Mar 27, 2003

Junk or Gems?

Which will your e-mail marketing efforts be?

With more and more marketing and sales professionals using
e-mail to communicate with their target audiences and prospects, it has become
increasingly important for this group to learn how to use this new medium
effectively. Basically, marketers
and sales professionals need to learn how to make their point quickly and
effectively, without alienating their recipients.

Following are some quick tips to ensure that your mass
e-mail communications will be received well.

* What
you see is not always what you get. Not
all recipients are on the same system or configure their PCs in the same way.
Therefore, it can be difficult to utilize the potential of HTML messages. Some outsourced e-mail service
providers have remedied this situation by enabling sales and marketing pros to
send e-mail messages that can be read by all recipients, regardless of how the
recipient's software is configured to display messages. The technology can combine messages
comprised of text, HTML and the subset of HTML used by America Online, and
deliver them to any e-mail recipient in a readable format.

* Be
on target. Consumers are viewing spam in
the same manner as telemarketing, which could result in negative feelings
toward your business. Instead, encourage your current and potential customers
to register on your website to receive your company's information. Also, you can insert a section on your
customer information forms that asks for their e-mail address and if they would
like to receive e-mail updates on your company's offerings.

* Let
them leave. While it may be difficult to
take people off your list, this could make the difference between an unhappy
customer and an irate consumer.
All e-mails should have an opt-out option at the end of the message, in
case a member of your list no longer wants to receive your company's
information. Making it easy to
opt-out can keep your list strong and vital and ensure communications stays
focused and targeted.

* Link
it up. Another tool that can make e-mail
marketing successful is by placing relevant links within the messages. Make it easier for your e-mail
recipients to find more information about your company by including a hyperlink
in your message to your company's website. Your recipients will appreciate the value-added service.

* Take
measure. What's the point of sending
messages if you don't know if people are doing anything with them? For example, if you are focusing your
efforts on a marketing campaign that offers special promotions, you should make
sure you can measure the performance of your e-mail campaign by tracking the
results. Tracking results can be
difficult to do on your own. However, many outsourced providers can follow your
campaign from beginning to end through traceable links in the e-mail messages.
By being able to track results, you can see which messages work, which
information the recipients are reading and how you can design a more effective
campaign in the future.

About the author

Brad Linden is the EVP of marketing for Xpedite, which helps companies manage information distribution to and from their customers through multimedia messaging solutions including fax, e-mail, voice and wireless services. Xpedite offers customers an integrated approach to efficiently and effectively reach their target audiences. For more information, visit