Email Marketing: The Good, the Not-so-good, and the Ugly

One of my favorite aspects of email deliverability is how much power you have over your own email destiny. You send to a good list and do all the right things, and you’re in the clear. Do badly and you’ll get in trouble. There’s a bit of a gray area in there, but for the most part, the path to good deliverability and sending is pretty straightforward. The real gray area is the people sending the programs, and that brings us to the topic of today’s post: Email Marketing: The Good, the Not-so-good, and the Ugly.

I put marketers in three separate ‘classes’— the good, the not-so-good, and the ugly. Let’s take a look into what puts a marketer in each category:

The Good

Good marketers are ones who only send email to addresses they have obtained themselves through legitimate opt-in tactics, such as forms and  trade shows. Prospects are aware of how they’re opting in and have the option to not opt in if they wish, and hey — maybe this marketer is even using confirmed opt in! In order to reduce any potential issues with spam complaints, prospects from trade shows are still sent a follow-up email confirming they actually want to receive email from the “good” marketer.

Good marketers don’t send to old, unengaged lists without running a permission pass first, and would never even dream of purchasing a list. They document their opt-in processes and reconfirm as necessary for their mailing frequency. They monitor their bounce rate, keep an eye on how engaged their prospects are, and adjust their email strategy accordingly. They may see a high bounce notice from support very occasionally, but are quick to respond and resolve the issue in a timely manner. Even though good marketers may not know everything about keeping their deliverability high, they really care about seeing the best possible deliverability for their business.

The Not-so-good

Not-so-good marketers are actually my personal favorite marketers to work with. They may have joined up with a company that has a wreck of a database and they aren’t sure where to begin (hint: start with a permission pass if you don’t have documented opt-in information on every one of your prospects). Maybe their forms are confusing and their opt-in process could use a bit of work. They’re not sure exactly where to begin fixing what’s happened before them, but they’re willing to dig their heels in and do some work to figure everything out. With a little bit of work, these marketers can easily ascend into the ranks of good marketers (and often do!).

The Ugly

If you are an ugly marketer, you’re basically doing everything wrong with your program. You purchase lists as part of your business, which makes you a spammer (or maybe harvesting lists is more of your spamming style). Your battle cry is probably something similar to “But we’re CAN-SPAM compliant!” Either way, your business is based on contributing to the 90% of email spam that gets sent every year. A purchased list is a dead list. It’s just not worth the investment to send to people who haven’t even heard of your product and are more likely to report you for being a spammer.

The cherry on top is that purchasing lists goes entirely against our policy. Ugly marketers don’t particularly care about any of that — they continue sending their emails straight to spam inboxes, leaving a trail of blacklistings in their wake as they hop from email service provider to email service provider, convinced that what they’re doing is perfectly okay because they’re within the bounds of what’s legal. It goes without saying: don’t be an ugly marketer.

Take a good, hard look at your email practices. Are you behaving like the best marketer you possibly can be, or could your sending use some improvement? And, how can Pardot help?

Comment below with what you’d like to see the deliverability and compliance team write to help you with your email programs and your database, or Tweet to me @holobachgirl. I can’t wait to hear your suggestions!

Create more effective B2B email campaigns with these six steps. Get free e-book: The Complete Guide to B2B Email Marketing

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3 thoughts on “Email Marketing: The Good, the Not-so-good, and the Ugly

  • I’m the good marketer for sure! I’m using GetResponse to manage my newsletters and I always remember to create good quality content.

  • I don’t even know why people bother with “ugly” email marketing. I’d think it results in a negative ROI like 99% of the time… I guess they’re just hoping for that 1% when it actually works out.

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