I was reminded of this trust issue while reviewing some data from a new survey measuring attitudes toward and actions taken on spam, commissioned by my employer, Silverpop. Responses to three questions in particular emphasize what happens when people do not trust email senders:
1. Quantifying the Expanded Spam Definition. Respondents were asked what "spam" meant to them. Over half said it meant email they didn't sign up for, while 40% said it was any email they didn't want to get, and 35% said it was email from any commercial entity, presumably even companies whose brands they trust.
2. How Users Try to Reduce Spam. More than three-quarters of respondents said they limit the number of emails they subscribe to, even from companies they trust, in order not to get more spam.
3. Why They Hit the 'Report Spam' Button. Three in 10 respondents said they hit the spam button because they didn't trust the unsubscribe link in the message.
How to Make Emails More Trustworthy
You have at least five touchpoints in your email program where you can build or lose trust (if I missed any, please reply in the comments section below):
· Opt-in process: You explain exactly what subscribers will receive and how often, include a link to a sample email and succinctly convey the value of your email program. You confirm their subscriber data and the newsletters or promotions they signed up for and deliver information on how to manage their subscriptions, contact you and use your Web site in a follow-up welcome message.
· Transaction behavior: Your emails clearly describe and price products; you spell out purchasing and shipping terms; you provide a direct link to customer support. For non-purchase emails, you state what customers can expect from subscribing or your content, etc. and what you will do with any personal data you collect.
· Relevance: You allow subscribers to customize their subscriptions regarding content, format and frequency, and you use this information to personalize the messages you send to them.
· Unsubscribe process: Your unsubscribe link and directions are clearly labeled in each email, and your process is quick, clear and effective immediately (when possible).