Monday, August 3, 2009

Email Marketing Do's and Don'ts

The Internet is just about the largest free and open marketplace there is, and it is showing us a glimpse into a future of total connectivity and personalized information. The problem lies in the fact that since anyone can put just about anything online, the marketplace quickly becomes saturated, and potential customers end up drowning in a flood of products and services, not knowing which one to choose.

Of course, one can put up banner ads and the like, but there is no guarantee that potential customers will see them. Worse, those buyers who trust your company may not learn of new products when they do come out. Email marketing is the way to go here.

Email marketing is the activity of promoting a company's products or services via electronic messages, or emails, sent to potential buyers or brand-loyal customers. It is not an uncommon practice, but there are many pitfalls to be aware of as a marketer. These failures can be avoided by understanding a few things about how users would like to receive advertising messages in their email inboxes.

No spam, please

The first mistake one can make is to send unsolicited messages. This is called spamming, and is the bane of many email marketers and Internet users. This is basically the sending of advertising emails en masse to people who have not asked to be informed in such a manner. This clutters up inboxes, causes massive loads on mail servers, and worse, serves as a vehicle for computer viruses and malware for the unscrupulous or careless marketer. This will seriously reduce the popularity of one's product or service. Though there may be some who do take up the offer, most people will simply delete the message without even glancing at the subject matter. Avoid spamming at all costs.

A trickle, not a flood

Next, email marketing should not be obtrusive or too pushy, in terms of selling a product. People tend to have trust issues towards marketing via electronic means, since they have no real guarantee that what they see is what they will get. Thus, avoid hyping up the products or services too much, or they may think that it is too good to be true and end up not buying at all. Additionally, this applies to the frequency of email updates to subscribers to your marketing service. Once a day is excessive, yet once a month would not be very useful in pushing up the profit line. As a general guideline, once a week or once every two weeks should be good, except if you have a special message on limited offers. Remember not to flood inboxes, and you're good as gold.

Options for trust

Finally, it should be possible for users to unsubscribe from your email marketing service. This is often overlooked by marketers, and scares away the more Internet-savvy users. The fact that they can opt out of your informational messages is a good foundation for trust, since they will feel that you are simply offering a service with no strings attached. Building trust in the informational phase will translate into more purchases and of course better profits later on, so take note.

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