Email marketing is a great tool, that has been found to close sales better than social media marketing. My strong opinion is that online marketing tools should be used to complement one another, and not as a replacement. Combining your email marketing campaigns with PPC, SMM and other methods will have a strong impact on your lead conversions and your return on investment.
However, when using email marketing, it is important to adhere to certain rules, so pay attention to the anti-spam policies set out by your email marketing service.
What is Anti-Spam?
All email marketing companies have a set of rules, which all come down to the CAN-SPAM Act guidelines, found here:
This policy governs the sending of commercial email and upholds the rights of email recipients and if you don't adhere to those guidelines, you may be persecuted.
Internet Service Providers are constantly clamping down on offenders who don't adhere to CAN-SPAM policies. Once a domain is blacklisted as a spammer, none of your emails will be delivered, including legitimate communications.
In order to avoid being tagged as a spammer and having limitations and penalties instituted against you (such as your hosting account being suspended and your name being blacklisted with other hosting companies), I suggest the following:
1. Use a Reputable Email Marketing Service Provider
Using a reputable email marketing company means that the proper opt-in policies are already implemented in their software.
2. Never Buy Email Lists
Spammers spend hours every day harvesting the internet for email addresses to add to lists, which they sell to unsuspecting email marketers. When you buy a list, you can be sure that:
- none of the names have opted into your mailing list
- most of the email addresses will be outdated
- most of the emails will not be delivered
- at least some of them will report your emails as spam
3. Use Double Opt-In
Your email marketing provider should provide a tick-box for you to select double opt-in. This means that all your recipients will have to click on a link confirming that they want to receive your emails. That way, you have proof that they subscribed to your mailing list.
Creating a legitimate list requires a bit more effort than buying a list and sending spam, but it is certainly worth it - both for your peace of mind and long-term reputation.
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