Spam! No one likes spam. No one wants more spam in their inbox. No one wants to be know as a “spammer”, especially to their Internet Service Provider (ISP).
According to the Bureau of Consumer Protection, spam is:
“If the message contains only commercial content, its primary purpose is commercial and it must comply with the requirements of CAM-SPAM.”
Your email must comply with the following in order to be viewed as compliant.
“1. Don’t use false or misleading header information.
Your email address, the reply address and your domain and business name must be accurate.
2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
3. Identify the message as an ad.
The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
4. Tell recipients where you’re located.
Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you.
Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
6. Honor opt-out requests promptly.
Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.”
Let’s say I attend a networking event that allows me to place my business cards on a common “networking table.” You come along and pick up my card, go back to your office, and add me to your email database. Since we didn’t meet, you don’t have any reasonable expectation that I would be interested in receiving your emails.
Most small business owners start out by putting email addresses into their Outlook, or desktop email program. If that’s how you are handling your email contacts, you MUST include your address and a visible method of opting out of your emails. It can be as simple as telling your recipient that they may unsubscribe at any time by replying with unsubscribe in the subject line. The trouble with this is that many small business owners don’t want to hurt your feelings by asking to be taken off your list. An easier way for them to deal with this is to hit the “Report Spam” button. If you get too many complaints your ISP could severely reduce your ability to send email.
The other problem is something like this. This actually happened to me. I met someone at a networking event. They put me on their email list. They actually had an opt-out method I used to unsubscribe. However, the person who put me into the email database wasn’t the person who received my unsubscribe. I was continually put back into the database, as my card was continually picked up at networking events. You must honor the request of those who wish to unsubscribe to your email list.
Lastly, if you are using Outlook or something like it to handle your email list, don’t CC everyone on your list. Send the email to yourself and BCC the recipients. If all those copied on the email can see all the other addresses your chances of seeing a “Report Spam” action taken on your email increase dramatically.
The long and short of it is, you need a service that is recognized as an industry standard in email delivery, like Constant Contact or Get Response. These services are compliant with the CanSpam act and can handle a growing email list.
I used to belong to a women’s networking group that had a list of approximately 800 women. The list had to be broken down into lists of no more than 50 and each list sent separately. After the sixth go ’round with the lists of 50, the ISP shut down our ability to send out any further emails. It took a lot of time and patience to get them to give back email access.
These services run around $15 to $18 a month to start. They allow you to collect email addresses through a form on your website or social media site. Of course you’ll want to offer an incentive for people to opt-in, but that’s another blog post…
Previous Post in an ongoing series on email marketing and list building: Marketing with Email
When you create email messages to send, do like the Boy Scouts and “Be Prepared.” If you take the time, you can really develop some great tools to help you in preparing a compelling email.
Folder – create a folder on your computer and in print form for “email marketing” and keep ideas you have for future campaigns there. Save favorite emails there you get from others, too, as inspiration. You can use these as templates to create your own unique messages.
PS – People like to head straight to this area first, many gurus say. So create a document in your email marketing folder with favorite “PS” remarks; special sales, freebies, etc.
Guarantee – Ditto with guarantees. Which guarantees are listed on items you’ve purchased recently? Use these as starters. They attracted you!
Reference Guides – Keep handy reference sites like Dictionary.com or favorite encyclopedias book marked in a special Favorites folder on your computer. Keep print editions available nearby, too!
With the right bunch of marketing tools gathered ahead, you can “Be Prepared.” Start gathering your arsenal for great email marketing campaigns.
This is part two of an ongoing series on email services. In the first post about email services I talked about two of the major players, Constant Contact and Get Response. In this post I’ll focus on Constant Contact and it’s features.
Let’s review some terminology first. There are three ways to create an email database.
Constant Contact has some of the easiest to use templates I’ve seen. They make it very easy for you to create an html ezine (a pretty ezine) without having to know any html. Constant Contact also gives you 50 mgs of space for documents and images.
You can create as many lists as you want, including opt-in forms with more than 20 custom fields so you can secure a lot of information on the form. There are autoresponders, but it’s not like GetResponse which is an autoresponder service. You get 20 autoresponders but can only use 10 at a time.
It’s easy to insert your Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin icons, that link to your social profiles. You can also insert a PayPal button, or Amazon button.
Of course, you have reports that tell you how many of your emails were opened and how many links were clicked on in your ezine. Best of all, you get to include a coupon at the end of your ezine.
For an additional charge, you can create surveys, polls and manage events. Check out Constant Contact. They have a 60 day free trial period.
Next post in the series: Marketing With Email
Let me know how you list build from your site.
First of an ongoing series on list building.
Do you capture the name and email address of your website visitor? No?
Do you bring business cards back to the office and add the name and email address into your Outlook, Thunderbird, or other email service address book? Yes?
That’s usually how a small business owner starts building an email database. However, at some point in time it will no longer be feasible to manage your email addresses through your email program. Now it’s time to graduate to an email service. You’ll want to send out emails on a regular schedule, sharing information with your subscribers and you’ll need a service to manage it as your list grows.
I belonged to a business organization several years ago which had an email list of 800 local business owners. When it came to emailing the list about the upcoming meeting, the executive director had to email them out in batches of 50 before her internet service provider (ISP) shut her email down. She’d call the ISP, get her email back up and running and continue her batches of 50. Obviously, that’s not an efficient use of time.
Additionally, your domain email address will have to fight the spam filters and many not be recognized as an authentic email provider the way professional email services are. So your chance of getting through the spam filters is less likely than Constant Contact’s (FREE 60 day account) or GetResponse’s (FREE account) chances.
Next post: Types of Email Services, A Rundown of Constant Contact versus GetResponse
If you have a tip or story about email services, feel free to share by commenting.
Email marketing can be profitable for any business, no matter what kind of product or service you offer. It is significantly cheaper than other advertising methods and, if done right, helps build loyalty and trust with customers. As a result, you generate more sales and more profits!
The foundation for successful email marketing is a targeted, permission-based email list. Marketers call contact lists their “goldmine” because it can generate much of their sales revenue. If you’ve built up a list of opt-in subscribers that are qualified and interested in what you have to offer, then you’ve completed the first step and are on your way. Now it’s time to “mine” for gold!
Below you’ll find several list-building and retention ideas that will help you get the best results from all your email marketing activities:
How are you building your list? Feel free to share your tips by commenting.
The last blog post shared the 5 most important reasons you should syndicate your content through an ezine. It also helps you keep in touch with your clients.
This post will give you five more ways you can use an ezine to market your business and staying visible by reaching out to your prospects.
The next blog post will wrap up our reasons for sending out a regular email to our clients and prospects.
Leveraging your business online requires several components. For the next two blog posts, I’ll be talking about the benefits of establishing an ezine for your business, and why you’ll want to publish an ezine. In subsequent blog posts, I’ll be talking about ways to build your email list.
So, why should you consider publishing an ezine?
Are you publishing an ezine for your business? If so, please feel free to join the conversation and share your tips by commenting!