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January 22, 2008

Marketing through E-mail and Issues Surrounding it

Email marketing is one of the forms of direct marketing, which is done via Internet. Emails are sent to potential customers to boost the business, and gain the trust of the customer by disclosing relevant information and help them to make good shopping decisions. It also enhances the relationship with a current customer, by repeating business with them. In simple words the procedure of sending emails to customers is known as email marketing.

The major advantage of email marketing is that it doesn’t consume a lot of time, is minimal resource consuming and is also cost-efficient. Within a short period, a large audience can be targeted. Features such as Subscriptions, bounced messages, web bugs, and click through help enables businesses to track potential customers. Since the customers can be directly reached, feedbacks can be collected with ease. In terms of cost also it is not as expensive as newsletters. Reports have proven that this is the next best marketing technique after search marketing. It is effective in tracking the returns on investments.

Email marketing is a modernized version of mail marketing. The advantage over direct mail marketing is that it takes less time to reach a customer than mailing. Like people check their mailboxes daily, inbox is also checked by majority of the Internet users on a daily basis. Over the period of time, lots of helpful tools and web services have been developed. List host is web service that provides lots of options to the marketers like managing huge emails and email address database. If the budget is more, list managers can be hired who can be given charge of opt-in-email newsletters and managing databases. Software is also available in the market that does this job too.

When the customer fills the form for the first time, there are check boxes to be ticked which reflects their interests. Depending on these choices, an advertiser sends information to them, this is known as opt-in-email advertising, because the customer has opted to receive emails and marketing like this isn’t illegal. The content of the email can be elaborate, but it shouldn’t be too long as people are really busy for that. The call to action, also known as effective words, in the email should be chosen with care. It’s not necessary that the content should revolve around only one item; related product’s information can also be included. This is known as cross selling. By using email blasting or sending an email to multiple customers at a time can save a lots of time and will also increase the efficiency.

The dark side of email marketing is spamming or also known as bulking. Some companies collect email addresses of people illegally and send irrelevant mails to them, which can be very annoying. Some hackers design an email like an advertisement, but when clicked on downloads adware and viruses that can destroy a computer, which makes it even more dangerous. To make matters worse, the Direct Marketing Association of America has petitioned to make spamming legal. Some prohibitions are also placed on providers who help out business organizations to manage their email marketing by giving them already prepared email templates.

Most of the mailing websites have added the facility of separating spam from genuine email by creating separate folders for both and this is known as spam filtering. But in case of large number of spam mails, a useful mail can go into that folder and can go unnoticed and gets deleted with the rest of the spam mails. This kind of mail is known as false positives. But the chances of this happening are rare. There are many laws against spamming like United States’ Can-Spam act, Europe’s privacy and electronic communications regulations. According to these laws, the companies should get their return address authenticated, false physical addresses should not be included and a one click unsubscribe link should be place in the email. The lesser penalty involves companies sending spam to be blacklisted and on a larger scale, they can be heavily fined.

Author:  Anne Ahira Marketing Guru of My 1st Internet Guru. Anne offers a plethora of inside marketing information and step by step guides to make your online ventures more successful.

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