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Email Marketing 101: Developing And Implementing Good Practices

Dec 22, 2007
Because email marketing is still uncharted territory, governments around the globe are trying to catch up and the appropriate rules and regulations. Why? Because sending email campaigns have become one of the most popular ways to promote goods and services, and yet it's still a relatively new, popular technology. So many people are using email marketing in so many ways, that the need for some sort of framework to regulate it has become increasingly abundant. Case in point: here are two tricky email marketing scenarios

1) Imagine if every single email marketer sent an email to every person on their list at the very same time, regardless of where that email list came from. While this is highly improbable, it's extremely likely that a single person may get ten different ads promoting the same goods and services. With so much redundancy, it's extremely likely that none of these emails will be effective.

2) Suppose two people meet and exchange email addresses. One of them is a businessman. Instead of letting the email relationship progress through a natural path, imagine if the businessman instead began sending the other person constant emails promoting their product. The recipient will not only feel pressured by the businessperson, but the fundamental fact is that that email address is now being used for the wrong purpose.

So, what can email marketers do to avoid using the technology in the wrong way?

1) Always get permission

Assuming that just because a customer gave you their email address they will be thrilled to hear from you is a huge mistake. Your best bet is to get strict permission from customers stating that they want to receive your email marketing newsletter or promotional email.

2) Tell customers why they're receiving emails from you

In every email you send, make certain that customers know why they're receiving emails from you. How can you do this? Put a simple line on top of every email that says something like "you're receiving this email because you signed up for the funtimes.com newsletter". This simple line not only reinforces that you have permission, but it reminds customers why your email has shown up in their inbox.

3) Keep your messages focused

If a customer indicates that they're interested in cookware, the worst thing you can do is start sending them emails about other products and services they're not interested in. In other words, don't send a camping gear newsletter to a customer who's only interested in luxury trips. Keep your customer email lists segmented by what clients are interested in and you'll never face the embarrassment of sending an email that the customer couldn't care less about.

4)Follow federal and state email regulations

Do your homework and find out what's allowed and what's not allowed in your home state. Take things a step further by following the CAN SPAM Act, a federal set of guidelines that overlooks all email marketing in the United States.

Although email marketing can be tricky business, you can still follow good email practices and promote your business at the same time. The email marketers that play it safe have the best reputations, so follow their lead and sales and customer interest will follow.
About the Author
Karl Cruise is a best practices activist and advocate for Benchmark Email ( http://www.benchmarkemail.com.email-marketing.aspx ), a leading Web and permission-based email marketing service.
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