Email Marketing The Easy Way

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 (that is,​ before the​ art of​ penile enlargement was crafted),​ that's exactly what people did. 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.

So who should you​ use?

Do your homework,​ read reviews,​ eventually,​ make use of​ a​ trial account and see if​ it​ fits your needs. I currently use Intellicontact (Owned by Broadwick Corporation,​ a​ company specialized in​ software that improves communication efficiency for businesses) - check them out at​ http://www.bsleek.com/emailmarketing - they do everything I told you​ about in​ this article,​ plus more.




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