E-mail Marketing 101
It’s sometimes difficult to convince businesses that sending out promotional e-mails to a large distribution list is not so easy… at first. Some think it’s as simple as setting up an e-mail in Outlook (or another e-mail program), populating the “to” field with recipients and clicking the send button.
Although this is one way to send an email, it's certainly not the best way. There are numerous reasons why.
Here are just a few of many:
1. There are laws to protect consumers from unwanted email solicitation.
The “CAN-SPAM Act” prohibits email promotions to be sent without explicit permission from the recipient. Recipients must "opt-in" to receive email promotions from you. You must also include a physical address or P.O. Box somewhere in the message, and you MUST have an easy way for recipients to “Opt-out” of your list. Visit the Bureau of Consumer Protection to find out all the laws in detail.
2. Your email address can get blacklisted!
If a recipient doesn’t want to receive an e-mail from you, they could classify your message as “junk”. This process is as easy as clicking the “junk” icon within an e-mail interface. Eventually, e-mail providers such as Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, etc., will start identifying your e-mail address as as SPAM. This could result in your e-mail address being blacklisted. In this case, you would not be able to send e-mail to anyone without it being automatically sent to a SPAM folder, if delievered at all.
3. Using an EXTERNAL email provider not only protects you, but makes your email campaign more effective!
Using an external bulk-email provider, such as: Constant Contact, Info USA or our favorite, MailChimp, is the way to deliver successful bulk-email. External bulk-email providers are pros at sending out high-distribution email. They have established relationships with email providers such as Yahoo, Gmail, AOL and more. MailChimp knows all the anti-spam laws and sets you up to be in full compliance with them. In addition, they provide advanced tracking tools so you can monitor your campaign success. Most providers have features to see how many recipients opened your message, clicked your website URL, which messages bounced, etc.
Costs to use an external provider typically range from $0 - $300 per month, depending on how big your list is, and how often you send email. Using an external provider makes e-mail marketing a highly effective way to promote your business.
Developing a Solid Email Address List
Although it's easy to buy or rent an email list, it's NOT a good option for long-term success. Any successful email marketing campaign starts with a good solid distribution list of addresses from people who have purposely "opted-in" to receive emails from you.
Although it seems like a long and difficult task, developing a legitimate list of email address' is not as hard as it seems. Sometimes, it's just a matter of adding a call-to-action on your website such as "subscribe to our email list". Or, when people submit a contact submission form, add a check box offering them the option to receive promotional emails. With a little incentive of some kind, you can start developing a solid list in no time.