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Marketing with Email Newsletters

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Whether you are a B2B or B2C company, email newsletters can be an effective marketing tool to boost website traffic, increase product sales, and facilitate customer relationships. Unfortunately, many companies have recently abandoned their email newsletters, fearing non-compliance with the national CAN-SPAM act, or with various state anti-spam regulations. Your business can still enjoy the benefits of email newsletter marketing if you follow these key best practices.

1–Know the Law: CAN-SPAM and other anti-spam regulations target unsolicited and fraudulent email marketing. If your email newsletter is a permission-based publication with lawful content, you can easily comply with all regulations as detailed below. If you are a high-volume publisher (1000 plus emails per campaign), however, it is wise to seek legal review of your efforts.

2–Use Appropriate Email Lists: Use only permission-based, double opt-in email lists for your newsletter. This means all your subscribers have registered to receive your newsletter, and have reaffirmed their subscription desire via a confirmation email or online form. Do not attempt to build your newsletter list by renting email addresses from an outside source.

3–Practice List Hygiene: Keep your email list database up-to-date in real time. Subscribers should be able to unsubscribe at anytime via an unsubscribe link included with every newsletter, and from a form on your website. Remove email addresses that bounce multiple times.

4–Use a Reputable Service Bureau: You can accomplish permission-based, double opt-in marketing and real time list hygiene by using a reputable email service bureau. Such services also have relationships with the major ISPs to help “white list” clients against false spam filtering.

5–Avoid Spam Filter Triggers: Even for legitimate permission-based email newsletters, you can expect your mailings to encounter multiple spam filters. All email is filtered by ISPs, and often a second time at the client computer level. These spam filters use a variety of techniques. Some filters check the content of your Subject heading. As such, you should avoid CAPS, special characters like *, and even marketing terms like “free” or “special offer.” More recently, client-based spam filters are checking to see if the sender’s From address is listed in the subscriber’s address book.

Finally, make sure your email newsletter includes compelling content anticipated by your target audience. This requires that you assign a competent editor to the task who is willing to devote the time and energy necessary to publish your newsletter. Publish on a regular schedule. Include links back to your website, and include links to outside resources of interest to your readers. Use a form in every issue for subscribers to forward your newsletter to a friend. Encourage reader feedback, and respond to comments and inquiries promptly. Quality and consistency in email newsletter marketing will boost website traffic, increase your product sales, and promote the customer lifetime value of your subscribers.

For additional suggestions on marketing with email newsletters, visit the eStrategyOne website, and subscribe to the eStrategyOne Online Marketing Digest.

Rich Ottum is General Manager of eStrategyOne, an online marketing solutions company in Columbus, Ohio.

http://estrategyone.blogs.com

Marketing with Email Newsletters
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