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 represent your existing client base, a carefully selected list of potential prospects or a list of people who opted in to receive your messages.
Gone Are Those Days
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 bloodthirsty 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 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.
The Reality of Emails
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).
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 real trouble communicating via email and your IT folks will all go nuts and/or get fired.
Be careful Here!
Basically, not so good. Other things are:
- you’ll have to build some opt-in/opt-out system 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.
The fee you pay for email marketing services costs less than the 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 provide the exact HTML code you need to paste to your site to have a subscription form on your website.
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 having custom fields, adding 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 to subscribe and unsubscribe requests and send out messages, however without integrated bounceback email handling all the non-deliverable emails will bounce 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 receives 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 blacklisting you as a spammer. This is something you really want to avoid at all costs.
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.
Key Factors in Email Marketing For Business
Marketing through email has become a very popular way of marketing today. With the advent of the Internet, technology has broadened the scope and ways of marketing.
Email is short for electronic mail. This is one of the main reasons why people use the Internet. About two decades back, no one actually realized that electronic mail would become very useful and eventually be a focal point in relationships, both personal and business.
The whole email system lets people communicate with each other all the time. Early email marketers used the listings of email subscribers to be able to send their proposals and advertisements. However, not many people become amused with this fad. Sending unsolicited emails or what we refer to as spam is a definite don’t in email marketing.
This article tries to give tips on how to effectively use email for marketing and how to use it properly.
Email marketing can make or break your reputation as a marketer and the reputation of the product which you are promoting. Here are some of the ways how to do email marketing:
Email marketing should be integrated into the whole marketing plan to promote a certain product effectively. Email marketing can be one of the ways and is not the only way to market a product. An array of marketing techniques should be employed by a marketer to be able to get around the market.
– Build relationships first
Getting into the email marketing bandwagon has its downsides if it is not done properly. People will get irritated if one floods a mailing list with advertisements that are not needed.
In sending advertisements in e-groups or other such kinds of groups, one should be able to assess the general needs and concerns of the members before he actually plunges into a barrage of email marketing endeavors.
Email marketing is most effective if it is part of a wider marketing scheme. Email is at its best if it is used to spread useful information for the target audience. The body of the email should contain pertinent and updated information about the product or the service. Just like in any form of marketing, email marketing should be planned and executed with care.
– Dont send unsolicited email
One of the most irritating and agitating things about email is spam. If one is thinking about using junk mail to be able to market his product, he must give it a second thought A lot of people hate unsolicited mail and usually won’t even open the message containing such messages.
Spam will not only be a waste of time and effort on the part of the marketer but will it will have an effect on the image of the product and the reputation of the marketer as well.
People avail of email services to be able to receive information and substantive mails from people whom they know or trust the approaches that email marketing should be built in this line.
There’s an impression that direct email marketing is done by promoters to be able to escape from certain realities that come along with other forms of marketing.
The fear of rejection is one of these harsh realities that are avoided by using email as a marketing medium to be able to get the attention and more importantly, to be recognized seriously, an email marketer must be able to follow up quickly on the requests of his prospects. Service is the only thing that can improve the first impression of direct email marketing.
Spamming is not a good thing to do. It is also considered illegal in some states. However, when one asks permission from the receiver to send a marketing proposal through email, direct email marketing takes another step forward.
A survey shows that people who were initially asked for permission to receive certain proposals were more interested to read the emails, as compared to the response towards unsolicited emails.
Email is just one of the tools to be able to promote through the Internet, and by far, it is one of the most popular and most effective.
There are a lot of unwritten rules towards doing direct email marketing but everything leads back to giving quality service to the prospects and clients.