Unlike SPAM, BACN isn't an attack on your privacy. It's pretty much self-inflicted. BACN is email you signed up for, but rarely read... or email you might want to read, but not right now... or email you sometimes need, but still find irritating. Some examples:
- "hot deals" newsletters or new product announcements from your favorite store or website
- frequent flier or vacation club updates
- those notifications you get from Multiply or Facebook telling you what your friends are up to
While BACN isn't SPAM, it can still be pretty annoying (honestly, Facebook, how often do i have to read that someone poked me?) The reason you DON'T unsubscribe is that once in a while you might get something that interests you, or an offer or information you might actually need. For the most part, though - you scan, yawn and delete.
As an email marketer, it's important to take any and all steps necessary to ensure your opt-in email doesn't turn into the dreaded BACN. Here are three tips that might help:
1. Create anticipation. The main reason your email messages may be going unnoticed is that you send them too frequently. You want to generate some anticipation for your next offering so that when your email enters the inbox, the recipient says to him- or herself, "Oh, I haven't heard from them in a long time. I wonder what’s going on?"
Limit email sending to enhance the reader's expectation, and be creative! At the 2008 Email Summit in Miami, I met a newsletter publisher who sends out company newsletters "every full moon." Because it's so original (and really, pretty hilarious) he actually gets reminders from subscribers when newsletter time draws near ("The full moon is coming - how's your newsletter coming along?").
2. Add more personalization. Over time, you collect a lot of data on your subscribers: who they are, what they like, how much they spend. Use this data to create engaging, one-on-one communications. Make your subscribers feel that your email message is just for them alone --- a one-off message that engages them in a real conversation. There's a lot of great email software you can use to do this.
3. Segment unresponsive subscribers. As hard as it may seem, at some point it's best to just weed out unresponsive email addresses and let them go. You don't have to get rid of them altogether, but as a first step, try putting unresponsive addresses in a separate list. Treat them differently. Woo them back. If all your efforts fail, just make a clean break.
Over the past 3 months I did a major hatchet job on my company's email lists - cutting down huge lists of 10-20,000 down to a seemingly alarming 1,000+ responsive names per offer. Because my lists were smaller and more segmented, they were easier to personalize, make relevant to the recipient, and track... so instead of decreasing sales (as everyone thought it would), the hatchet job actually BOOSTED sales - and more importantly... customer loyalty and satisfaction.
At the end of the day, the same rules apply - whether to SPAM or BACN or even personal email. Only send people messages that they actually want to read. Be relevant. Be interesting. And remember the sage advice of our non-techie parents, as it still applies today... if you have nothing good to say, it's often best not to say anything at all.