Thou Shalt Respect Thy Email List!

Tom Snyder photo by Tom Snyder on Aug 01, 2005

One of the most powerful tools in a company's Internet arsenal is its email list. So why do so many companies have so little respect for theirs?

Most companies that use broadcast email as a part of their Web site promotion simply collect email addresses wherever they can, dump them into a list, and send out an occasional email to that list. No real effort or strategy is involved because the email addresses are easy to get and the emails don't cost anything to send. So it's no surprise that the lack of results from that strategy reinforce the opinion that email marketing is just no big deal.

Here are a couple of "secret weapons" that successful companies are using to produce email success that they can take to the bank:

Broadcast Email Success Strategy #1: Make sure your list is clean.

Instead of just offering an incentive to your staff for hitting a certain total number of email addresses collected, offer a bonus for valid, double-opted-in email addresses. That means regularly validating your list and removing the bad addresses. ISPs keep track of how many bad email addresses you send to them. Too many, and they'll block ALL your emails. And unless you can document the date, time and IP address of a true closed loop opt in for every single person on your list, they won't unblock you. Because they won't define how many bad addresses is too many, your best bet is to keep your list as clean as you can all the time.

(Hint: TriveraMail 6 has the tools to do all this)

Email Campaign Secret #2 - Hold someone accountable for measurable results.

Most companies just blast away and hope a lot of their emails will reach an eager reader. Heaven forbid that they would count bouncebacks (distinguishing between hard and soft bounces) and measure delivered emails, open rates and click-throughs, and hold someone responsible for hitting predetermined, ever increasing goals.

But that's exactly what smart companies do. And they also perform testing to compare success rates of several different email types, layouts and messages to small samples of their list just to make sure that the one they're sending to the entire list will produce the best results.

There's nothing like making someone's job or bonus dependent on measurable results to get them to respect an email initiative.

(Hint: TriveraMail 6 has the tools to do all these, too)

Email Campaign Secret #3 - Treat your bulk email campaigns as if they were printed postal mails.

When you're developing your next email strategy, the first thing you need to do is ask yourself how much it would cost you to communicate the same message using a print piece mailed via snail mail. Depending on the nature of the mail piece itself, the printing (and stuffing) costs, plus postage will run between 25 to 45 cents each. For a list of 6,000 recipients, that comes to as much as $2,700. Then ask yourself how much money would be wasted if a printing or addressing error resulted in half your pieces just disappearing. There would be consequences because of the expense of the waste.

Smart companies place a commensurate value on their emails, realizing that lost or unread emails actually DO cost them money.

When the average email user opens their inbox, they still wade through 20-200 emails just hoping that at least some of them are compelling, valuable communications from someone they respect and want to hear from.

Don't expect your subscribers to respect your emails unless you first respect them yourself!

-Tom Snyder

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