Email marketing is fast becoming the most effective way of reaching customers in a focused manner; particularly relevant to business-to-business marketing where target markets are going likely to be already using the internet as the main method of reviewing supplier choices in order to make purchase decisions. Business-to-consumer marketing via email can also be the most effective way of reaching customers but there are pitfalls to be aware of and, obviously, the target market will be limited to consumers that routinely use the internet as a purchase (or reviewing) tool.
Choosing an email marketing service, developing address lists, setting up email and subject contents are all fraught with both dangers and opportunities and here are some of my guidance tips – my do’s and don’ts.

 

 

1. Address lists.
This is an area so full of pitfalls that it alone is the subject of numerous blogs and articles. It is such a common misconception that a start-up company can simply purchase a list of emails of potential customers just itching to receive emails from you. Yes, it is possible to purchase a list of email addresses of potential customers/contacts from marketing companies – just google ‘email list brokers’. So for a company wishing to market more effectively, just purchase a list and send out a whole load of emails. The business will flow – wrong. First, nearly all legitimate email marketing services simply do not allow the use of purchased lists – i.e. a list that has not been generated using proper opt-in procedures.
Lists purchased from brokers are usually so full of rubbish as to be potentially dangerous to the user and the email marketing company; they will contain a mass of duplicates, made up addresses and downright spam traps. As a result, their use will result in spam complains and even barring of the sender and the originator.
The rule is; use a list that you have developed yourself or you have obtained from a proven legitimate source of known provenance, using opt-in procedures – that is the law in many territories. At Email Blaster, we regularly review lists which have been furnished from supposedly legitimate sources which, upon scanning with our List Doctor software, contain over 90% rubbish. Ask yourself, if you purchase a list of one million addresses (not unusual), how on earth the broker obtained a million addresses legitimately?

 
2. Choice of Email marketing service.
a. The first point is, that in order to send tens or hundreds of thousands of emails, you will need to use an email marketing service that can transmit this volume of emails at high speed and in a manner that will not trigger blocking firewalls due to the single point transmission volume. So having decided to use a proper email marketing service, look at the software by signing up for a free trial (most offer free trials) and trying it. Is is easy to use? Is the helpdesk UK located and easily accessed – try it by phoning even if just to say hello.
b. Is the software ‘home’ developed and managed. Licensed software may be fine, but any out of the ordinary requests may need referral to the licensor, probably overseas.
c. Are the servers – the point of origin of the emails, UK located? Anti-spam firewalls at the receiving computer or the ISP hub routinely block emails from IP’s with a poor reputation – usually located outside the UK. A UK location means compliance with UK laws and procedural controls.
d. Does the email service provide a good library of templates and add-ons that will enable you to produce a good looking email content.

 
3. Take advice from the experts – try email marketing blogs (Email Blaster’s blog contains articles on subjects ranging from email content, graphic content subject lines, coding preference etc. written by experts). Get the content, graphics, subject line, coding right.
a. Keep coding to a minimum to avoid a code-heavy email – bigger the email, lower the delivery.
b. Think about the subject line carefully to grab attention – read our blog on choosing a subject line.
c. Avoid ‘salesy’ language, it attracts the attention of anti-spam software and puts people off.

 
4. Email Marketing works. It is much cheaper than postal campaigns, reaches more customers and produces a statistically higher ‘conversion’ rate than pretty well all alternatives.
Mike
Email Blaster UK