E-mail marketing has it's origins in SPAM - unsolicited e-mails selling things we aren't at all interested in. We all still have filters to remove such messages every day, even though they are technically illegal.
When you ask a crowd of people what they think of when they think of e-mail marketing, they will sometimes say things like "annoying, intrusive, pestering." These negative reactions are rooted in years of prior experience with disrespectful e-mails. So, some businesses have a difficult time with the notion of sending e-mails to a list of people that might just get deleted or be percieved in this way.
Even I struggle to use the term "e-mail marketing" because of the connotations it carries. I prefer to say "digital communications campaigns," which prevents those issues from coming up. (Although it's a little jargon-y, which is another issue altogether!)
However, e-mail marketing has evolved into the best tool for connecting to your target audience. The rules for allowing people to opt-in and unsubscribe puts the power in the hands of the recipient. When asked specifically about these types of e-mails, people have a completely different reaction. They expect to receive them since they signed up for it. They know the person or business it is coming from. They have control over whether or not to continue receiving it.
In fact, customers say that e-mail is the preferred way to receive information about products or services from trusted sources.
So it is time to get over your hang-ups with e-mail marketing and begin using this effective tool. Just be sure to do the following three things to make sure your recipients will be happy to hear from you.
#1 Honor the rules
These should be obvious. Be sure to allow people to opt-in to your list. Never add people without their permission. And always have a clear option to unsubscribe. For starters, breaking these rules is illegal.
#2 Provide value
Creating valuable content takes effort, but sending e-mails without value to the recipient is a recipe for a shrinking list. It's like a version of that saying my mom used to use: "If you don't have anything to say, then don't send anything at all." Of course, not sending anything isn't going to do much for you.
#3 Respect your list