While email markting is a great way to nurture customers and prospects, email marketers run the gamut from good to bad to naive. Obviously, bad refers to those who send junk mail, otherwise known as spam. They don't care how much time it takes for you to sort through your inbox or how much you pay for filters to keep them out of your inbox.
Naive email marketers are much more common. They mean well and they are generally good people with a good product offering. Unfortunately, they have no idea what mischief they are causing.
Here's how you can make yourself look good to your email recipients:
First, remember that email, unlike other forms of advertising, is paid for by the recipient. The person receiving your email is paying to receive internet access and that includes the privilege of an email account. Sure there are "free" accounts out there, but those accounts are paid for by the sponsors on the sites and people who buy from those sponsors. So don't send too often or people will get sick of you!
Bottom line; don't abuse the privilege of email! That's why people hate spam so much.
Second: Always provide a way to unsubscribe. No excuses. Whether you are emailing to all of the contacts in your outlook database or you are using canned mass email software, always provide a way for the recipient to opt out. And when people ask to be removed from your list, do it quickly without further correspondence.
Next, remind people why they are receiving your email. Be specific as possible. You may have seen this in emails you have received as a message preceding the actual email itself. If you are a member of an organization, be sure to mention the association in your email. If you want to email to an associates list, the email must be sent from your associate to their list. Adding a personal note will go far with this type of email, "Here's information from one of our valued partners . . ."
And, be sure to use a real email address when sending out the message. Don't use something made up like "firstname.lastname@example.org." People won't recognize the address and it's more likely to trigger a bulk spam filter.
When you send your message, stay away from large files like flash files, sounds, videos etc. Beyond triggering spam filters, most, if not all, reputable broadcast email services won't send the attachments. And remember that images won't always be seen. It depends if the recipient has their email settings to allow images to automatically display. That's why you'll always want to add alternative text to the images in the email and use an alternative "text only" version of the email.
Collect your own email addresses. It's tempting to email to a "rented" list or "farm" the addresses of people you've never met from websites but most often people won't be as receptive to your communication. When you email people who are sure they want to hear from you, your response rate is much higher.
Use an opt in system. Opt In means that the recipient has chosen to be a part of your email list whether by signing up at your location or online. If you are really good you'll use a "double opt in" system to be very sure that your recipients are aware of and want to be on your list. This not only keeps your list cleaner with better results, it serves as a paper trail should you be reported to your internet service provider as sending spam.
And speaking of spam; be sure you follow the rules of the Canned Spam act. To view a "user friendly" copy of the FCC spam regulations click here.
Email marketing is an important part of any internet marketing stragey, by keeping the rules of email in mind, you'll not only enjoy a high response rate, you'll also be considered a courteous emailer and will enjoy many referrals to your list.
This article written by Teajai Kimsey, Internet Marketing Strategist, Ideas That Work
It may be reproduced and reprinted provided the author's information including web link is kept intact.