Every week, the folks at InVision send a roundup of their best blog content, their favorite design links from the week, and a new opportunity to win a free t-shirt. (Seriously. They give away a new design every week.) They also sometimes have fun survey questions where they crowdsource for their blog. This week's, for example, asked subscribers what they would do if the internet didn't exist.
So, building up lists of emails is a task you must put some effort behind in order to kick your email marketing efforts into gear. The problem is nobody really wants more email, particularly spam from unknown sources. When I talk about buying email lists, I’m am not talking about buying or renting so called opt-in lists from list brokers. I’m talking about offering something of value as a way to motivate someone to willingly exchange their email address with you in order to receive your offers and additional contact.
As businesses offer e-marketing and online shopping, customers can get market information from their computers or cell phones and buy goods or find services without leaving home twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week (24/7). They can read ads on the Web or from e-mail, get e-coupons, view pictures of goods, compare prices, and make purchases with a few clicks of their mouse, saving the time and money it would take to shop in person at a brick-and-mortar store. At the same time, ebusinesses can reduce costs in distribution channels and physical store space and thus pass the savings on to customers.
Using an omni-channel strategy is becoming increasingly important for enterprises who must adapt to the changing expectations of consumers who want ever-more sophisticated offerings throughout the purchasing journey. Retailers are increasingly focusing on their online presence, including online shops that operate alongside existing store-based outlets. The "endless aisle" within the retail space can lead consumers to purchase products online that fit their needs while retailers do not have to carry the inventory within the physical location of the store. Solely Internet-based retailers are also entering the market; some are establishing corresponding store-based outlets to provide personal services, professional help, and tangible experiences with their products.
…email blasts are, frankly, inconsiderate from a recipient’s standpoint. We define spam as any unwanted email, and most of the time irrelevant emails are unwanted. Email blasts by definition are irrelevant since you can’t possibly send the same exact message to hundreds of thousands (or even millions!) of subscribers and expect it to resonate personally with each one.
I’m a bride myself and I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve marked as spam from venders I’ve never requested any information from. They received my email address from the shop I bought my wedding dress from and tried to sell me services I never asked for. I marked every single one of those emails as spam because I never gave them permission to email me. I also had no idea that my dress shop had shared my email address with other vendors.
“The first goal of a direct mail campaign is to get your envelope opened. We’ve sent thousands of direct mail pieces to prospects, and we find mailers with a lumpy object inside of the envelope have a near 100 percent open rate. People are curious what’s inside, and the curiosity gets them to open it. Now your job is to make it personal, relevant and captivating to get your piece read.” ~ Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits
“Blasting” suggests that you’re sending the same email out to all your subscribers. That there’s no personalization, even in the subject line. No dynamic content, and no way for subscribers to let you know which topics they’re interested in. In the example of my real estate marketer friend, her blasts go out all as one version to buyers and sellers alike.
Not only is InVision's newsletter a great mix of content, but I also love the nice balance between images and text, making it really easy to read and mobile-friendly -- which is especially important, because its newsletters are so long. (Below is just an excerpt, but you can read through the full email here.) We like the clever copy on the call-to-action (CTA) buttons, too.
There are several web-based programs which send out email blasts and which also help the user to remain in conformity to anti-spam laws. The best and most versatile service is Aweber. It charges a flat rate of under $20 per month and everything is unlimited. For smaller email lists, MailChimp is excellent and one can use it for free if there are fewer than 2000 subscribers on the email list, and one only needs to send out a few blasts each month.
You could use your Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo accounts, but if you need something professional and fool-proof and want to avoid being labeled a spammer, it’s a far better idea to use an email blast program provided by a professional email marketing company such as Benchmark Email. Benchmark’s partnerships with elite consortiums like The Email Sender & Provider Coalition (EPSC) and leading delivery experts like Return Path give you the best chance of reaching a prospect’s inbox, which is a major challenge in email blast marketing. Benchmark Email even has built-in data merging features, which allow you to import contact information from different databases so you don’t need to re-enter long email lists. Besides this, you can also customize your mails in easy-to-use HTML editors before sending them to your customers and prospects.
Online marketing can also be crowded and competitive. Although the opportunities to provide goods and services in both local and far-reaching markets is empowering, the competition can be significant. Companies investing in online marketing may find visitors’ attention is difficult to capture due to the number of business also marketing their products and services online. Marketers must develop a balance of building a unique value proposition and brand voice as they test and build marketing campaigns on various channels.
Whether you’re wanting to send emails quarterly, monthly, or more often, put your email creation dates on a calendar and stick to the schedule. You’ll build momentum for yourself and your contacts. They’ll come to start expecting your emails to arrive within a certain timeframe. If you’re good about sending your emails for a while but then suddenly go dark, you’ll start to lose the momentum on both ends. Keep the bigger picture in mind when forming this schedule. If you have a busy season or other foreseen challenge up ahead, for example, you may not have the same amount of time to allot to emailing as you do right now. Take the various factors affecting your business into account, and then increase or decrease the frequency of your emails accordingly so that you can maintain consistency.
If you sign up for something and the terms include words like "Sign up to receive updates from us and our partners that we think you'll like," your email address is likely being collected for a shared or sold list. A subset of this method is called co-registration. This is where you sign up at a website, but that website also automatically, or nearly automatically, signs you up for other sites. They try to legitimize this by informing you of the additional subscriptions, or providing boxes to uncheck. This is a situation where it's not the subscriber’s intention to sign up for the material they will be receiving.
I’d rather not shift into being an email marketing therapist, but I’m not the first email marketer to have issues about being called a spammer. I, too, have been asked what I do in a social situation and had someone respond, “Oh, so you’re a spammer.” Of course, usually people are kidding when they call you a spammer, but but being labeled a spammer is one of an email marketers' biggest fears.
Internet service providers (GMail, Yahoo, etc.) and anti-spam organizations create the spam traps to prevent spam from reaching people’s inboxes. The important thing for everyone to remember is if you use a purchased list, you are technically spamming the people on that list. Spam is unsolicited email and those people did not request your information.
The downside of Every Door Direct Mail Service is that, besides the location of the recipient, you don’t know anything else about them. If you would like to be able to further target the recipients based on other factors, then you will need to rent a third party mailing list. There are many places where you can go to purchase third party list that is tailored to your specific need. Experian, DirectMail, and InfoUSA being some of the more popular options.
Companies considering the use of an email marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States' Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CAN-SPAM), the European Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003, or their Internet service provider's acceptable use policy.
Email marketing is now a very popular offshoot of direct mail marketing (See also Email Marketing). However, it’s worth bearing in mind that 37 states now have laws regarding “spam,” or unwanted junk email. Therefore, companies that wish to maintain a positive reputation use an “opt-in” policy for marketing email, targeting only interested customers.
I am a scientist. My e-mail has been drawn from publicly-available sites related to science. My name and e-mail is being sold as part of a 7 Million+ e-mail list to biomedical companies and anyone who wants to buy targeted lists. I NEVER gave permission to use my name and e-mail and in fact requested that my name be removed. The company continues to make profits by selling my name + 6.999 million others. I don’t care what country you are from, this is UNETHICAL and ILLEGAL (in my eyes). Of course, who as the money to try and persecute such crooks? Worse yet, if I live in South Africa and the company is selling from India, how can US laws affect or cover me? These guys work across transnational borders because they know that they can operate across international borders online, without any regulation (unless they operate from the US, perhaps). So no fear, no penalties, no recrimination, no fines, just sickening profits from unjust and unfair and illegal marketing methods. Because frauds all abuse innocents.
E-marketers must operate their businesses in compliance with numerous laws. For example, e-marketers are responsible for protecting customers' privacy; without customers' permission, they are not legally allowed to share or sell customers' information to a third party. Copying other businesses' Web information for commercial use is also in violation of copyright law.
Does the difference in these terms and their definitions matter? No, of course not, it's semantics! But it is interesting to see how the scope of Internet marketing vs Digital marketing has changed over time. In my books, when discussing alternative definitions, I explain that, no it doesn't really matter, but the scope and responsibility is important to make the most of managing the opportunities. So the scope of digital marketing activities should be agreed within a business and/or between a company and its agencies. The biggest difference is whether digital marketing is simply seen as about communications (online marketing) or whether it is broader, looking at underpinning marketing technology and options for new online business and revenue models.