Posts Tagged ‘email marketing’

Do You Think You Know Email Marketing?

Just when you thought you knew email marketing…

• Your email marketing campaigns are sent out on schedule.
• Advanced email marketers send out campaigns when it is proven to be convenient for both them and their recipients.

• Your email marketing campaigns provide consistent results.
• Advanced email marketers review email strategies and look to explore how else email marketing can work to their advantage.

• Your email marketing budgets are based on how much you want to spend.
• Advanced email marketers base their budgets on how much they want to make.

• Your email marketing lists are clean of inactive addresses.
• Advanced email marketers attempt to define ‘inactive’ by looking for decisive patterns which may turn active addresses into inactive ones and seek to rectify the problem by developing preemptive reactivation strategies.

• Your email marketing lists only contain active addresses.
• Advanced email marketers reward active addresses for their loyalty over a specific period of time.

• Your email marketing campaigns are conscious of anti-spam laws and ISP regulations.
• Advanced email marketers care more about what their recipient thinks of their emails and understand that abiding to anti-spam laws and ISP regulations is often negatively influential on the quality of the actual email.

• Your emails are tested regularly and efficiently across different browsers and operating systems.
• Advanced email marketers test their emails more, and are committed to changing things when they simply aren’t working.

• Your email marketing is consistent with best practices in your field.
• Advanced email marketers plan their strategies because it suits their long term objectives.

• You are evaluating your email marketing campaigns using statistics on your email marketing software.
• Advanced email marketers incorporate this data into their ongoing strategies to target statistics which are more relevant to their long term goals.

• Your email marketing campaigns show good open and click-through rates.
• Advanced email marketers aim to find out why people aren’t opening or clicking.

• Your email marketing campaigns show proven results.
• Advanced email marketers try to gather solicited feedback and aren’t afraid of criticism.

• Your emails abide to all the best practices in the field.
• Advanced email marketing abides to most of the best practices in the field but to the best of their potential.

http://www.design-logix.co.uk/blog/blog-entry/do_you_think_you_know_email_marketing

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Why Not Participating Email Marketing?

If you are currently participating in other types of Internet marketing but not email marketing you should seriously consider why you are avoiding this type of advertising. This is important because email marketing can be a very important part of an Internet marketing campaign. Many business owners avoid email marketing for fear of being accused of spamming. Internet markets may not have a clear understanding of what is spam and what is not so they avoid participation in email marketing campaigns to avoid the potential for being labeled a spammer.

Why are Internet marketers so afraid of being accused of being purveyors of spam? This is a common fear for a number of reasons. First of all there may be harsh penalties associated with sending spam emails. Recipients of spam have the option of reporting the spam to their Internet service provider who will investigate the validity of the claim. If the originator of the email is determined to be a spammer there can be harsh consequences.

Internet marketers are also afraid of email marketing because they believe it will not be well received by potential customers. This is an important concept because Internet users are bombarded with spam each day. Receiving this quantity of spam each day can be frustrating and can anger some Internet users. These Internet users are not likely to be receptive to email marketing. The fear that these potential customers will view email marketing and stray to competitors keeps many Internet marketers from taking advantage of this type of marketing strategy.

However, it is important to note that despite the prevalent problem with spam, many Internet users are quite receptive to email marketing. This is especially true in situations where they specifically requested to receive more information from the business owner regarding his products and services. Potential clients are particularly receptive to email marketing which provides something of value to the recipient of the email. Emails which contain in depth articles, useful tips or product reviews may be appreciated by consumers.

Additionally, items such as e-newsletters and correspondence courses offered via email can be of particular interest to potential customers. E-newsletters are typically longer documents than traditional email marketing pieces and can provide a great deal of additional information to the email recipient. Email correspondence courses may be offered in short segments and typically amount to a significant amount of information which is likely to be greatly appreciated by the email recipients.

One final way to prevent email recipients from viewing your email marketing efforts as spam is to only send the emails to recipients who register with your website and specifically request for you to send them additional information and promotional materials. This opt in formula is ideal because it ensures you are not wasting your email marketing efforts on recipients who are not interested in your products or services. It also ensures the recipients of the email marketing campaign do not view the informative and promotional materials they are receiving as spam. This technique for compiling an email distribution list is quite effective but it is important to remember you should always include information on how recipients can opt out of receiving future emails, www.Automatic-Responder.com is a great service to help with this. This is important because the email recipients may have once been interested in receiving marketing emails but over time this may change. If they are no longer interested in these emails, they may begin to view the emails as spam if they are not given the option of being removed from the distribution list.

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Email marketing the easy way

What is email marketing?

Basically, in plain English, email marketing is a targeted mass mailing done via email. The purpose of email marketing could be advertising in order to recruit new clients, introducing a new set of products or services to an existing client base, keeping your clients informed by means of a newsletter, etc. All of the before mentioned activities are very legitimate business efforts, as long as you respect some unwritten rules and as long as the list of emails you use is what is called 'targeted', in other words the names came from a database generated by your marketing division and represents your existing client base, a carefully selected list of potential prospects or a list of people who opted in to receive your messages.

If instead of the above you use a list that you bought (you know, "25 million guaranteed AOL email addresses for only 19.95 - plus shipping"), or are doing it without warning the people on your list, or using other shady methods, then you are considered a spammer and what you are sending is spam, bulk mail, unsolicited email, basically, the main enemy of all things virtue and life in general. Yes folks, it is that easy to be labeled as a spammer, and very hard to get out of it.
Once your message is considered unsolicited, you will immediately be put on zillions of black lists, side by side with those who promise inches and inches of extra extremities and hours and hours of ecstatic pleasures (for only 3 easy payments and some handling fees).

Sound pretty risky, so why bother?

Obviously, opt-in email advertising is far more cost effective than direct marketing via regular mail, door-to-door sales, or telemarketing. Paper, printing, envelopes, and postage can add up quickly. Door to door sales require paying out commissions. Telemarketing results in high long distance bills, often without great results, as people become more and more blood thirsty toward the people on the other end of the so called cold call.

So why not just use my personal email or my company's mail server and some mailing software?

In the early days of email marketing. They would gather all their emails into some primitive version of a spreadsheet, fire up some mail merging program, hook it up to their corporate mail system and voila, thousands of emails were flying away.

Today, the scenario is certainly possible, but let me tell you in a simple set of scenarios what can happen:

One of the many not-for-profit groups that decided to police the internet will intercept that a large number of emails were generated and sent by a server near you (yep, they can do that). In order to protect the civilized world from those who spread spam, viruses and other vermin, they will put you on a list of threats to humanity. Those other nice corporate folks who were your indented recipients, have an IT department that gets constantly yelled at by angry users who get emails with naked people. Well - Mel, their IT guy decides to put up an anti-spam system that links to that not-for-profit's database of known spammers (oh yeah, did I mention you are now a 'known spammer'?) and block your emails. Your emails might actually be blocked so well that your company will have a real trouble communicating via email and your IT folks will all go nuts and/or get fired.

Basically, not so good. Other things that can happen are: you'll have to build some opt-in / opt-out system, in some states there are laws that require that you make it very easy for your audience to unsubscribe, you'll have a hard time formatting your emails in a decent, eye pleasing way, etc.

Lastly, the process of sending thousands of emails and managing lists, subscribing and unsubscribing people is tedious and just plain annoying. The only way to do it is with a maximum degree of automation, or, the better solution - to outsource to a company that does it professionally.

Folks, I am known for promoting the "do it in house" concept, and am not that big on outsourcing. But when it comes to mass mailing... I say stay away from it and let the professionals do what they do.

If you are worried about cost, know that the fee you pay for email marketing services, will still cost less than the continued overhead and expenses of the traditional options, not to mention the great possibilities of reaching a much larger audience, much faster (practically instantly).

What to look for in an email marketing company?

1. Automating Your Subscribe and Unsubscribe Requests

Many email marketing companies will provide you with exact HTML code you need to paste to your site to have a subscription form on your web site. The better services also provide a link at the bottom of each email that enables subscribers to update their information or unsubscribe from a list, automating everything for you.

2. Personalization of Emails

Another powerful feature of many email marketing services is the ability to use mail merge capabilities to personalize each email that you send. The better services allow to have custom fields, additional to the standard first name and last name.

3. Bounceback email handling

Bouncebacks are emails that are sent to email accounts that no longer exist or are full, blocked, etc. Essentially, you'll get a response stating that your message did not make it. All email list management software programs are able to manage subscribe and unsubscribe requests and send out messages, however without integrated bounceback email handling all the non-deliverable emails will be sent back to you, a rather big nuisance if your list is large. Ideally, the email software you use will be able to manage your bouncebacks for you. Whenever a bounceback is received, the software makes a note of the address and if another bounceback is received the email address will be sent to a list of dead addresses.

This remove capability is extremely important since if you continuously send out emails with many bouncebacks you may be blacklisted as a spammer. This is something you really want to avoid at all cost.

4. HTML email

The ability to send out HTML emails has been around for quite some time. Most email marketing companies support the ability to send out messages that include graphics and formatted text. This is surely something you'll want to look for.

However, not all of your users have the ability to view email messages in HTML format. This percentage is usually between 10-20%. Instead of seeing your aesthetically pleasing email they might see a string of meaningless code. Using most email list management programs, these 10-20% of users will open up emails from you and be very inclined to call you a spammer.

To avoid this, look for companies that use multi-part MIME to send out messages. When you send an HTML email in multi-part MIME, users who do not have the ability to view HTML messages will receive the email in the usual text format.

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Email Marketing Advantages

Email marketing is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of Internet advertising. This is because there are many distinct advantages to the concept of email marketing. However, email marketing does have some disadvantages as well. In this article we will examine the advantages and disadvantages of email marketing and will also provide some insight into how to plan and execute an effective email marketing campaign.

Email marketing certainly has a set of unique advantages over other types of marketing both online and offline. Perhaps one of the most significant advantages to email marketing is the ability to reach a worldwide audience with minimal effort. It is certainly possible to reach a worldwide audience with other types of advertising but traditional types of advertising such as television, radio and the print media are not nearly as effective for reaching potential customers around the world all at once.

Another major advantage to email marketing is it is extremely affordable. This is significant because there are many other types of marketing, including Internet marketing, which are significantly more expensive than email marketing. The costs associated with email marketing are minimal. Ideally you will already have a list of email recipients who are interested in your products and services so there is no cost associated with obtaining a list of email addresses. Additionally the cost to send out emails is minimal and can be considered part of your regular operating costs. All of these factors already make email marketing extremely cost effective.

However, there is some cost involved in email marketing. Primarily this is the costs associated with writing the advertisements and creating any graphics which will accompany the email advertisements. This will require hiring a writer to write the copy for the advertisement and a designer to create and implements the graphics. The cost of these services will vary pretty widely but in general you will pay more for writers and designers with more experience. This is because these writers and designers are expected to be able to produce a higher quality of work than those with less experience could produce.

The most obvious disadvantage to email marketing is the possibility of having your email marketing viewed as spam. This is a very important problem because it could prove to be quite costly in terms of the profit margin for your business. Each day Internet users are bombarded with unsolicited emails serving as advertisements. This problem has reached epic proportions and the abundance of spam infiltrating the email boxes of innocent Internet users has to be cautious and suspicious about any email they receive which is unsolicited and appears to be promoting a particular product or service.

Emails which contain subject lines or content which appear to be similar to spam may be automatically transferred to a spam email folder by the email system. Emails which are not automatically deleted may be deleted without being opened simply because the recipient does not recognize the sender of the email. Both of these problems can result in essentially wasted time for the business owner because the recipients are not even viewing the emails advertising the products and services offered by the business. Additionally, they may result in complaints being lodged against the company for being a purveyor of spam.

Now that you understand the advantages and disadvantages of email marketing, you might wonder how you can maximize the advantages to use email marketing to your advantage. The most important factor to consider is your email distribution list. This should consist of former customers who have expressed a desire to receive emails with information and advertisements as well as potential customers who have also expressed interest in more information.

The content of the emails should also be carefully considered. They should certainly highlight the products and services you offer but should do so without appearing to be a hard sales pitch. A writer with experience in writing this type of copy should be able to assist you in providing insightful and accurate copy which also entices the reader to find out more about your products and services. Finally your emails should provide the readers with a call to action. This should be a statement urging the reader to take a specific action such as making a purchase or researching a product.

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