Easy, Effective, Compliant Email Marketing for Your Business
|Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.|
Easy, Effective, Compliant Email Marketing for Your Business
Email can be a powerful means by which to communicate with customers, potential customers, and other businesses. Sending emails from your business account is different, however, than sending them from your personal email account. Electronic communications from businesses are carefully regulated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission via the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The purpose of this act is to prevent businesses from abusing the privilege of having access to email addresses by sending unscrupulous, dishonest or unwanted messages (spam) to those on their mailing list. According to their website, this act “establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.” These regulations involve such things as truthfully and accurately labeling the material you’re sending as an advertisement, identifying yourself as the sender and taking responsibility for unsubscribing anyone who chooses that option. If a business violates the CAN-SPAM Act, it can be blacklisted and prohibited from sending emails. It can also incur costly fines.
You’re not alone in the trenches
That may seem a bit daunting; after all, you just want to let people know about your Grand Reopening Sale, right?
Fortunately, there’s help for businesses who wish to harness the power of the Internet to contact their contacts: an email marketing service. Two of the biggest currently around are MailChimp and Constant Contact. These services help you get and remain CAN-SPAM compliant right from the get-go. They manage your mailing list and automatically add and remove email addresses as requested by your subscribers. You can choose a free plan if you’re just starting out or if your contact list is sparse; upgrades are available when your list grows or when you want to send more frequent emails.
Email marketing services provide easy and effective assistance
These services assist you in creating attractive, compelling emails that will catch your customers’ eyes and drive attention and sales your way. Some of the services include:
If you’re going to go to the effort to reach out, you might as well send something customers will actually take the time to look at and read. A template is a pre-made, sample email to which your content can be added. An email marketing service provides dozens and dozens to choose from. Most are highly customizable so you can add your logo, preferred images, eye-catching fonts and buttons with calls to action (such as “Click here to learn more about this exciting event!” Choose among a variety of types for something appropriate for your message, e.g. invitation, newsletter, announcement, appointment reminder, etc.).
Best practices for preparing a marketing email: First of all, each marketing email should have a specific purpose. Is it to drive traffic to your website or blog? Announce an event? Promote a special sale? Being clear as to what you want to convey will make for a more digestible message and will make it easier to determine if the campaign was successful. The success of an email campaign can be determined by reviewing the analytics which will tell you how many people interacted with (opened or clicked) it and when. This intel, over time, will help you send more engaging emails that garner attention.
Use marketing email like a virtual postcard. Write sharp, descriptive text that directs the reader to further information or a desired action. In other words, don’t put the bulk of the content in the email but rather have it push traffic to where the reader can interact (like your website, social media page or blog). Use correct spelling and grammar and keep its appearance clean and succinct.
How can you collect email addresses to grow your email distribution list? In addition to asking each and every customer (and potential customer) in your day-to-day interactions for their email address, email marketing services can help. Within them, you can create a signup form that can easily be embedded on your website (as a popup invitation to join your mailing list) or onto your social media pages. Visitors to those sites will be offered the opportunity to legally “opt-in” and are automatically added to the distribution list(s) of their choice.
Not all emails need to go to everyone on your list. Segmenting your list is breaking up a main list into smaller segments, each containing specific recipients. For example, you could create an email to thank customers who have done business with you in the past 30 days. Your main list will contain that information; you filter out the contacts that meet that criteria and send that email campaign to just those specific people. Want to reach out to those who haven’t shopped with you for a while? Create a segment that includes those contacts and send a “We miss you!” campaign (and maybe a coupon) to entice their return.
Try as you might to appeal to all your customers, there’s simply not one recipe to cook up the perfect marketing email. A/B Testing can help you determine which wording, offer, format, design or images do a better job of getting the desired result. Distribute two different versions of an email: Email “A” and Email “B.” Then, by consulting your analytics, you can determine which email did a better job of generating traffic of where you wanted it to go. This can help you build your own email marketing strategy that’s more effective because it’s audience-tested.
Email marketing is an easy and effective way to communicate with customers and market your business. It’s definitely worth employing an email marketing service to help you stay compliant and organize your contacts. They also help you to grow your distribution list, thereby increasing your potential reach into the marketplace.
Are you using email marketing effectively?
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