The goal of all marketing is to attract interest in, build desire for, and
generate sales of your products or services. Bulk email marketing is a perfect
medium to pick up where other marketing leaves off. Bulk email marketing
is still one of the most cost effective ways to contact prospects and customers.
Its far cheaper than traditional bulk postage mail and in many cases
can have a much larger impact on immediate sales and long-term relationship
strength than traditional advertising.
When done correctly, bulk email marketing can be an extremely powerful
and effective marketing technique. Its a medium that allows a buyer
and seller to freely communicate with one another and build a relationship
based on value and trust. When done incorrectly, however, bulk email marketing
can be destructive, erode brand equity, and turn your happy clients into
litigious flamers. It is for this reason that one must make sure they send
only permission-based email communications to their subscribers.
Before we proceed any further, lets define exactly what permission-based
bulk email marketing is. It is important to note that there are two types
of bulk email marketing. One can either send unsolicited email
promotions or send out emails only to persons who have requested to receive
them. Unsolicited email is, of course, called spam. Sending spam will ruin
any legitimate organizations reputation and brand value faster than
mold grows on bread that is left outside in the middle of summer. Rule number
one of becoming an intelligent email marketer is to not send unsolicited
Permission-based bulk email marketing, on the other hand, is used effectively
everyday by hundreds of thousands of organizations to build the value of
their brands, increase sales, and strengthen the relationships they have
with their clients and subscribers. The key difference, of course, is that
these senders are only sending messages to persons who have requested to
Lets take a second to understand the key difference between spam and
The Axiom of Value
For the last 100 years, companies have relied on traditional advertising
in the form of catchy jingles, TV commercials, billboards, print ads in
newspapers and magazines, direct mail, hot air balloons, and waving mascots.
The technique is to interrupt a radio listener, TV viewer, or magazine reader
with an attention grabbing ad that compels the consumer to buy the
companys product or at least have the product closer to the forefront
of his or her mind next time the individual is making a buying decision.
In most instances, advertising is acceptable to the consumer. Most people
dont mind seeing ads while watching television, listening to the radio,
or reading magazinesor at least they understand that these ads are
necessary in order to receive the content they are seeing, reading, or hearing.
While technologies like TiVo, DVR, and satellite radio are challenging
advertisers to come up with new methods of advertising, other technologies
such as Internet television require users to watch a 30-second advertisement
prior to the start of a show. The point is, as long as value is provided,
consumers will be willing to be exposed to a few advertisements.
This same axiom holds true online. As long as your web site provides content
that people value, visitors will continue returning to the site even if there
are a few banner ads or Google AdWords boxes within the page layout. While
some web sites, such as WSJ.com, have successfully switched to a
subscription-based model, many more web sites rely on banner, box, skyscraper,
and contextual advertisements to earn the bulk of their income.
The same axiom, that as long as value is provided, consumers will be willing
to be exposed to a few advertisements, also holds true with email. As long
as one provides valuewhether by providing content on a topic a recipient
is interested in or a discount off a product related to one purchased
previouslypeople will allow you to continue to contact them. Each and
every email you send of course contains your logo, information on your products
and services, and links to your web sites. These items are the advertising
and should be surrounded on all sides by the items which make the communication
actually add value to the lives of your readers.
Spam however, by its very nature, breaks the axiom. Unsolicited bulk email
very rarely has any value. Spam is usually irrelevant, always impersonal,
and rarely helpful. Everyone with an email inbox knows how aggravating it
is to sort through forty new emails to only find two that are from persons
you know. While spam may make money for persons in Eastern Europe promoting
fake drugs, I feel strongly that sending spam will always have a net negative
impact on any legitimate organization.
For this reason, we strongly recommend only sending permission-based email,
also known as opt-in email. Permission-based bulk email marketing can be
an extremely effective way to increase visitor-to-sale conversion rates,
build strong relationships with your customers, and turn your one-time buyers
into lifetime product evangelizers who recommend your organization to everyone
they know. Permission-based bulk email marketing allows companies to develop
and sustain relationships with their prospects and consumers by creating
value. Permission marketing is about turning strangers into friends
and friends into customers as Seth Godin likes to say.
The nature of permission marketingbuilding a relationship with a prospect
or expanding the relationship with an existing customer over timeallows
you to concentrate on the prospects and customers who are really interested
in what you have to sell and are more than willing to become repeat customers.
The Five-Step Process of Permission bulk email marketing
There is a simple five-step process in putting a successful permission-based
bulk email marketing campaign in place. This process is reviewed below.
1. Start using a permission-based bulk email software such as IntelliContact
Pro that allows you to easily create newsletters, automatically manage
subscribes, unsubscribes, bounces, and view reporting statistics like opens
2. Decide on the type and frequency of email communication you will be sending.
We recommend sending at least a monthly newsletter. You can certainly send
multiple newsletters if you sell different types of products. You can also
send promotional messages offering a discount or coupon for a product or
3. Add a sign-up form to your web site so you can start collecting subscribers
and import any existing lists of subscribers that have already requested
your communications. It is generally also safe to import the names of anyone
who has done business with you in the past year, provided you will be sending
content relevant to what they purchased.
4. Create a good email template by using a template provided within the email
software, having your in-house team create one, or using the custom design
services of the email software company. IntelliContact Pro provides over
140 design templates within the software that can be used free of charge
and can also develop a custom template for a nominal charge.
5. Develop quality relevant content for your newsletter or message and send
it out to your list. Continue sending your newsletters, announcements, or
promotions with consistent frequency. As your list grows, you will notice
increased traffic (and if applicable, increased sales) on the day of and
the days following an email send.
By providing quality relevant content you will succeed in keeping your brand
mindshare at the front of the mind of your customers and cement strong
relationships with your subscribers.
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