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Email Marketing 101: 5 Important Rules To Follow

Jan 26, 2008
Email marketing is a powerful technology that can bring in sales and improve your online presence. Unfortunately, it also leaves lots of room for abuse. In order to avoid getting marked as a spammer and exiled to the bulk email file, follow these five important rules when crafting and sending an email marketing campaign:

Say no to Spam

Spam is any unsolicited commercial email. Sending spam is illegal and the Federal CAN-SPAM act dictates that if you violate federal laws and send spam, you may face jail time or heavy fines. If you're not sure if you're sending spam, ask yourself the following questions. Where did your list come from? If you bought it, rented it, or simply scraped email addresses off Websites, it is a spam list. Have your recipients given permission for you to send them emails? If they haven't you are acting as a spammer.

Collect email addresses in a responsible manner

If you need to build a permission-based email list, build one and grow it on your own. You can do this by putting a List Builder or sign-up box on your Website. You can offer people gifts if they sign up for your email or newsletters. You can solicit emails from customers at trade shows, sales and other special events. Never buy or rent a list or scrape email addresses of Websites. If you do, you'll be marked as a spammer before you can even say CAN-SPAM Act.

Make it easy for customers to contact you

When you send out customer emails, make absolutely certain that their replies go to an email box you check frequently. Also, at the bottom of every single email or HTML newsletter you send, make sure to include your contact info as well as your company's email address. Think of your email or newsletter as the first contact in your overall sales campaign. If you want customers to open their wallets and buy your products, make certain they have an easy way to reach you so you can answer their questions.

Always include a link to your website

Always include a link to your Website in your emails. Some email marketers forget this very basic concept and end up sending an email marketing campaign with no link back to their Website. Don't make this mistake. Make it easy for customers to come back to your site and view your products or services.

Write honest, crisp email copy

Think hard about what you want your email to say and write it accordingly. Remember that one of the best ways to build customer trust is to tell the truth in your copy. Don't promise something you can't deliver, just be honest about what you're selling and offering. Also, make your email marketing copy crisp and clean. Email marketing copy should be easy and interesting to read. If you throw together some copy and it's too long or not compelling, customers will open your email, skim it, and dump it in their online trash can. The key is not only to get customers to open your email campaigns, but take the time to read what you have to say and eventually buy something.
About the Author
Gary San 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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