Reason 9,785 Why You HAVE To Get In Subscribers’ Address Books

Add to ContactsOK, 9,785 reasons might be a slight exaggeration.

But the writing is on the wall for marketers who aren’t getting subscribers to add them to their address books.

Soon, if you’re not in there, it’ll be even easier for customers and prospects to ignore your email marketing campaigns.

Here’s what I mean:

Yahoo! Helps Subscribers Quickly Filter Out Email From Non-Contacts

On their official blog, Yahoo! Mail announced that users can now toggle from viewing all mail to only mail from their contacts. 1

As they say in the announcement,

“You get a lot of emails, some good (from friends, family, even favorite interests that you’ve added to your Address Book), and a lot of not-so-important emails (special offers, newsletters, emails you rarely read).”

So they’ve introduced a way to quickly separate those “important” emails from the “not-so-important” ones.

Essentially, Yahoo! is making it easier for users to do the same thing with emails that we all do with our postal mail – we look through for messages from friends, family and other people we know and put it in an “A” pile that we actually read, and we take everything else and put it in a “B” pile that we typically don’t read.

Many of us already do it with email, too, by using filters – but up until now we had to set those up manually. It’s not hard to do, but it is an extra hoop that most email users wouldn’t jump through.

A one-click filter like the one Yahoo! has created makes faster email filtering accessible to even novice users. Don’t be surprised if you see other email programs do something similar.

So How Do You Make Sure Your Email Doesn’t Get Filtered Out and Ignored?

Well, in this case you do it by getting subscribers to put you in their address book (sometimes called a “contact list”).

As for how you do that?

  1. Ask on your thank you page.

    You should already be using the thank you page to set expectations immediately after subscribers join your list.

    And one of those expectations should be telling people who the emails will come from (i.e., your “from” name and email address).

    Add a sentence asking subscribers to add that address to their address books. Quick and easy.

  2. Ask in your welcome email (and maybe other emails).

    Some people might not add you to their address books while on your thank you page (they may have overlooked the request, forgotten or just not wanted to yet).

    Now that subscribers have seen an example of your email, point out that to ensure that they keep getting the information they signed up for, they should add you to their address book.

    You might also put a reminder in some of your follow ups and/or broadcasts.

  3. Build a relationship with subscribers.

    If you want subscribers to treat you like a contact, you have to earn that status in their minds.

    Providing valuable content is a big part of this.

    So is coming across as a real person (see our social networking tips for email marketers).

    So is being accessible.

The Inbox is Shrinking

One could argue that this Yahoo! move is effectively creating multiple inboxes – one with all email and one only with email from contacts.

Given a choice between viewing “all” email, and only email from preferred sources (like your contacts), which one are you going to spend time in?

To take a “tree falling in the forest” view of it,

If an email goes to an inbox, but nobody ever looks at that particular inbox, is it really delivered?

If you think about it, as more email programs implement tools like Yahoo!’s and the email that’s important/relevant to the recipient ends up in a “contacts” inbox, the “default” inbox really becomes more of a “junk” folder than an inbox.

And none of us want to end up there. Right?

1: Hat tip to Mark Brownlow for pointing out Yahoo!’s announcement.

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Justin Premick is the former Director of Educational Products at AWeber.

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25 Comments

  1. WOW…This is going to be a huge change in email and thanks for keeping us on top of things.

    This really means that we now have new opp. to get our email through were others want.

    6/4/2009 10:15 am
  2. Steve

    This is great information, especially for those of us just starting with email marketing or people like me who haven?t done it in several years.

    One question though? which I have not seen answered in previous posts or in the knowledge base.

    For affiliates who may have several websites, products, blogs, etc. and a number of lists (prospects, customers, auto responder articles, etc.) is it best to use ONE single address as the return address for all the lists (Say as a portal or centralized site), or an email address specific to that domain?

    You see my issue here? I had planned on using my name in the from field, with a specific domain for each list, but now I am rethinking that.

    Any input?

    Thanks for all the great tips!

    6/4/2009 10:37 am
  3. Joshua U

    Posts like these is why I remain subscribed to the blog. Critical updates by email providers is important.

    Is it okay to have the user add the domain of the address e.g. @mydomain.com or does it have to be a full email name@mydomain.com ?

    I’ve seen both used. @mydomain.com is my preference at the moment because I change the sending email address at times.

    6/4/2009 11:50 am
  4. Wow, how can this be a good thing? As a user, I think it’s awesome- I fit the user profile you describe.

    As a content provider using aweber, this forces us to be highly niched and only sending to the people who love what we offer. And short and quick – make an impact in 1-2 min.

    6/4/2009 12:44 pm
  5. Thanks Justin, this is great information.

    Does anyone have a good set of instructions to help users of all the different email services to "add me to your address book"?

    For example: If you are an Outlook user, right-click on our email address in the From: field and select "add to contacts"

    6/4/2009 1:07 pm
  6. This can be a good thing if worked right. If there is an inbox for contacts and one for all other mail no matter how it is set up then the potential to get emails read go up if you get into the contact inbox.

    Hmmmmm! Much to think about.

    Thanks for the information

    6/4/2009 2:17 pm
  7. Hold up guys! This isnt new! Google has had a filter option for years now. Millions of our subscribers have already had the option of filtering the email.

    I agree with relationship building but the key is to continue creating, marketing and over delivering VALUE.

    Acknowledge that you know they get a lot of emails and how much you appreciate their time.

    Send them "Just because gifts" for staying with you.

    Send them ideas and help "Just because"

    Create, market, and over deliver VALUE and filtering will never be a problem.

    6/4/2009 4:28 pm
  8. You mean simple addresses like this of course:
    rencoach-a@aweber.com on behalf of Gerry Fryer [gfryer@rencoach.ca]

    6/4/2009 5:05 pm
  9. Thanks Justin,

    another valuable piece of info to build into the solution.

    All the best and keep ‘em coming…

    6/4/2009 7:53 pm
  10. There are quiet a few more reasons but this one – the value from the artiles aweber writes is why I am glad I subscribed and got my system from them.

    I like this part especially..

    "If you want subscribers to treat you like a contact, you have to earn that status in their minds.

    Providing valuable content is a big part of this."

    Brillaintly said. Thanks for sharing valuable content. It sure has helped our business alot.

    6/5/2009 12:14 am
  11. Steve,

    I tend to favor a unique address for each domain – but if you have multiple lists for different campaigns you run for the same domain, then one address could be appropriate there.

    Example: we use help@aweber.com as our "from" address on all of AWeber’s email campaigns. But if we were to run a campaign for another domain, we would probably not use that address.

    Joshua,

    In the case of Yahoo! it sounds like you’d need them to add your specific address rather than the domain. I don’t think you can have just a domain as one of your contacts (but I don’t use Yahoo much, so am not 100% sure).

    Nancy,

    You’re right – in order for your email marketing campaigns to succeed, people need to love what you offer. But that was the case even before Yahoo! introduced this feature.

    Neil,

    There are a couple websites out there with "whitelist generators" where you plug in some information about your email campaign and they’ll generate some text-based whitelisting instructions for your thank you page.

    (Note: these pages aren’t associated with AWeber and I can’t vouch for their continued accuracy as email programs change – but at the time I checked them, they seemed accurate.)

    http://www.cleanmymailbox.com/whitelist.html
    http://www.emaildeliveryjedi.com/email-whitelist.php

    Darren,

    I agree – value and relationship-building are inextricably linked.

    Re: filtering – yes, filters have been around for years, but they require a certain amount of determination and computer savvy which restrict their usage. The new Yahoo! contact-based filtering is a one-click filter. Anyone can use it.

    Gerry,

    You want the subscriber to add your address, not the AWeber one.

    The from line you see there is presented that way in certain email programs (notably, I believe, Windows Live Hotmail and MS Outlook) as part of Sender ID email authentication. I have yet to see Yahoo! display an address that way.

    6/5/2009 9:06 am | Follow me on Twitter
  12. Jsti all you need to do for gmail is click settings>filter>add filter

    That is not difficult sir.

    And it is simplicity w gmail that made them grow more than any other email service

    6/5/2009 9:19 am
  13. Justin,

    Very important post in my view and I believe #1 is critical.

    It all starts with the thank you page and I might be inclined to make it almost as important as the opt in page.

    Thanks for calling this to our attention.

    6/6/2009 6:27 am
  14. How long is long enough? We talk about google recognizing our websites over the years.

    One other question is it better to have one web site or several mini sites?

    6/8/2009 1:23 pm
  15. jad

    Great article! I can’t wait to hear reason 9,786. LOL.

    6/9/2009 7:50 pm
  16. Mike

    WHY DOESN’T AWEBER INCLUDE THIS INFORMATION IN THEIR DEFAULT " CHECK YOUR EMAIL FOR CONFIRMATION" MESSAGE AFTER A SUBSCRIBER SUBSCRIBES?

    6/13/2009 8:58 pm
  17. Hi Mike,

    The default thank you page is designed to be appropriate for all AWeber customers to use.

    There are some technical challenges involved with showing dynamic/varying information (like a given list’s "from" address) on a static default thank you page — this is one reason that we strongly recommend you create a custom thank you page on your own website, and have your form redirect there instead.

    That said, I agree that the default thank you page would be better if we showed the "from" address on it. No promises, but we’ll look into it.

    6/15/2009 8:47 am | Follow me on Twitter
  18. @Justin,

    Thanks for the link to the whitelist generator. I just completely updated the list and all the info is verified with the corporations that offer the filters and ISPs.

    I do want to encourage anyone that has feedback or suggestions as to what else should be included or what how I can make this app better to contact me.

    chris [at] keywebdata * com-

    This app has gotten allot of attention lately with 1Shopping Cart recommending the app as well.

    Cheers and thanks again!

    6/23/2009 4:29 am
  19. Actually I am happy with your amazing information. I have never had it this way before. I would say thank you to Aweber and expecially to my Marketing manager, Justin Premick. You people are doing wonderful job out there.

    Pls. include the above email address in your address book, Justin.

    7/22/2009 11:01 am
  20. Thanks again guys,
    just been going nover the "stored" items and came across this little gem again,I missed it the first time round.
    Cheers keep Um-Coming.

    9/4/2009 4:53 am

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