FactCheck: Apple isn’t really going to kill your business 

By  Michael Helmke

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I keep reading about people who are panicking that Apple is killing business marketing.

They make it sound like it’s the end of the world and that soon we won’t even be able to email our current and future customers.

Overall this panic is nonsense. However there are some big changes coming from Apple that you need to be aware of.

Apple as Privacy Activist

Whether you agree with them or not, Apple considers itself a privacy watchdog for it’s customers.

For example, the limits they put on their app store in the interest in overall security on their phones and tablets. Or the end-to-end encryption built into their text messaging apps.

So it isn’t too surprising Apple are making three changes to how email works on their platforms.

1. Email open privacy.
2. Email location privacy.
3. Email subscribing privacy.

(Note that Apple calls them something else. I’m simplifying for clarify.)

Email Open Privacy

Right now when you send out an email newsletter, you can get a report of how many people opened it.

This is the email “Open Rate”. A lot of people use the number of newsletter opens as a way to measure their success. The idea is more opens means more readers. Good right?

Apple’s change will make it so that emails will always appear to be opened whether or not your newsletter reader really did open the email.

Bad right?

The real answer is, it depends.

Email open rates have never been an accurate measure of email success. Already, some email readers mark an email as opened automatically (or even block visibility of opens). Apple’s change will simply make open rates even more inaccurate.

The thing is, you should be using other factors to know if your emails are successful. Do people write back to you when you send a newsletter? Do they click through to surveys or web links or blog posts you include in the newsletter? Are they buying from you?

These are absolute measures of success with your newsletter. An open doesn’t mean someone read your words. Doing one of those other things that gets a direct response from your readers means your emails are having the intended effect.

As long as you are creating entertaining email content and actively engaging your readers, you’ll be ok.

Email Location Privacy

Apple is doing something which will make it so you can’t tell where your email readers are reading from.

Right now it is sometimes possible to know the geographic location of your readers. In future this will become much harder.

How this affects you depends on how important location is for you.

Of course, tracking where people are from is sort of creepy. We just got used to it because so much of our previously private information is there for the taking on the Internet in so many other ways.

If location matters, you could always ask people when they join your newsletter or send them a survey later on. If your email audience likes you, you’ll probably get a good number of replies to location questions.

So again, be good to your email audience and they will be good to you.

Email Subscribing Privacy

This last one is especially interesting.

Apple is somehow going to make it easy to create “one-time-use” email addresses.

This is so when you sign up for something new, you don’t necessarily have to give up your “real” email address. You create a one-time-use address and any mail that goes there ends up in your real inbox.

Here’s the privacy related part. If you give up this one-time-use address and then someone start sending you stuff you don’t like or sells this address to a bunch of spammers, you can just disable the one-time-use address and your inbox remains clean.

Of course if people sign up for your email newsletter this way, you might lose them from your list if they disable that one-time-use address.

Just like the other examples, though, if people subscribe to your newsletter and you are producing something really really great, people aren’t going to want to unsubscribe. In fact, you can encourage them to use their real email address so they don’t miss a single episode.

Getting Your Readers to Respond Every Time

Through all of this, the only people who are in really trouble are those who are just trying to scam people.

On the other hand, if you are writing regularly and providing good content, you are going to get a good readership. Here some tips to make sure you get measurable responses from your readers:

  • Give them a survey from time to time. You can use Google Forms or TypeForms for this pretty easily. People enjoy giving their opinion and you’ll know they read your email if they go off and take your survey.
  • Record a video on YouTube and make your email a lead in to directing people there. As with surveys, viewership indicates readership.
  • Create more free giveaways like downloadable checklists, cheat sheets, and guides. You can measure downloads and you can learn more about your audience based on which kinds of giveaway gets downloaded.
  • More simply, you can always ask your audience questions which they can reply to.
  • Best of all is making sales offers in your emails. Purchases are by far the most conclusive way to indicate someone read and found your email valuable.

With all this in mind, I’m not worried about Apple’s privacy focused changes and you shouldn’t be either.

Bottom line:  Keep producing valuable, entertaining material for your email audience. Always include something in your email that is measurable to try to get them to download, click, reply, view, or purchase and you should be able to measure how successful you are being with your emails.

For more tips on how to grow your business and get more customers, sign up for my own email newsletter using the form below. It’s weekly and fun and will give you ideas on what to do next for the benefit of your business.

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