Bacn (pronounced like bacon) is the lesser known meat-related email buzzword, but Lifehacker, Wired, BoingBoing and even this YouTube video have been mentioning it since 2007. According to Wikipedia the official definition is:
Email that has been subscribed to and is therefore not unsolicited, but is often not read by the recipient for a long period of time, if at all. Bacn has been described as “email you want but not right now.”
Common examples of bacn messages include Facebook alerts, Twitter follower messages, and many generic email newsletters. While bacn is generally more appealing than spam (in email form as well as meat form) it will often sit in an inbox until a “later time”. While the phrase may be new to you, the concept is not and is a relevant concern for anyone who creates an email newsletter.
Do not just add to the noise
You should not be sending a newsletter only to send a newsletter. Because email is popular and inexpensive, we are all bombarded with a constant barrage of too many emails and looking for ways to cut through the clutter. There are certain email newsletters are almost always immediately deleted from my inbox because they only provide value 5-10% of the time (which is the reason I continue to receive them). Frequency and consistency are important in your email newsletters, however sending a newsletter with content that is garbage will encourage your recipients to consider your messages as bacn. This can do damage to your brand and reduce the potential for your clients to open future messages.
Mention Timely Events
One method of getting your email moved away to the top of the list and actually read is to be a curator. Talk about current events, current technology, or other hot topics that are sure to be on the minds of your reader. Often times people have heard these buzz words mentioned but are looking for a clear understanding or explanation so they can sound more informed.
Personalize Your Message
One way of avoiding being in the bacn category is to make your emails more personal. A great email service provider (ESPs) can make customizing your email newsletter easy. My ESP of choice uses merge tags which allow you to customize your email with as many client details as you have. At the very minimum your email newsletter should be addressed to their name.
Include a Sense of Urgency
Finally, you can avoid being bacn by encouraging a response. Create a newsletter or email announcement that has a deadline, RSVP, limited time discount or expiration date and include this sense of urgency in your subject line. Keep your urgent emails to a minimum though, if you are sending “urgent” emails every week you will quickly become the boy who cried wolf and back into the pile of bacn.
Use Compelling Visuals
The fastest way to grab the attention of your reader is to use large graphics and imagery. Your eye is able to respond more quickly to an image than reading and processing text. As a result, a well designed email will create an immediate impact that will probably be opened and read, more likely to be responded to, and less likely to be considered bacn.
Developing a great email newsletter that will actually be read can be difficult, but well worthwhile. Spend extra time ensuring your message is not generic, and include some personalization and compelling images and you will not be bacn. To learn more about the international issue of bacn or order bacn merchandise, visit the Bacn Official Home Page.