Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

February 3, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 5 of 5

Today we address the 5th in our series of the Five Top Ezine Publishing Guidelines. If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, please pick up the links from our archive in the sidebar on the right of the screen.

5. Communicate with a frequency your readers expect

How often you send your email newsletter depends on how much content you include. Perhaps you send a ‘daily tip’ that is short and to the point, or you send a longer article only once a month. Either way it is best to set the expectations of your readers upfront and then stick to it.

Why? So that you keep on the radar of your prospects (which your readers ultimately are), and so that they can look forward to receiving your emails and are more likely to read them. Whatever you do, be sure not to send emails so frequently that you get on their nerves, or so infrequently that they forget who you are!

There you have it.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts on this series – even adding any top tips that you follow as an email marketer.  And if you’ve enjoyed this series of short articles and would enjoy reading more like them, please sign up for our e-zine The Marketing Edge.  We practice what we preach – promise!

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February 1, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 3

Last week we began our series of top tips for being a responsible, ethical, reputable email marketer. If you aren’t bothered about your reputation, or getting marked as a spammer, then stop reading – this is not for you (or perhaps you REALLY ought to be reading on….).

3. Use an automated ethical list-management service

What does that mean? It means that you don’t send your newsletter out via a distribution list in Outlook. Internet Service Providers are clamping down on this form of mass mailing, and if this is how you operate you will quickly find yourself being blacklisted as a spammer.

It also means that you don’t give your email marketing business to list managers that allow (and even encourage) dodgy list-building techniques or flout the previous two rules.

Personally we use – and highly recommend – Aweber for this very reason. They are very strict about adhering to email marketing best practices. They also refuse to do business with clients that don’t.

I Heart AWeber.com
Check back tomorrow for tip number 4.

January 29, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 2

Yesterday we addressed the first and foremost rule that responsible e-marketers follow. If you do any form of email marketing (newsletters, ezines, mailshots – call them what you like) then you are in the right place: Read on!

2. Make unsubscribing easy!

Why? Because your subscribers are entitled to change their minds about receiving your messages, and should have their wishes respected. They should not need to explain why, nor have to beg or plead to have you honour their request.

How do you make the process quick and painless? By having a simple, one-click unsubscribe link in your message – that removes the email address completely from your database.

Dishonest e-marketers make it virtually impossible for subscribers to remove themselves. They do things like creating separate lists for each individual broadcast so that when a reader clicks the unsubscribe link they are only removed from the current mailing and not future ones. Or they insist that you log in to their system to change your preferences, but you have never created an account to log in to!

E-marketers with integrity will never employ such cowboy tactics.

Check back on Monday for our third tip.

January 28, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 1

Over the next few days we’ll be exploring the top 5 ezine publishing guidelines that you need to follow as a reputable, ethical e-marketer. If you missed our previous post/s you can read them here. Today we look at tip number 1:

1. Only add subscribers with their permission!

Why? Well, a major reason for having an ezine or email newsletter at all is to position you as an expert in your field, to demonstrate your services, and enhance your credibility. You ruin it all by growing your subscriber base without their consent.

Additionally, people who actually want (and have asked) to hear from you are qualified prospects and are more likely to buy from you eventually. It is a complete sham to have a database of hundreds or even thousands of recipients that don’t want what you have to offer, never read your newsletters, and possibly even have your messages land straight in a junkmail folder.

How do you ensure you have their permission? By using what is known as ‘confirmed (or verified) opt-in’. This not only makes certain that every name on your mailing list has given you permission to send them your newsletters, serves to validate the email addresses you hold, and also prevents third parties from adding subscribers without their knowledge.

By definition then you would not add people to your mailing list simply because you picked up their card while networking. Neither would you mine the Yellow Pages or Chamber of Commerce member list to increase your subscriber numbers.

Responsible e-marketers regard this as standard practice.

Check back tomorrow for tip number 2.

January 27, 2010

Are you building a massive email list?

Ezines (or email newsletters) are a great way of showcasing your knowledge and positioning you as a credible expert in your field. They also allow you to stay on the radar of qualified prospects in a low-key, non-threatening way. They are low cost, created with ease, and delivered at the exact date and time that you determine.

It’s little wonder then that so many businesses are following the trend to build massive mailing lists.

Are you?

Read on over the next few days to learn the five top ezine publishing guidelines. If you don’t follow them, at best you’ll be ruining your reputation, at worst you’ll be breaking the law!  Check back tomorrow for tip number 1.

June 3, 2008

Right vs Wrong: How to Build an Email List

Email newsletters (aka E-zines) can be regarded as one of the best business communication tools invented for a long time. 

  • They are low cost – even no cost in comparison to paying for paper, printing, envelopes, and postage. 
  • They are instantly deliverable directly to the desired recipient. 
  • They are created with ease and minimal fuss.
  • They are environmentally friendly – no paper or transport to distant subscribers.
  • They allow you to stay on the radar of qualified prospects and existing customers in a low-key, non-threatening way.
  • They position you as an expert, authority, and credible resource in your industry.

Little wonder that so many businesses are jumping on the bandwagon with aggressive list-building tactics. The choice between right and wrong becomes paramount, and YOUR ethics, credibility, and reputation all come in to play when you choose how to build your list.

The wrong ways, while not yet illegal, are currently under review and challenge by both the European Union and the United States of America. Some dodgy tactics include:

  • Buying databases and mailing lists from vendors who sell them
  • Adding every contact you meet at networking events
  • Mining other databases like Chamber of Commerce member lists and the Yellow Pages
  • Using ‘Opt-out’

(Please note that I am NOT talking about occasional ad hoc emails, I am specifically referring to adding these names to your regular E-zine subscriber list)

Doing so will add thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of names to your list. 

What is the point of a subscriber list of thousands who never asked to receive your information, probably will never even open your messages, and certainly will never do business with you?  It’s a case in point of quantity rather than quality.

 How will unsolicited SPAM position you as credible?

 How will it draw prospects to doing business with you?

As an example, just this week I received an email from a local Law Firm that I have NEVER had any dealings with. Somehow I have landed on their subscriber list. (You’d think a law firm would lead by example!).

The email is addressed: ‘Dear Client’. Ahem – I am not, never have been, and now certainly will never be.  They have completely blown their own credibility in my eyes.

 At the end, they have their ‘Opt-Out’ clause: ‘This newsletter is sent in accordance with the EU Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive.  If you no longer wish to receive it please send an email to **** to unsubscribe‘.

Why must I have the hassle of asking them to remove me from a subscription service that I never asked to be a part of in the first place.  The next one I receive will be flagged as SPAM.  They will learn the hard way when the ISPs blacklist their outbound emails.

(NB:  If you are having problems with sending outgoing emails, and have an email newsletter with subscribers who haven’t subscribed themselves, you may want to check your ‘blacklisting’ status with your Internet Service Provider)

Do you even trust Unsubscribe links anyway?  How many times have you tried following one and then either being asked to log in (eh? With what details??) or received a ‘successfully unsubscribed’ message only to find you continue receiving the newsletters anyway?

The above tactics only serve to destroy your own credibility and reputation. Rather than being on the radar in a non-threatening way you may be pushing your prospects away.

Don’t despair: There are better ways! 

There are many reputable businesses and E-zine publishers who are getting the process right. In so doing they are growing their lists with warm, qualified subscribers who have a much higher likelihood of becoming paying clients in time.  Look at what they are doing so you can emulate their techniques as well as their success.

Here are some of the ethical, honest, and best-practice methods that they (we) use:

  • Use Verified Opt-In services.  It will take longer to grow a list this way, but each and every person on that list has chosen to be there.  They have qualified themselves in, are expecting to hear from you, are most likely to open and read your messages, and have an even higher likelihood of doing business with you when ready.  The best way to do this is to use one of the reputable list managers in the market. Get recommendations.  We love Aweber        
  • Have a Clear Privacy Policy. Email addresses are like gold.  Let your subscribers know that they can trust you to treat theirs as such. Make is clear that you will not rent, sell, or share their information with any third parties.  Also make it clear what you will do with their subscriber info. For example read Zee2A’s Privacy Policy HERE
  • Only send relevant information. Set expectations upfront about the kind of information you send your subscribers and then keep your promises.  If you offer a Tax Consulting service your subscribers will expect information relating to that. They don’t want emails from you marketing Time-Share in Spain.  Here at Zee2A we help our clients grow their businesses, so our emails will always contain articles, hints, tips, and suggestions on doing just that.  Not the latest Make-up and fashion trends!
  • Make it easy to get in touch with you. The internet can be a vast, impersonal, black hole.  Show your subscribers the real ‘you’ behind the website and the E-zine.  We always include a photograph to make it more personal and so that you can put our names and faces together.  We also include contact information so that you can write, email, or call us. 
  • Make it easy to unsubscribe. If your readers choose to no longer receive your newsletters they should not need to jump through hoops to have their wishes granted.  There should be no shenanigans.  Your privacy policy and use of a reputable list manager will ensure integrity in this matter. 

Keep an eye out for my follow up article. In it I will outline various tried and tested methods to grow your E-Zine list with quality subscribers who look forward to hearing from you.

©Vanessa Deakin and Zee2A Limited 2008. Would you like to reprint this article? You may do so as long as you include the copyright notice and the following paragraph: Vanessa Deakin, Operations Director at Zee2A, is a Marketing Coach who works with Professional Service Executives frustrated and disappointed with their current growth rates, marketing efforts, and business profitability. Through one-on-one and group mentoring programmes she helps them to skyrocket their results and break their own best records. To learn more, sign up for her e-zine, or make an enquiry please visit our website at www.zee2a.com


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