Email is everyone’s favorite, most frequently used application. Since its introduction, email has revolutionized the way we communicate personally and professionally. It has had a major impact on how companies market themselves, communicate with vendors, send out press releases, rally employees and alert clients to their latest and greatest promotions. Sadly, the same reasons we love email, because of its ease, low-cost and high speed, are also why all our inboxes are overflowing with annoying, unsolicited marketing messages.
In response to the ubiquitous outcry “I hate spam,” governments have crafted regulations surrounding the use of email. If yours is one of the millions of companies using email for marketing, then it’s important to familiarize yourself with these laws. Even if you don’t get caught by the federal government for violating the rules of email usage, you can still end up on a blacklist with the major Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Yahoo!, Gmail, GoDaddy and Earthlink. Once you get blacklisted, you are considered guilty until proven innocent, and ALL the email you send won’t get through, even to people who want to receive it—a consequence that could end up hurting your business more than a fine.
Here are three things you should know about email marketing before you click the "Send" button!
First, make sure you are only sending campaigns to people who have "opted-in" to receiving your email. These recipients requested, subscribed, or asked to be on your distribution list, and emails sent to them are considered “solicited.” You are perfectly within your rights to send them messages; however, if you received their email address by any other means and they did NOT specifically request to be on your list, that’s considered “unsolicited email” or spam (named after the famously trademarked canned meat product made mostly from ham). Sending promotional emails to people who have not requested them is not only illegal, but annoying and not beneficial to your business' online presence, so don’t do it!
Second, make sure you provide directions on how a person can remove themselves from your distribution list in EVERY email. The best place to put this information is at the very bottom of your message. You should also include your full company name and contact information at the bottom so no one can blame you for cloaking your identity—another legal pitfall to avoid in email marketing.
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Lastly, when sending business email to your contacts or targeted marketing list, we recommend using a service such as ConstantContact or MailChimp. These web-based applications will help you manage your email distribution list with automatic opt-out and opt-in tools and will keep your email server off an ISP’s blacklist.
Naturally, you want to make sure the information you are sending is interesting and relevant. No one wants the junk filling up their electronic inboxes, so the better you are at developing marketing campaigns, the better your results will be. Email is not a magic bullet that will solve all your marketing problems, but when used strategically, it helps you leverage your business technology, allowing you to reach more customers and build stronger relationships with the people you already do business with.
Written By Mike Tungate
Hello! I am the Web Services Manager @ EnvisionIT Solutions. I create beautiful websites, branding and marketing systems for businesses. Let me know if you have any questions. I am an avid photographer and a lover of musical instruments.