What you should know before pressing that ‘send’ button
Right this very minute you probably have at least a few newsletter
campaigns in your inbox that are both helpful, and entertaining. And a
few that are utterly annoying and with any luck have already been
filtered over to your ‘junk-mail’ box!
In this article I will help you understand the complexities of email
marketing, and how to keep on the good side of your subscribers, out of
the junk mail filters, and most importantly, how to convert subscribers
Most people are incredibly concerned about the amount of spam they
receive. Do not buy or sell email lists. Do not send emails to people
who didn’t give you permission to send to them. Even if you get people’s
email addresses at trade shows, etc., make sure that they have given you permission to send them an occasional email. Disregard for
people’s privacy will always end up causing way more harm than good. I’ve
helped people produce thousands of campaigns and have scrutinized tons
of data and feedback. Many times, the first place a user will go is the
trust and credibility. You can read more about privacy in ‘Writing a
Never Send Email Campaigns from Your Own Inbox!
The worse thing that could happen to you and your business is to be
identified as a source of SPAM. Servers are constantly being bombarded
by spammers attempts to get their junk-mail through servers and to
random recipients. It’s actually illegal to spam, and you can visit
FTC site for more info on the CAN-SPAM Act. You’d think this would slow
down spammers efforts, but it doesn’t. Your ISPs and IT staff etc., have
an absolute zero tolerance policy regarding spam. Filters are set up to
automatically sense and block these sites the second they are received.
Our problem is that if you send a bulk email to your clients, and that
email is accidentally interpreted as spam, there is more than a good
chance that your website might be blocked to that whole company. If this
happens, even people typing your whole URL into the address bar will
just see a ‘404 Site Not Found’ error message, because their internal
firewall has blacklisted your email account and domain. — Bad? Oh yes,
very bad! That’s why using an email service is imperative.
Why Use an Email Delivery Service?
Email delivery services, are third party companies that go to incredibly
great pains to make sure you do not get blacklisted. Any reputable email
service is usually a member of the ESPC (Email Service Provider
Coalition), which is a cooperative group of industry leader that helps
it’s members face the rather difficult issues associated with email
marketing. Any service you select should probably be a member of the
Email services often try and make sure you are in compliance to CAN-SPAM
rules and will quickly ban users who they receive complaints about. The
emails you send out affect their reputation as much as yours. Often
these services will stop large mailings, until they have verified that
all of your subscribers are in fact your users, and that they have
opted-in as your subscribers. Opt-In and Double Opt-In are important
terms and we’ll delve into this more later.
What to Look for in an Email Delivery Service?
There are hundreds of services out there. Make sure when you are
shopping for services, they follow best privacy and email
marketing practices. Ensure they proactively work with compliant
services, to keep themselves white-listed and keep themselves from
being blocked. If their reputation is bad, your emails will not go
through to your subscribers. Make sure your delivery providers have
fairly decent analytic functions to let you know how successful your
campaigns are. For example, how many people opened their email, how many
clicked through to your site, etc. Make sure that the system works in
conjunction with your CRM (Client Relationship Management) system. Stats
don’t mean a whole lot if you aren’t able to create loyal customers.
Price models vary widely, from ‘price per email sent’, to monthly
‘subscription rates’ based on a maximum number you can send per month.
If you only expect to send a campaign every other month or so, a per
email model is often the better solution. The cost is usually a small
set up fee and .02¢ to .04¢ per email, so expect to spend between $25
to $40 per campaign. Monthly subscriptions are generally based on your
subscription base. Monthly services generally let you send up to 2000
emails for a $30 dollars per month fee. Here at Rocketroom, we offer
both a per send model and a free option that comes with your hosting
Have Clear Goals
A clear call to action and above all, write great content! Even if your
subscribers are dedicated fans, they will click that ‘unsubscribe’
button faster than you can say free widget, unless your communication
with your client an informative and useful experience. The client is
interested in things that are helpful to them. Coupons are great, but
also think of things that can make their lives better. If you are a
first class gym; for example; create a story on eating right. Create a
micro-site that tracks your customers progress and workout schedule. If
you are bicycle shop, offer a free tune up with a purchase. Have a
‘featured ride’ that your customers should try. Maybe create a landing
page that highlights sights and a great café on the bike route. Having
clear goals like this keep your customer interested in you, they pass on
the email to their friends and your business blossoms.
Make sure that the titles and graphics are visible and clear. No matter
how great your offerings are, if viewers don’t understand what your
titles mean, they may not read the story. If they can’t find the button
they are supposed to click on they just won’t. So, make sure everything
is simple and crystal clear. Make sure you use ALT tags on images so
that if the client browser doesn’t support images, people can still read
what you have to offer.
Double Check Your Spelling!
One very common method servers use to filter out spam is by searching
for those ‘spam’ key-words like ‘free’ or ‘cheap watches,’ etc. Spammers
figured out a way around this method though, by misspelling the words.
Perhaps you’ve seen a spam message with words like ‘fr33′ or ‘ch3@p
wa+che5’? Well, that was easily fixed by not allowing emails through
with any misspellings. Avoid using special characters like ‘@,’ ‘&,’
‘%,’ etc., and never use “smart” quotes. Instead, make sure you use the plain old ` “ `
inch and ` ‘ ` foot symbols instead.
Email Marketing, Do’s and Do Not’s! by Joseph Steck is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.