audience wants to read and looks forward to receiving.

There are five tips you can make in email marketing to magically turn your emails from spam into ham.

1. Personalize Content

If you have groups of clients/customers/members from various industries and stages of life, personalize your content as much as possible for each of these demographic groups.  When you personalize your content, it feels more personal to the reader, but more importantly, your content is far more interesting to each individual recipient because it is tailored to their interests.

You have the opportunity to delve into customization as much as you want/have the time to do so. For instance, if you have recipients who work in the oil industry and others who work in tech, you would need to send different articles/newsletter items to each of these groups so as to market to them and their interests directly. Of course, each layer of demographic specialization you employ will require a lot of time to execute. So such personalization should be weighed in regards to time commitment. But however much you are able to tailor your emails will directly influence how likely they are to be opened and read.

2. Draw Attention

We recommend livening up your email with an eye-catching subject line. However, don’t go overboard with this either. Don’t make the subject too “cutesy” or “catchy” because this will give off a cheesy vibe that immediately deters a majority of readers. But if it’s dull and dry, no one will care to even finish reading the subject, let alone open the email. Try a subject line that intrigues enough to draw a reader in without over-selling the content of the email. Make your subject line begin the story that your email content finishes.

3. Incentives

A little take sometimes requires a little give. Throwing information at your readers can be fantastic if they appreciate the information. However, you can maintain this momentum for only so long before they get tired of opening the emails. There are times that you will need to offer your readers an incentive to open your email. It doesn’t have to be often, but every now and then giving readers a reward for opening an email goes a long way toward encouraging them to open every subsequent email. The chance of a win is always compelling. It costs nothing to open an email, and if that sometimes results in a win, your readers will be asking themselves, “why not?”

4. Everybody Do Your Share

Clean up. One positive of many email distribution programs is that you can regularly check which email addresses are “bouncing” your emails or sending your emails directly to spam. Don’t waste time or energy marketing to these addresses. Tidy up your email distribution list. As DMN News explains, “With all the effort your team is putting in to creating a campaign, the last thing it should be considered is ‘junk.’”

5. A Unified Approach

Last, but certainly not least, make certain you are marketing your email content across all channels. For example, with regards to the articles you place in your emails, make sure you promote some of those on social media. If you run a promotional incentive campaign via email, promote it on your website as well. It’s imperative that you give your audience multiple opportunities to see your message. Sometimes seeing it twice or three times is just what is needed to make them interested enough to engage with your content.

Email addresses are a gem to marketers. They symbolize a certain amount of trust that your readers have given you. This trust means we have an obligation to provide content worth consuming. Just make sure you’re sending them ham, not spam.

If you want more tips on expanding your email marketing potential or you have input on our blog, please reach out at or follow us on Twitter or Facebook @KearleyAndCo.

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