By Bob Hubbard
E-mail is the most
popular activity on the Internet, with upwards of 90% of internet users
having used it. With 63% of the US adult population on line, that opens
a market comprising more than 100 million prospective clients. Successfully
marketing your business by email can be done. The challenge lies in doing
it right. Every day I get literally hundreds of junk email or “SPAM”
selling everything from adult items, to software to of all things, anti-spam
software! With over 40% of the 31 Billion emails sent each day considered
“SPAM” and the rules tightening, you need to be up to date
in order to successfully market your services by email. While an in-depth
e-mail marketing attack is beyond the scope of this article, I will list
a select number of tips to help enhance and optimize your chances of success.
randomly gather email addresses.
We’ve all gotten those junk mails that we didn’t ask for that
tell us to “Click here to unsubscribe”. Rarely do those work
as listed. Usually, they result in even more junk mail. So, who subscribed
us in the first place? Someone either bought a list, randomly generated
addresses, or used special software to find your address from message
board postings, and web pages. I recommend only using addresses that have
specifically been sent to you for information.
in” versus “Opt Out” lists.
An “Opt In” list is one where you specifically ask for information
before they send it to you. An “Opt Out” puts the burden of
stopping it on you. Increasingly, “Opt Out” lists are generating
scorn and hatred from internet users. When someone “Opts In”
they are specifically asking you for information. This is one of the more
‘web friendly’ means of doing professional emailing.
to use the “BCC” or “Blind Carbon Copy” feature.
The BCC feature is your friend. It allows you to hide the list of email
addresses, thereby respecting and preserving the privacy of those on your
list. Not using this feature can and will generate angry replies from
those on your list.
Include a way for people to be removed from your mailing list and honor
all “Unsubscribe” emails immediately.
Do not send
your mailings to anyone who hasn’t requested it.
That is considered spam, and violates most ISP’s service terms.
If you anger the wrong people, you can lose your Internet connection!
Internet Service Providers are increasingly taking harder stances against
those who spam.
addresses in a web-friendly manner.
Doing this insures that those you send email to will welcome your message.
You can do this in a few easy ways.
Add a signup form on your web site. This is called “Opting In”.
When you receive an address, send a confirmation back. Include a standard
“This address was signed up for XXX. If this is in error, please
reply to this email with the word CANCEL at the top.” Type message.
This is very important! By doing this, you will let the person know
that their email address was submitted successfully to your list, or
that someone else submitted it. It also ensures that your list is clean
and full of good addresses, since your verification will usually bounce
back if the address is really invalid.
site. A standard “We never share your name and address”
is usually good. If you do share addresses, include a way for the subscriber
to –not- be shared.
Now that you have
your list, understand how to send to it in a web-friendly manner, you
now need to compose your message for optimum effect.
“Call to Action”
This is text that will motivate the reader to “Act Now”. Terms
like “Limited Time Only”, “Act Now”, “Offer
Expires” are all examples of action calls.
of the “Need to Know” information.
How many times have you gotten a flyer that assumed you knew which location
an event was held at, or that you knew how to get there?
Be certain to list the “What” outlining the purpose of the
When: Include the full date (yes, year too), month, date –and-
day of the week, times of events.
Where: Include a complete location (if applicable). This is very important
if you have multiple locations.
How Much: This is mostly for events. If it’s free, say so. If
there’s a charge, let people know up front. For events that don’t
require advance registration (which is what we’re talking about
here), the fee is typically nominal, so it won’t scare anyone
away. This differs from an e-mail for a large conference requiring pre-registration,
where you might want to sell people on the value before disclosing the
Who: Who is this event/item for? This will help people decide if the
offer is for them.
to include would be extra details. If this is an event, include directions.
Presenter bios are always good if this is for a seminar. If selling a
product, include more detailed specs here. More information is always
Another point I cannot
emphasize enough here is, write clearly, and proof read. Misspellings,
typos, and grammatical errors will kill an otherwise well done mailing.
large graphics, sound, music or video files.
Keep your mailing to a small size, as nothing angers people like having
their email box jammed full of videos they didn’t ask for. Having
to contact their ISP for ‘unplug’ things will cause a lot
of bad PR. Keep the mailing small and simple for best results.
Tracking the success of mailings is good business, and tracking an emailing
is no different. Include a coupon with a special code, or an “Offer
Code” to use when registering or purchasing. Be certain to also
ask people how they heard about the item/offer.
1 last key piece of
Answer prospect emails within 24 hours!
If you don’t reply promptly, you risk losing a client for life.
People also tend to tell others when they feel ignored! To avoid this
and to ensure you’re not missing any opportunities, make it a top
priority to reply to all incoming mail within 24 hours.
is some work that goes into a good email campaign, you can reap some excellent
Hubbard is an administrator of the popular martial arts portal site MartialTalk.com
and president of SilverStar WebDesigns inc., a web site design and hosting
company specializing in affordable solutions for martial artists. A student
of all the arts, he is currently studying Modern Arnis.
Bob can be reached at email@example.com
April 2004 – MartialTalk Magazine
©2004 Bob Hubbard - All Rights Reserved