photo credit" shawncampbell

Email List Building Techniques Influence Your Brand Reputation

OK, confession first — because we work hard to build legitimate double-opt-in lists for our business and our clients, I’m more militant about this than the average person might be, but…aren’t you as sick as I am of getting spam email that you never asked for, doesn’t enrich your life, and just wastes your time?

photo credit" shawncampbell
photo credit shawncampbell

I can’t do anything about the overseas spam. But, there is a class of email spam that is worse in my opinion. That’s the local business, unscrupulous add-me-to-their-list move. I can’t count the number of times someone has attended a meeting I regularly attend, as a guest, and collected business cards from everyone at the meeting. Then, miraculously, the following day I (and everyone else) receives the first of that company’s email newsletters. Not an invitation to connect. Not an invitation to receive their newsletter — their actual newsletter, they actually subscribed me to their email newsletter list. In that moment in which I received that first email, two things happen in my world.

  1. My regard for their business practices plummeted through the floor. After all, attending the same meeting I attended did not give that person the right to spam me with their email news. While I might have been interested in the product/service that they sold before — there is absolutely no way I would ever try that product/service.  As if that wasn’t enough, I have to assume that their business practices are more than shady if they subscribe me to their list without ever asking…what else will they do with my information? In my opinion, subscribing me to their email list without my request or permission is a non-starter. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, and definitely do not collect my business…ever.
  2. I take a significant amount of glee in unsubscribing from the list and reporting to the email list manager the fact that I never subscribed to the list. If you’ve ever tried to build a legitimate double-opt-in email list, you know that most legitimate email list managers take their requirements for double-opt-in seriously. And with good reason. The more individuals who report a email list manager as spam tolerant, the more difficult it is for their legitimate email clients to get through to their client’s email boxes. Some email list managers, Mailchimp for example, enforce a strict 1 abuse complaint per 1000 email sent. You get two warnings — and then you’re done. Period. So by taking the added step of reporting the fact that I never subscribed to the list, I’m helping them to have to find a new email list manager….my own special gift of thanks for failing to ask me to join their list.

Now don’t get me wrong — I am on A LOT of email lists. I get lots of newsletters in my inbox everyday. But I asked for them, I put my name and email address in the form AND pressed the “I really want to subscribe” button on the email that came. And that’s the key. I want the information they are providing me. I think highly of the brands that offer me information I need/want free of charge. I appreciate the ability to receive their information in my inbox. My regard for their brand goes UP.

The moral of the story…take the time to build a legitimate double-opt-in list. It will enhance your brand reputation. You know you’ll be talking to folks who actually want to hear what you have to say AND who might be interested in what you’re selling.

Oh, and don’t bother subscribing me to your list if I haven’t asked to be there — it won’t help you one iota, and I might just be the one to get you kicked off your current email list manager.


  1. says

    I am glad to find someone else with the same enraging problems as myself. I resent every uninvited and unwelcome email that I receive because this practice has forced me many times to change my email address and that is never pretty. Thank you for sharing this and I wish that you will encounter less and less spam mail in the near and far future. If we do not take action we will one day pe passive participants to this phenomenon.

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  3. says

    It is so sad how many marketers work these days. I am on the same page as you when it comes to reporting people that just add me to their list and expect me to read their articles or even BUY FROM THEM. It’s disrespectful and is a fast track to never being noticed. Hope to hear more from you soon.


    • says

      Thanks Michael – it’s just a bad practice. If more people were diligent about reporting it, they would get shut down and learn their lesson (I hope). :) Thanks for stopping by!

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