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November 24, 2007

A Guide To Email marketing Process :Part 1

Email marketing is probably the most effective form of marketing your business online . However email marketing has over the years undergone a huge change . From mass mailers to customised emails , email marketing scores over traditional marketing in a variety of ways

Simply defined email marketing is a process by which companies can reach out to their global audiences by offering a service or a product , or can it can also be used as a toll for retaining their customers

Email Marketing's main strength is that it takes advantage of a customer's most prolific touch point with the Internet… their inbox.

Although spam mail has done a great deal to discredit the Email Marketing industry,and over the years even ethical marketers who practises the best email marketing principles has got their name tainted by spammers.

However the benefits are still apparent and substantiated by the fact that in February, 2006,
a JupiterResearch report concluded that spending on Email Marketing will rise from $885 million in 2005 to $1.1 billion in 2010.The most apparent logic that makes email marketing such a killer application is that unlike many other marketing tools, Email marketing can be measured and ROI can be analyzed.other benefits of email marketing are

1) reaches out to diverse audiences and makes your bussiness truly global
2) Low cost as compared to traditional forms of marketing
3)Measurable, can be tracked to the nth degree
4)Can be customized
5) Allows more selective targeting , segmentation and Positioning of your products and services

Step 1 : Email Marketing Planning

Email marketing campaigns require that you create and plan the campaign, execute the delivery, and analyze the results. For most organizations who in-source, none of these activities can be done without significant involvement of IT staff. Whether it's...
  • Extracting a targeted list of recipients
  • Creating a template for the email
  • Testing the email for potential spam-blocking
  • Sending the email at specific date and time
  • Seeing the results of the delivery after the fact or in real-time
  • Analyzing the results and taking corrective actions
Email marketing can be divided into two types 1) promotional mails that includes offers or promotional tools where the subscribers is encouraged to either purchase something or sign up for some offers .2) Emails that focus on customer retention in the form of a newsletter that provides subscribers with either weekly updates or latest happenings pertaining to the industry verticals which focuses on creating a long term relationship with the user.

Step 2:List Building of Your Database:

Email marketing requires you to have a list of your potential prospects that are interested in your products and services . In short they are our audience that have shown a genuine desire to know more about what you have to offer and have given their explicit permission to receive emails from you at theur mailbox . This is also know as permission based marketing . Further you should have an opt- in and opt- our feature to allow people to subscribe or unsubscribe your emails anytime they want. Many companies source the entire email list from other Emarketing companies . However this might be a problem are for some since you may not know the process by which they have gained access to the database .

Tips for an effective List Building

1)Leverage all existing Touchpoints:

Use all media you have at your disposal to entice people to come you your sign up page . Your website is the first interaction point for your visitors , ensure that you have the sign up page at all your important landing pages as well as some of the most trafficked internal pages.Similarly, include a link to your sign-up page wherever your company is listed on a partner or affiliate site. Place a PC displaying your sign-up page in your trade show booth. Radio ads should refer listeners to your website. The key is to get them to your website's sign-up page. When your use a Press Release and provide a link to your newsletter page .

Make it easy to Opt in and opt Out ; provide clear instructions on opting in and more importantly opting out

3) Know your Target Audience

When someone opts-in, you should request a limited number of demographic questions such as: company name, industry and physical location. You can also include a survey to gauge interests directly within your emails. Understand where people are coming from so you can make adjustments as needed for future communications or promotions. One of the best resources for helping you expand your opt-in list is your existing opt-in list. Take advantage of it. Use the feature : Foward this mail Option , to get the viral effect started .

4) Consider the 4 Cs

Clear. Concise. Compelling. Customer-centric. When you write an email, put yourself in the reader's shoes and think, "Why shouldn't I hit the delete key right now?" Your readers are not opting in because they want to hear a sales pitch. They need to save time, money or effort, and always, to improve productivity and success. Your message must be compelling enough to convince people to sign-up, valuable enough to keep them wanting more, and useful enough to pass along.

Step 3: Deciding the email Format : HTML vs Plain text : While HTML scores over plain text in terms of look and feel and design capabilties .Many Email Clients blocks HTML images that gives ur users the impression that your emails look incomplete and uncool.

Studies show that marketing emails sent in HTML format get much better response rates and far fewer unsubscribes than those sent in plain text. The reasons for this are many, but perhaps the biggest reason can be summed up this way: HTML messages look cooler.

The great thing about HTML is all your recipients will be able to see it. The problem is that you can't always predict just how it will look. Users with older or outdated email programs will likely see the message as text, and some will even see all that ugly HTML coding. Those using newer versions of Outlook or Outlook Express, Eudora, or Netscape Communicator will likely see the HTML as it was intended, at least partial.

Of all the bulk email management programs available, very few allow you to format text and HTML separately, thus making your message universal. One program in particular, called Broadcast, not only offers this cutting-edge capability, but also provides several list management and marketing tools. For more information on Broadcast HTML, and how you can download a free, fully-functional 10-day trial, see

Step 4:Creative Execution and usability Design:

The design of a mailer is one of the most important issue for the designers.Some common problems are the:
length of the email
disorganised structure of information
readability of text

Interactive emails are best constructed with lightweight HTML capability allowing the email to open quickly in order to grab the user's attention before he/she moves on.The structure must allow people to scan and navigate the email without too much complication. The length of paragraphs, emphasis through bolding and colours as well as sectioning information with bullets and borders all contribute to a well structured email.

Any good designer will test their email on a variety of current, most used email clients.(E.g. Outlook, Thunderbird, Lotus Notes, Eudora etc). This process is called platform testing and ensures that the email will display correctly in as many email clients as possible. Sometimes it is not possible to ensure exact consistency on every email client; however the variations can be minimised through following best international practice and staying abreast of new developments in email clients.

Email Deployment and Spam Filters:You can either use a third party email delivery platform like Ybrant's Zentyl, which is a bulk emaling software that is highly scalable which cans end bulk emails ( more than a million/billiion) in a short time. It provides creating of email campaigns,email list management , campaign tracking and reporting email campaign.

Step 5)Getting Your Email To Your Users mailboxes: How to avoid Blacklisting

We all know email is probably today's most popular way to advertise. Every day our inboxes are filled with messages from people who want our business - whether we asked for the contact or not. Email is today's biggest communication factor; but why shouldn't it be? It's all but free to use, and it's almost instantaneous.

But there is one problem with advertising via email that you may not think of very often: blacklisting. All it takes is one complaint, and your ISP or domain name can be put on someone's blacklist. If you're on the blacklist, your emails are not getting through - and neither is your advertising message.

So how big of a problem is this? AOL, one of the world's biggest Internet service providers, blocks a whopping 80% of messages to its subscribers due to blacklising. Your email could be the most legitimate message ever sent, but if one person forgets they signed up or decides to complain, you could be blacklisted. And for your business, the resulting slump in sales can be devastating.

What is a blacklist exactly? A blacklist is a database of known Internet addresses (or IPs) used by individuals or companies sending spam. Various ISPs and bandwidth providers subscribe to these blacklist databases to filter out spam sent across their network or to their subscribers. Companies like AOL, MSN, and Yahoo all have very strict policies on spam, so many well-intended, legitimate emails never get through.

So how can you be sure you haven't been blacklisted? Unfortunately, you really can't be 100% sure. You may be on someone's blacklist and not even know it, and can be added to and removed from blacklists at the drop of a hat. The only way to prevent being blacklisted unfairly is to use today's technology to keep track of it all. There is cutting-edge software technology available that checks all the major blacklists like Spamcop, MAPS, and SPAMHaus, to ensure your domain or ISP hasn't been added.