Email Spam vs Email Marketing – What’s The Difference?

In the marketing world, there is a fine line between email spam and email marketing. Do you know the difference? Check out the chart below to see if you are right.

Email Spam Email Marketing
Automated drip emails X X
Double opt-in X
No opt-in X
Optional opt-in X
No unsubscribe feature X
Unsubscribe button that removes contact from list X
Legal way to reach contacts X
Emails about something someone might be interested in X X
Emails sent to a contact that they did not request X

Agents collect many email addresses over the years. If you send out a blast email and receive a certain number of spam reports on sites like MailChimp or Constant Contact, your email marketing account may be disabled. The CAN-SPAM Act reports fines of up to $11,000 per offense for sending spam emails. Is it worth the risk to let your 10,000 contacts know about this month’s market update (that they may or may not actually want to receive)?

What Can You Do?

There are several things you can do:

  1. It’s always best to include verbiage on every form on your website, in addition to the privacy policy, that indicates how the consumer’s information will be used. For example, Linda Craft includes a thorough privacy statement on each form on her site. It states that by providing contact information, the consumer gives her team permission to contact them via email. This is a great way to show email marketing programs you have let your contacts know that they are opting-in when submitting a form on your site.
  2. If you choose not to put a disclaimer on your website, you will need to send each of your contacts an opt-in email in order to put them on a drip campaign.
  3. Make sure to scrub your email lists often, and promptly remove people who have requested to unsubscribe.
  4. Ensure you’re sending valuable information to your contacts (i.e. don’t send out information about how to sell your home for top dollar to your first time home buyers).

How To Prevent My Emails From Being Marked As Spam?

Prevent your emails from being marked as spam by your contacts and their mail clients by:

  • Always including a non-salesy, yet informative subject line. Best to stay away from things like “WIN $100!”. Would you mark it as spam if that came to your inbox? If so, don’t put it in your emails.

  • Examples of Spam Email Subject Lines

    Ensuring your physical address is on the bottom of every email you send. This gives you credibility and shows email programs you’re a real person (as opposed to a robot).

  • Don’t purchase email lists; only send to people who have interacted with you or your website and have explicitly stated they want to receive emails from you or your team.

  • Avoid typing subject lines (or emails) in all caps. Also avoid adding unusual characters to subject lines and emails (*, #, <3, etc)

Tips and Experiences

Taking these precautions when sending eblasts can save you a lot of time, money, and hassle later on. Remember, the point of sending out an eblast is to show value to your contacts to help them keep you top of mind when they’re ready to buy or sell in your area.

Do you have any other tips to share? We’d love to hear about your experiences, positive or negative, in sending mass emails. Tell us in the comments below.

One thought on “Email Spam vs Email Marketing – What’s The Difference?

  1. Excellent article! Nothing can replace your point 4, which is sending both valuable, and relevant content. I think its a good Idea to remind your subscribers they actually signed up for your mailings. Sometimes I receive emails, and wonder who is this, sending me a message. I finally realize I indeed opt in to their mailing list.

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