Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Email marketing--how NOT to do it

Have you ever created an email newsletter?

Ever read one?

I thought so. Few people who read email newsletters see what's going on behind them. I was part of that group till recently.

In January, I created and distributed my first email newsletter, completely manually. It was agonizing. First of all, my ISP treated me like a spammer by throttling the number of addressees I could have in any single send (despite the fact that I pay them every month for the privilege of having email accounts and a web site--how many spammers pay for their email accounts?). Furthermore, I had to let an hour or more pass before sending the next email (thanks, Yahoo!). It took the better part of three days to get the newsletter out.

And then, like all informal email, it was very difficult to see whether anyone was reading. I could make some indirect assessments of click rates, but that was all.

Finally, more than a few recipients generously responded with, "Hey, you should use an email marketing service. It will be much easier on you, and on us."

Despite all the hassles, the first newsletter brought tremendous benefits. I reconnected with several dozen former associates, spurred a bunch of new consulting opportunities, and began the process of cleansing my contact list (by fixing or deleting email addresses that were tagged as undeliverable).

Come April, it was time to do it again.

What happened? You'll have to wait till tomorrow.

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