Email Marketing

Email marketing isn’t going away. Our Inboxes are full of them and for good reason: they work.

There are things to know before you begin. There ARE laws governing email.

Each marketing email needs to include how to unsubscribe instructions. Simply put: “reply to this email with unsubscribe in the subject line”. You must remove any and all requests from your email list. The risk is getting your email flagged as “spam”, which means you won’t reach your recipient. Getting blacklisted is to be avoided.

The pretty image emails (HTML) you receive can be created with the help of your web designer. These are actually hosted. All the files for the email layout reside on your server. The email file is so small and downloads quickly as it refers to your website folder to grab the images for the layout. Quick and custom layouts.

You can design your email – but you can’t guarantee how it will be viewed. Each person defines their email. I personally block all images. Outlook then asks if I want to “view the images”. While amazon.com sends me a lovely layout – I receive a clunky email with boxes for pictures…which are blank. The web designer has inserted text, so I can decide if I need to see the picture.

Just as with a website you can code the font to be used, but if the user does not have that font on their computer it will substitute another and the layout will change to accommodate it.  Macs have fonts PCs don’t and vice-versa. There are universal fonts – which is what you see on most websites.

Another option: You can create your email design in Publisher and save to send as email. Using Publisher means you must optimize the photos. If your email is laden with graphics the file size will be large and clog Inboxes, that alone will get you blocked or flagged as spam. One of my clients sends me the images for the newsletter email and I re-size and optimize. The finished file is larger than an HTML hosted email would be, but small enough to be acceptable to send as an email. This is a great way to begin -  and budget minded. Also note – the above user email rules apply – and your design may not show up as you intended. It can be frustrating, but if you keep it simple – it is do-able. Test, test, test is the key.

If you are doing it yourself – you need to check with your web hosting regarding email lists. If you are starting out and have less than 300 emails on your list you are probably within their limits. But most web host companies limit how many emails you can send within a day – if their maximum is 300 – you won’t be able to send any other business emails in that day.

There is a good reason behind this limitation. When so much email is being sent through a server (where your web site resides) it is using up resources better left to keeping your website downloading fast.

Next up is the spamming factor. If web hosting doesn’t limit the email activity spammers run rampant. Most websites are hosted on shared servers. Once spammers get ahold of a server they will drag down all the sites on that server. Once the spamming activity is tagged by Yahoo, Google – webmail – it will begin to blacklist that IP address as spam – which now compromises all the sites. Be thankful to your web hosting for being watchful!

Now, what to do with a large email list? Move into the email marketing companies. There are tons to choose from. Many have templates you can use to fill in and compose your layout. These are fee based and you upload your email list. They also have the software in place to help out with being blocked and never reaching your recipient, controlling who opts out and so on. They know what they are doing and it saves you some headaches.

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