Email Marketing: What Is Spam?

By Matt Bertram

By Matt Bertram

Matt Bertram is Head of Digital Strategy at EWR Digital. He is a nationally recognized expert in SEO and the Co-Host of the top rated SEO Podcast, "The Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing." Author of Build Your Brand Mania: How to Transform Yourself Into an Authoritative Brand That Will Attract Your Ideal Customers with contributing articles in Forbes, Search Engine Journal and numerous other publications pertaining to digital marketing.

You’re sitting in your office thinking about email marketing and spam. As you look at your business analytics you wonder, “How do I avoid being spammy? And just what is spam anyway? How can I use email marketing to grow my business and sales?”

If you’re interested in growing your business through email marketing, you’ll need to know how to avoid being seen as spammy. Read to learn a little history of spam and how to avoid it in your email marketing.

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The first spam messages were sent over the telegram in the 1800s.

A Brief History of Spam

According to one Time article written in 2009, spam makes up about 78% of the 210 billion emails written and sent each day. It’s so prolific that it would be hard to find someone who has not cleared it out of their inbox at some their lives. And yet as much as we deal with it, many might not know it’s origins.

The first spam messages were sent over the telegram in the 1800s inviting wealthy businessmen to invest in shady dealings. Modern-day spam messages were first sent through the predecessor of the internet, called ARPANET.

The name for the unwanted messages entered the lexicon in the 1980s from a Monty Python sketch. In it, a group of Vikings stood in a cafeteria and sang the names of popular processed meats to disrupt the conversation. The unwelcome singing fit the messages so well the name stuck.

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Email marketing is NOT spam and if done right, can grow your business.

What Spam is Today

Much like the canned meat it’s named after, spam has not changed much. It still clogs inboxes with dubious messages from Nigerian princes, claims that you have large sums of money waiting, and other offers that seem too good to be true. What has changed is people’s reaction to it.

People know what spam is and often use their email’s spam folder to collect the unsolicited messages. spammers are upping their game and some have outsmarted the filters, but not the users.

The bottom line is that spam IS NOT email marketing. Spam is a lot like the robocalls you get on your phone; it’s annoying and no one wants to deal with it. Unfortunately, sometimes marketing emails still end up in a spam folder in people’s email inboxes. So how can you avoid your emails being marked as spam?

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Sending a personalized email to a small number of people is the best way to grow your business.  

How to Avoid Becoming a Spammer

There are two key things that make up a spam e-mail: bulk, unsolicited. If you send out emails in bulk to people who didn’t ask for them, that’s spam. Spam is also misleading and dishonest about its intentions. The Nigerian Price is never going to give money like the spam email claims, it instead gets you give money to him.

So how do you avoid spamming people? By sending relevant emails to customers who want to read them.

The difference between spam and email marketing is that email marketing is tailored to your customer. Email marketing is engaging and personalized content that your customers WANT to read. It’s also NOT sent to every contact on your list. It’s sent to the people you know are willing to read it with the option of unsubscribing.

By giving people the option of unsubscribing you not only follow the law (if you’re doing a newsletter) but you also signal to your customers that the emails are for them, not for you. This adds trust and makes them more willing to engage with you in the future should they want to.

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EWR Digital has been around since 2009 and knows the ins and out of SEO, web design, and sponsors The Unknown Secrets of Internet Marketing Podcast.  If you’re looking to use email marketing in an intelligent way, call (713) 592-6724 or click below to hire EWR Digital today!

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What Is Spam? | EWR Digital – Houston, TX Internet Marketing