Can or can I send you an email?


Is there a real difference between “Can I email you?” and “I can email you.” And I’m not just talking about what question to ask your potential subscriber.

In case you’re wondering now that I mentioned that, WordTask defines “can” as expressing permission or possibility, while “can” expresses ability.

In email marketing, the first question… “Can I email you?” is the essential question you ask your potential subscriber when you get permission to email them. This is where you need to be very clear about what you’re asking for permission to send, and she needs to be very clear about what she’s giving you permission to send.

The “I can email you” is a whole different story. However, your ability to deliver email is still a bit of a permission slip. Not so much asking permission… the “Can I?” because there’s really no one to ask permission from… but find out through testing if you can actually get the email to move from your “outbox” to the recipient’s “inbox”.

This is the most technical part of email marketing and can be much more complicated.

The “can” for email marketing is whether your potential subscriber has the right kind of software to receive your email in the format you’ve designed it for… and… (the part about finding out if you have permission without saying). “Mom can I?”) is whether you can (have the ability to) get your content and design past the permission police of the many spam filters currently used by Internet Service Providers (ISPs), as well as any additional filters added by your potential subscriber.

The first part of the “Can…” in terms of whether your subscriber can actually read what you send is getting a little easier as computer operating systems and software updates allow the Most email users can read HTML, PDF and text. It’s certainly not 100% though, so part of your “Can I email you?” The quiz is “In what format would you like to receive your emails?” so you’ll know what he can read on his computer, as well as what he might prefer.

The second part of “I can” (your ability to physically receive the email) also involves an action on her part, ie…she has to whitelist you…or add you to their list of acceptable contacts, as this is how you confirm acceptance, so that your emails are not automatically sent to their “spam”.

Now that you’ve made it this far, the last hurdle to “Can you get email through” is the hardest one… and frankly, it’s best left to the experts. Especially if you are rapidly developing a large email list. Experts in getting past spam filters are email marketing services, acting as your agent, they have developed a “relationship” with ISPs. They know and understand what words, phrases, graphics and other test criteria can cause your messages to be considered “spam” and blocked before they can be received.

On, you can see that the top three rated email marketing services are Icontact, Benchmark and ConstantContact. They’re not the only email marketing companies you might consider, but using someone in this field can make a significant difference in whether your email can reach the intended recipient’s inbox.

Here you have. Once you have permission, you can send the email. And, once you understand the formats and filters (and probably get some professional help), you can send your emails to the right inbox.