How to Build an Email Marketing Culture Centered on Trust

Over the next few weeks, we are going to dive into the best practices for email marketers (psst…check out all 50 here).

Marketers know that designing an email campaign combines art and science. Your campaign needs to have well structured HTML, but also include appealing and relevant content. Your campaign needs to use data to determine send time, but also include a witty subject line.

Ultimately, the basis of a good email marketing program is trust. Your subscribers trust that you won’t spam them. An email marketer is trusted to create content that’s thoughtful and relevant to subscribers’ interests. So, how do you make sure you’re building an email marketing culture that’s centered around trust?

The first step is to ask for permission.

Opt for Obvious Opt-ins

Think of the inbox as your customers’ home. Emailing people who never invited you over, or may not even know who you are, will lead to blocking and black listing.

Keep your opt-in boxes unchecked by default and always be explicit about what subscribers are going to receive! Under GDPR, customers have to agree to your terms and conditions and privacy policy. So make sure that information is accessible and clear.

There’s a lot of conversation about single opt-in versus double opt-in. However, when you keep trust at the forefront of your strategy, you’ll see that you don’t have to use single opt-in or double opt-in exclusively. Tailor your messaging and opt-in type based on acquisition source.

A subscriber entering their email at check out and selecting an unchecked opt-in with terms and conditions and a clear privacy policy is an active acquisition source. The subscriber has made it known that they are interested in your brand and receiving messaging. A double opt-in here would just create friction–send them a welcome email!

A subscriber that has entered their email to receive a white paper, however, would be a good candidate for a double opt-in. Share your privacy policy as well as information of what they should expect if they decide to opt-in.

Opt for Painless Opt-outs

You never want to hear or see a goodbye, but an unsubscribe is better than a spam complaint. Since we are creating an email program based on trust, you should make it painless for customers to unsubscribe. A good opt-out requires only one click.

Trust also means giving your customers options. Maybe they would prefer to only receive updates once a month, or maybe they just want information around a specific product or vertical! Let them choose the frequency and consistency of the content instead of opting-out completely.

Recently, Target Marketing Mag posted an article on email migration and included the following quote:

Now let’s think about what they’re up against. As of 2018, 39% of all inbound mail was spam, with 26% of those messages including malware. In their own twisted way, spammers are essentially the dark side version of email marketers. They are results driven and will employ any and all tactics that will help them drive better metrics.


Spammers are the dark side of email marketers, because they do not put trust at the center of all their content and messaging. Stay in the light!

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