Two months ago, Hotmail announced the addition of new email controls that will give users greater ability to regulate the influx of marketing messages they receive. The new features will address the problem of “graymail,” the messages a user did at one time subscribe to but which now no longer engage his attention.  Newsletters, Groupon-style ads, and online clubs can all fall under the category of graymail if the subscriber deletes or marks them as spam without opening.

How Hotmail users will control graymail

The primary change to Hotmail’s handling of graymail is that newsletters will be automatically marked as such by the email service. This designation will enable Hotmail users to perform tasks such as:

  • Scheduled Sweeps—Designate an expiration date for mail from specified senders, with automatic deletions when the message expires. This action also allows Hotmail users to sweep newsletters directly to a subfolder or to delete them altogether
  • Inbox Unsubscribes—Unsubscribe from a mailing list directly from Hotmail’s inbox. Hotmail will handle the unsubscribe process for you, or simply block the email
  • Instant Actions—Delete, flag, mark read, or sweep messages to a subfolder simply by hovering over the message in your inbox

What this means for marketers

While news of Hotmail’s new graymail controls may cause initial panic for email marketers, the truth is that the success of your email marketing campaign will continue to depend on the same thing it always has: value for the subscriber. Your customers wanted your email once; by making each email communication relevant to your subscribers, you can continue to keep them engaged with the marketing emails you send.

Keeping subscribers happy

The knee-jerk reaction to an announcement like Hotmail’s is often,“How can I get around the system?” But that’s the wrong question to ask. Instead, you should be asking, “How can I keep my subscribers happy so they continue to value the messages I send?” Start with these foundational principles for successful email marketing:

  • Get Permission—Use double opt-ins whenever possible. A quality subscriber list will yield far better results than quantity
  • Communicate Expectations—Will the subscriber receive a message daily? Weekly? Monthly? Don’t flood his inbox with unwelcome messages
  • Cut the Fluff—Every email you send should provide value for the subscriber. A discount, a special sales announcement, an informative newsletter—just make sure your emails are worth opening

eConnect Email can walk you through the e-mail creation process from start to finish in order to ensure that each message you send communicates value to your subscribers. In addition, every client receives the benefits of our stellar deliverability program which includes white-listing, permission-based list building, and human reviews.

About melissa:
Sales and Marketing guru for eConnect Email, an email marketing software company. When not working she enjoys spending time with her son Jack, cooking and working out. You can follow her on twitter @eConnectEmail