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Should you do email marketing?

The simple answer is yes and here’s why:

  • Its targeted – very fine segmentation is possible.
  • Actionable data is available – with email marketing you can find out who opened your mail, who forwarded it and whose email ids are bouncing.
  • It builds trust and creates relationships thereby increasing your chances of winning new business.
  • It establishes your expertise. If you were sending out an email newsletter on your industry it shows your readers how much you know about it and therefore builds credibility.

The Direct Marketing Association released a study called the "Power of Direct" economic impact every year. The study says that commercial email returned $43.62 for every dollar spent on it in 2009. The next best medium was Internet Search advertising that returned $21.85 to every dollar.

So how do you go about it?

The easiest way is to sign up for an email marketing service that allows you to:

  1. Manage lists – different lists for different mailings, segmentation for targeting.
  2. Manage emails – maintain copies of emails sent so you can reuse them.
  3. Track open, forward, bounce, subscribe, unsubscribe rates – key statistics in determining if your campaigns are working.

Assuming you want such a service, what should you be wary of?

While it seems like a no-brainer to start email marketing, there are some pitfalls you need to be vary of.

Email marketing is also pretty highly regulated as it is an official and legal form of communication. So several countries have legislated laws against unsolicited email. In the US the law is called CAN-SPAM and is one of the strictest laws. Also please note most web servers are in the US. So if some one sues you, even if you wont go to jail, you may not be able to send out another email ever as any server holding your site will be shut down. So its important to ensure that your emails are compliant with all relevant spam laws.

Simply sending thousands of emails is no use if ISPs ban your emails as spam. Since Spam laws are very strict, ISPs usually have a very strict policy of not allowing what looks like spam to go through their servers. Google for instance does not allow you to send out more than 500 mails per day. So an email marketing solution should enable you to send a potentially unlimited number of mails while still ensuring the mails are sent out and they ultimately reach the addresses they are sent to.


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