What's Good Mailing List Etiquette?

What's Good Mailing List Etiquette?

Do you have good mailing list etiquette? We try to have good manners in real life. Manners are essential online as well. There are some social manners to observe with email, and these netiquette rules apply to email mailing lists.

Don’t Send Unsolicited Email

First and foremost, you cannot send unsolicited email. Not only is it bad mailing list etiquette, but it’s also called spam. Which can get you in trouble with your Internet Service Provider, as well as the United States Federal Trade Commission. That means that all of your subscribers must have volunteered to receive your email.

Be Careful of Your Tone

Second, good mailing list etiquette means being careful with the tone of your message. It is easy for readers to interpret your message differently than what you meant. In particular, it’s easy to read anger into a message, when none was intended. Remember that there is no body language, or voice emphasis to give the readers clues.

Along the same lines, jokes and sarcastic remarks are frequently misunderstood. You may want to include special symbols to point out your attempts at humor. The standard smiley :-) is the most frequently used symbol to convey humor.

Never Expose the Email Address of Your Subscribers

Third, in good mailing list etiquette, you never expose the email addresses of any of your subscribers. The BCC field will hide the addresses from everybody else, so use that if you are running your own list.

Keep Email Bodies and Subject Lines Short but Meaningful for Good Mailing List Etiquette

You will want to have a meaningful subject line, yet not too long. That’s because some email readers will only display a certain number of characters. Keeping your Subject lines under 50 characters is a good goal.

Keep your messages short and focused and preferably only cover one point in an email.

Watch Your Formatting, Abbreviations, and Spelling

All capital letters in email implies SHOUTING, and should be used where shouting is appropriate (which is not that often). You can add emphasis to individual words or phrases by surrounding them with asterisks, like this or CAPITALIZING just the few words needed to make your point.

Use abbreviations sparingly, and be sure that your typical subscriber will already know the abbreviations that you do use.

Check your spelling and correct all errors before you send your message out.

Want step up your etiquette with some kindness? Check out this blog on making your community kind.