Category Archives: Email Marketing

Social Media in Business – Part of 1 of 4: EMAIL

by Carolyn Hasenfratz

Why would a business want to get involved in social media? By nature, it is unpredictable as we human beings naturally are, and that can be scary.

At the Connections ’08 conference for users and agencies that I attended in September, ExactTarget selected “Subscribers Rule!” as the theme. What does that mean? You can read Exact Target’s exact definition here. ExactTarget is in the business of email marketing, so they want us to think about the needs of our email subscribers and how to keep them happy. You want to give them control, to let them “Rule” over how you communicate with them. For example, you allow subscribers to choose to get your emails instead of sending them unsolicited spam, and make sure to send them content that fits their interests.

In the early days of my web design and development career, which started 11 years ago, I encouraged clients to make it as easy as possible for customers to contact them by providing information about multiple means of doing so, such as telephone, fax, mailing address, and email. Different people have preferences for how they like to communicate. I for example, am very comfortable sending email but don’t enjoy talking on the phone. A company that provides an email contact is much more likely to get my business than one providing only a phone number.

According to the ExactTarget 2008 Channel Preference Survey, the trend is for younger consumers to place less importance on email as a communication channel than older consumers. This does not mean that email is going to go away any time soon however. Among the youngest age group in the survey, 15-17 year olds, email is still the second most favored channel. All of the other groups surveyed showed email either tied for first place or in first place. And since you need an email address to register for many services, people will still need to have an email address even if it isn’t used as the main form of written communication.

New CAN-SPAM Provisions

If your company participates in email marketing, you will be interested in knowing that some new provisions taking effect on July 7, 2008 have been added to the CAN-SPAM act of 2003. Email marketing provider Exact Target has put together an overview of the new rule provisions: Important CAN-SPAM Update: The FTC Approves New Rule Provisions Under The CAN-SPAM Act

Further information can be found at the Federal Trade Commission web site: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2008/05/canspam.shtm

Is an E-Newsletter in Your Future?

by Carolyn Hasenfratz

I know a lot of people who are thinking about starting an e-newsletter to add powerful support to their customer acquisition  process. Are you one of them?

When you are ready to start sending out your newsletter you will be eager to send it to as many contacts as possible. You will be tempted to add any email address you can find to your subscriber list. This is a temptation you must resist, because you do not want want to be perceived as a spammer, or get into legal trouble. Your subscribers need to be opted-in, in other words they should have given you permission to send them a newsletter.

Even if you are not ready to roll your newsletter out right now, I suggest that you start building an opt-in subscriber list as soon as possible. An easy way to do this is to ask your customers for permission whenever they are sending you information via an online form. Just add a question worded something like “Would you like to receive a newsletter from us?” and a yes/no response field to any forms you might have on your web site. This applies to forms on paper also. Whenever a customer or prospect sends you information, there might be an appropriate way to ask whether they want a newsletter or to inform them that by taking a certain action they will be added to a mailing list. Take advantage of these opportunities whenever they come up. Then when you’re ready to send your newsletter, retrieve this data and you’ll know who it’s safe to send to.