Email Marketing Integrity and Automation Best Practices

Published: July 28, 2016  by 

Integrity and automation in email marketing

Email is a fantastic way to stay in touch with your customers and get to know their behaviors. It provides a direct line to your customer and is cost-effective.

Did you know email marketing has an ROI of about 4,300%, according to the Direct Marketing Association?

No, you didn’t read that wrong. Create value for your customers with your emails and you’ll continue to see results. There’s a reason why daily email newsletters like The Hustle and theSkimm are so successful.

Hint: it’s tied to value.

Integrity in Marketing

Do good, not evil when it comes to email marketing. If you think what you’re doing is slightly unethical, it probably is, and you should find a new way to achieve your email goals. Always err on the side of caution when it comes to email.


The CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing) Act of 2003 established national standards for commercial email in the US. The only types of commercial emails that aren’t included are transactional emails and relationship messages. That’s why even if you’ve unsubscribed from Amazon marketing emails you’ll still receive receipts and shipping notifications.

Different rules are in place when it comes to following the law. A few of the requirements are:

  • A valid, physical postal address for the sender is included in the email as well as a valid return email address.
  • Emails contain a way to opt-out or unsubscribe in a “clear and conspicuous” manner.
  • Emails aren’t sent after the recipient has opted out or unsubscribed.
  • Subject lines can’t be deceptive.

Violating the CAN-SPAM Act comes with a hefty fine — for every single email that violates the CAN-SPAM Act, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) will fine you $16,000. That’s per email, so if your list is only 100 people you’re out $1.6 million after one send.

Purchased or rented lists

Don’t do it. Using a purchased or rented list is risky for many reasons, including tiptoeing around CAN-SPAM. The most popular email services consider the use of purchased lists unacceptable and sending to one is against their terms of service. MailChimp explicitly states that if they discover you’ve used a purchased list they’ll shut down your account.

The people who get the emails from a purchased list didn’t ask to receive communication from your company and are much less likely to interact, anyway. They’re also likely to mark your email as SPAM, which will damage your credibility with email clients like Gmail. You want to have a successful email campaign and the way to do so with integrity is to build out your list organically. It’s also difficult to create value for random email address sent as part of an email blast. Some of the automation tips below can help you.

You want to have a successful email campaign and the way to do so with integrity is to build out your list organically, even if it might take a little while. It’s also difficult to create value for random email address sent as part of an email blast. Some of the automation tips below can help you.

Email Automation

Many email tasks can be automated, so small business owners can instead devote time to the goals that really matter—like growing their businesses. Or they can feel free to finally take a vacation.

Nearly 80 percent of top-performing companies have used marketing automation for more than two years, according to the research firm Gleanster.

Setting up automated emails that go out to customers based on different actions they take on your website is an easy way to nurture leads. From sending welcome emails to new email subscribers or sending birthday coupons, email is a great way to keep your brand at the top of your customer’s mind. All it takes is a little setup.

Respond to email “contact us” requests immediately

Waiting even 30 minutes to make contact decreases your odds of qualifying a lead by 21 times, as compared to reaching out within five minutes, according to the Lead Response Management Study.

Take requests via a “contact us” form on your website. Set up automation to send an email reply right away. You don’t have to even answer their question. Just send something simple like:

Hi, [First-Name],

Thanks for contacting us! We wanted to let you know that we’ve received your message and someone will contact you soon.

An instant personalized email response will help customers see that you care about them and also give peace of mind that filling out your contact form did something and isn’t just lost in the internet somewhere.

“I hate free stuff,” said no one, ever.

Everyone loves free stuff. You can continue to capture leads when you’re not working by offering something valuable for free. Think about what content you have that someone would be willing to give you their email address for, like a white paper, stock photos, wallpapers, or even coupons.

Leads captured this way are also more apt to be real email addresses since if you’re planning to email the asset, the customer will have to give you an address that works.

And if you have your automation set up correctly, you can get people into a drip campaign based on what piece of content they decided to download by segmenting your list.

Welcome emails

If someone gives you their email address, you should welcome and thank them. Welcome emails have an open rate of nearly 58 percent—compared with less than 15 percent for other promotional emails, according to a study by Experian Marketing Services. Let’s build out some email marketing for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes (you know, Fred and George’s joke shop in the Harry Potter series). If someone signed up for their newsletter, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes should send their new subscriber a simple email like this:

Hi, [First-Name],

Thanks for signing up for our newsletter! Every month we send out coupons, tips, and our most popular blog content. Plus, you’ll be the first to hear about any specials we may have!

Here are a few of our favorite pieces we thought you might enjoy while you’re waiting:

  • How to prank your little sister
  • Recovering from the “Bat-Bogey” hex
  • Our customers best pranks

See you soon!

Fred & George Weasley

If you received the email address because a customer has made a purchase, welcome her and then get her in a drip campaign. You can follow up in in a few days with some interesting content or tips about using your product.

Birthday email

Customers might not want to share their birthday with you, and that’s understandable. You need to make them understand why you want that information. It’s as simple as saying, “Could we have your birthday so we can celebrate with you?” If you always include a birthday coupon, add that information in the email.

Nurture leads with a drip campaign

A nurture campaign is a way to warm-up leads before asking for a sale. It’s can make the difference between a cold call and a warm call.

We’ll lay out a nurture for Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes. On their website, they’ll offer a 10% off coupon usable for a next purchase if a customer provides their email address.

  • Email 1: Thanks the customer for joining their email list and gives them the coupon that was promised.
  • Email 2: Simple email to help keep Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes at the top of mind by offering helpful tips on how to prank your family.
  • Email 3: Another simple email with tips on how to own up to a prank.
  • Email 4: Asks for the sale by sharing a new product line with a prominent “purchase now” call-to-action.

It’s also possible to set up automation so someone won’t get the fourth email until they’ve opened the three prior.

Email marketing will only continue to grow, especially because of the high ROI and relatively low investment. If you’re considering adding email to your marketing plan, let us know!

Contact us today to see how we can help grow your business.