I’ve been having some trouble with my relationship lately.

No, not with my boyfriend…with my email subscribers. Things just aren’t working out like I thought they would.

They say I don’t appreciate them and that we just don’t have anything in common anymore. Last week I even ended up in the spam folder because they said they didn’t recognize me, can you believe that? The spam folder!

Oh, and then I share my list with another business, one time, and they won’t even speak to me or open my emails because they’re having “trust issues.” I don’t know what to do…


Regretfully yours,

EFail Marketer


Thanks for your letter. Don’t worry, I’m here to help.

You see, email relationships are a lot like actual relationships. They aren’t always easy, but if you find the right person and do the right things, it should work out. You’ve made some mistakes, but you’re not without hope.

There are 10 rules to email relationships that every business should follow. Stick to these and you’ll start fixing broken relationships and even starting new ones.

1. Get to know each other before things get serious

You should never start any relationship until you really get to know each other. You may think that you know your customers, you might even see them everyday, but until they are comfortable enough to share their email address with you, don’t assume anything.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. Having a sign-up sheet at your business or a Join My Mailing List feature on your website or Facebook Page is a great way to start things off.

2. Make sure you have something in common

Without common interests, your relationship is never going to work. If someone has signed up for your email newsletter, that means you have at least something in common, but you have to make sure that the content of your emails remains relevant to keep the relationship going long term.

Keep an eye on who’s reading and who’s opting out. It’s a good way to see who’s engaging with your content and who is not. Just keep in mind, sometimes it’s just not meant to be and it might not always be your fault.

3. Don’t take them for granted

Your customers should be the most important thing to you … or at least to your business. They aren’t just names on a list; they are people who want to be appreciated. Once your subscribers start to feel like they aren’t being valued, they’ll be packing their bags.

Show that you appreciate them by getting exclusive with content, whether that’s an informative article or a coupon. Also keep an eye on how often you’re sending emails. Be careful not to smother your list by overloading their inbox – remember, sometimes less really is more.

4. Be yourself

Think of every newsletter as a first date. It’s your chance to make a first impression and to show your list what you’re all about. You already know they’re interested, they said ‘yes’ to joining your list, didn’t they? Be confident. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it.

5. Make sure your signals are getting through

Your relationship’s not going to go anywhere if your signals are getting lost in translation. When you get someone’s number for the first time, you better make sure you get all the digits, right?

It’s the same thing with your emails, make sure your recipients have any easy way of giving you accurate contact information to make sure that your messages get to where they are meant to go.

6. Earn their trust

Trust. It’s the most important part of any relationship. The best way to prove your customers can trust you is by showing them you can keep a secret. That means never EVER sharing your customer’s contact information with someone else. They trust you to protect their email addresses and once you break that trust, it’s tough to get it back.

7. Set realistic expectations

A great way to set expectations for your customers is by sending a welcome email. It helps make a good first impression and gives you a chance to show your intentions. Just don’t make promises that you can’t keep. If your newsletter is going to be a monthly newsletter, it needs to be a monthly newsletter.

8. Dress the part

This should be an easy one. You’ve already gone to the best “clothing” store for email newsletters.

We’ve got plenty of outfits to fit any business or organization and they’re easy to customize to fit the look or feel of your brand. Not only that, we make it easy for you to use the same template for each of your newsletters. That way you don’t have to worry about showing up wearing two different colored socks.

9. Be responsive

Just because you’re the one sending out your newsletter, that doesn’t  mean that you’re the only one who has something to say. Like in any relationship, you need to be good at listening.

Send out a question in your next email or use a survey to get customer feedback. This is a good way to show that you care.

10. Pay attention to the details

I don’t mean that you need to clean your fingernails and brush your hair (although you probably should anyway). I mean that you need to be aware of how things are going and pay attention to how your relationship is progressing.

Keep an eye on your email reports. Watch your open rates, your click-through rates, and your opt-outs. They’re a good way to see if things are really going as well as you think they are.

Happily ever after…

EFail Marketer isn’t a real person and this blog isn’t exactly the best place to find dating advice. But you do have a relationship with your customers that you need to value and take care of.

Whether it’s your first date or your anniversary, follow these 10 guidelines and you’ll spend more time in the inbox and less time in the spam folder.

What rules do you follow with your email marketing relationships? Tell us in the comments below!