Email Marketing is a popular and efficient way to maximize your exposure and touch your constituents. This simple guide will reveal the ins and outs of this marketing tool.
When collecting e-mail addresses, whether through a Web site or other means, it’s important that you are approved to use the e-mail address in bulk e-mail campaigns. The approval process, called “Affirmative Consent,” by the FCC, is referred to as “Opting-In.” Basically, you are required by law to ask permission before collecting and using an e-mail address bulk e-mail campaigns.
The process usually requires a check box explaining that, by checking, the user is consenting to be added to your mailing list. A confirmation e-mail is then sent to the user. It requires that they click a confirmation link before the e-mail address is used in an active campaign.
legal considerations: When sending mass e-mails to your list, there are various elements that must be included for the e-mail to remain legal. Unsubscribe: A means to unsubscribe is absolutely necessary. It’s possible, and best, to automate this process because once a subscriber requests removal from your list, you have 30 days to comply before they can take significant legal action against you.
These are some of the requirements to maintain compliance with the CAN-SPAM act of 2003, issued by the FCC. The CAN-SPAM act basically requires that all solicited e-mails:
Each violation of the above provisions is subject to fines of up to $11,000. Deceptive commercial e-mail is also subject to laws banning false or misleading advertising. All of these potential issues can be easily avoided by keeping simple standards in place.
The most difficult aspect of Web design creating sites that work and look the same on all mainstream browsers. Interestingly enough, creating e-mail templates is much trickier than standard Web design. While Web sites have to be created to work and appear the same way on four or five different browsers, e-mail templates have to be built to look the same in hundreds of different e-mail clients (hotmail, gmail, yahoo, aol, etc.). In addition to that, e-mail clients are designed to ignore a great deal of modern Web design standards and provisions to keep custom e-mails from interfering with their functionality. This makes custom HTML e-mail design even trickier.
There are also little tricks and known standards that can be applied to get the most out of your e-mail marketing efforts. For example, most e-mail clients (AOL e-mail, Outlook, etc) have some form of preview pane. This allows the user to see a preview of the e-mail before actually opening it. Often enough, this is the most people will ever see of an e-mail, so it’s imperative to make sure that the most important or enticing information is visible in this area.
Since the preview pane often exposes the top half or left half of an e-mail, it’s best to keep the main substance in the upper left-hand corner. This allows you to take advantage of most e-mail client’s preview pane. Another important thing to remember is that nearly all e-mail clients disable images by default. They require the user to click a link that may say something like, “Click here to view embedded images,” to display the images. By adding well written “alt text” to the HTML image tag, a small paragraph of text will be displayed in place of the images if the user does not decide to activate them.
Let’s say you had a simple ad for a new book that you have just released and it’s on sale for a short time. The image may look great, but there’s a chance it will never be seen. However, you can have alt text in place that will show up in that very situation. A good example of effective alt text might be, “New book release: [Book Title]. Take advantage of our new release sale! For a limited time only.” It’s simple, direct to the point, includes a call to action, and fear of loss.
Spammers are constantly changing their tactics to outsmart SPAM filters. As a result, SPAM filters are in a constant state of evolution. At first, filters were designed to look for specific words and phrases. Spammers learned to embed images of their content into e-mails, so that the SPAM filters couldn’t detect them. As a result, SPAM filters are very sensitive to e-mails with a one large image or a high density of images. Because of this, it’s important to balance the use of images with equal textual content, proper HTML markup, and, as mentioned before, clear alt text.
Some other SPAM filter triggers include:
Any of these things can cause your e-mail to end up in your subscriber’s SPAM/Junk folder before ever seeing their inbox. Worse yet, your e-mail can be marked as abusive by default, which can eventually lead to your e-mails being blacklisted entirely. Note that typically, when you are blacklisted, many e-mail clients (not just the ones that reported your e-mails as abusive) will send your e-mails to the junk folder by default. Getting off of a blacklist is a very tedious and difficult process.
Marketing of any form is highly dependent upon your ability to observe a campaign’s results, gauge effectiveness, and adjust according to the gathered information. This applies heavily to the world of e-mail marketing. Without a means to track your results, you’re essentially shooting in the dark.
Regardless of how quickly your list grows, we are equipped to grow with you. Our plans are also designed to
More comprehensive tracking can be provided at an additional fee. We can tell you exactly who did or did not click the links in your e-mail and how often they clicked.
The cost of the monthly plan depends on how many subscribers you have in your list and allows you to send up to eight e-mails per month to the entire list. Eight e-mails a month is usually far more than enough. If you have a list of 500, you can send eight e-mails to all 500 subscribers per month.
With the Pay-As-You-Go plan, you actually pay per e-mail that you send. If you have 500 subscribers, you pay for sending out 500 e-mails.