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Effective E-Mail Marketing

Effective
Bulk email is a highly cost effective means to keep your customers and potential customers abreast of their topics of interest; namely, your auctions. The caveat here is that you must not abuse your goodwill. That means you must obey this list of do’s and don’ts.

DO (Good)

  • Always include an easy-to-use opt-out link in your emails.
  • Use plain text emails whenever possible – HTML emails look better but plain text emails are easier to read on smartphones and encourage you to be concise. If I want to look at auction images I will click on the link in the email.
  • Double-check ALL links in your emails. A broken link in your email aggravates your customers.
  • Clean up your email list to eliminate bouncebacks (bad emails). Failure to do this increases the likelihood of your emails getting marked as spam.
  • Send your emails from a branded email account like [email protected] NOT from [email protected]
  • Ensure you have an easy to use sign-up form on your home page where someone can simply enter the email address and click Submit. Let me repeat that: The only field you need is the email address.  
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    DO NOT DO (Bad)

  • Do not send more than one or two emails a month. Sending more than this reduces your read percentage and yields higher opt-out rates.
  • Never, ever purchase or harvest email lists. Using purchased lists can immediately and irrevocably harm your company’s credibility not to mention it will elicit vile responses from the recipients.
  • Never use unscrupulous bulk email service providers. They will collect the email addresses you send to and sell them to spammers.
  • Avoid spammy keywords in your emails like FREE, CLICK NOW!, etc.
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    Self-Service or Full Service

    You have the choice of sending your emails yourself or using a bulk email service provider. The biggest issue that most people face when attempting the self-service route is limitations from their Internet Service Provider (ISP). Most ISP’s limit how many emails you can send in an hour. This number is often very low (50 or less) which means that sending a bulk email blast of 5,000 emails would take 100 hours… ugh. That is where the bulk email service providers step in. Because they run their own servers that are connected directly to the internet they don’t have these limitations.

     

    Scruples

    I can attest to the following list of scrupulous bulk email service providers. They will automatically allow recipients to opt-out of your emails.  They will automatically eliminate bouncebacks from your email list. They will not harvest or sell your email lists to spammers. They can typically send your entire email blast out in less than a few hours. In short, they make bulk email easier to manage.

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    1. August 3rd, 2010 at 20:20 | #1

      I have to disagree with the comment “The only field you need is the email address”.
      In fact, if you use this concept, then you can expect to start getting LOTS of spam.

      By the same token, NEVER put your email address on your website. Use a contact form, instead.

      I use a contact form on my website and at least once a week, I get someone filling it out with a bunch of garbage, in the hopes that their email address will get on my list, just so they can use it to spam.

      Therefore, by using a contact form that requires name, address, etc., I can also get demographic information on those that are interested in my auctions and also weed out the spammers. It’s also a matter of building trust… and it goes both ways. After all, if they decide to come to my auction, they are going to be giving me all that info and more, so they shouldn’t have a problem giving me basic info to begin with, unless they may have ulterior motives.

    2. Brandon
      August 3rd, 2010 at 20:59 | #2

      Jim, thanks for the comments and for filling in the other side of the debate.
      I knew I would take some heat for that comment 🙂 I would like to add two things: 1. I would argue that your email sign up form should use the double opt-in method and/or Captcha field which would virtually eliminate the exposure to spambots (the Auction Flex IWS utilizes the double opt-in method). 2. Human behavior is such that the more fields you have on your form, the less people will actually fill out the form. I respectfully stand by my assertion that you will have significantly more signups by having only the email field in the form.

    3. August 4th, 2010 at 09:49 | #3

      I’ll certainly agree that you will have more sign-ups. However, there are a couple of common marketing strategies referred to as “target market” and “qualified lead”. This includes weeding out those that have little real interest in your product or services, i.e. tire kickers, curiosity seekers, etc.

      One might also claim to have a large database of email addresses and that might sound impressive to a potential client. However, if only 20% of those actually have a real interest in your auction, then it is an irrelevant claim.

      There are many other reasons that one should take care in adding just anyone to their email list.
      While double opt-in and Captcha is good for the spambots, these are not the only methods used by spammers. As I previously indicated, I have one or more attempts each week by someone manually submitting their email address through my contact form (recently, many of these appear to be coming from S. America).
      Some view email as a cheap advertising medium, although it still takes time and computer/internet resources to send out those emails. Even at limits of 500/hour, which is a more common limitation, it could take many hours to send out thousands of messages. I would prefer to be sending to those that actually have a qualified interest in my auctions.

      One more important point… Over the years, I’ve been amazed at the number of people that move, which is demonstrated by the flyers that get returned as undeliverable. However, I’ve also learned that people change ISP’s and email addresses a whole lot more often than they move. By collecting their physical information through a contact form, I can still try to maintain contact with those that forget to notify me of changes in their email addresses. Often, once they get a flyer in the mail, they remember to update their email address.

      The other problem with those curiosity seekers is that often, they will not request to be removed from your list, but will just click the SPAM button. This may then get you tagged as a spammer, especially on some of the major email providers such as AOL, Yahoo, MSN and others, which can also get you put on some of the spam lists, which exacerbates the problem. I’ve gone through this twice in the past ten years and it can take up to 2-4 weeks to get removed from such lists.

      In any case, I would rather have targeted, qualified addresses to insure that I’m utilizing an effective advertising campaign. If they aren’t willing to provide their name and address, then they are not likely to be those that have a strong interest in what you have to offer.

    4. February 12th, 2011 at 23:59 | #4

      Hi Jim,

      I agree up adding your email address to you contact us page is NOT a good idea. Have this on my website and looking at getting rid of it because I get about 40 junk emails a day.

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