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 Work at Home Moms > Marketing Your Business Through Email > Lesson 6: The Real Truth About Direct Email and Email Lists

Marketing Your Business Through Email: Lesson 6: The Real Truth About Direct Email and Email Lists

If you’re an Internet-based Mom who is serious about using email marketing, you’ve probably investigated different methods of finding and obtaining email lists. We discussed increasing your opt-in list in lesson two, but sometimes you may want to supplement it. You may be considering either renting an email list, or buying one.

While this can be a method of augmenting your email list, it needs to be used cautiously. Basically, there are “bad lists”, and then there are “not so bad lists”; you want to be the recipient of the second kind when you spend your hard-earned money to gain a potential client list, and to avoid the numerous scams out there.

While most email lists will proclaim that they are “targeted, quality leads” and are all “opt-in emails” this may not necessarily be true. Investigate the company you are considering renting or buying from. Does it have a good reputation online? References that can be checked? How long have they been in business? If it’s only been around for a week, you may want to reconsider buying from them, no matter how cheap the list rental price.

Normally renting a (good) email list costs roughly 25 cents per address or more. For this price, you are getting email addresses of people who have indicated that they are interested in hearing about certain topics. You tell the rental/subscription company your keywords or business terms, and they will help you find a list that includes these types of customers. They will then in most cases take care of the mailings for you, as well as the administration and backend of list maintenance (updating unsubscribes, deleting invalid addresses, and adding new members, etc.)

But be aware that even these lists may be of dubious quality. For instance, these people may be agreeing to receive emails in return for receiving coupons, discounts, or a free prize. The chances that they are REALLY interested in reading your emails is questionable. And this is the “better” lists!

Even if the company you rent from has true opt-in lists, there’s another big problem: they have probably rented these same email addresses out over and over again. You could be person number 538 trying to reach an already jaded audience, since email rental companies never retire their email addresses. Instead, they keep renting them and renting them and renting them…(you get the picture).

You Get What You Pay For: Beware Unethical Companies

Unethical list companies harvest their email lists by looking at the cookies on web sites, or buying and reselling lists from sites that automatically download email addresses each time a person visits their site (without their knowledge). Or they buy them from people who obtain email addresses, and turn around and sell them to others for money. They then state in their ads that they have “highly targeted lists” that are “completely legal.” These ads are completely fraudulent, and can get the person buying or renting them into big trouble, who is attracted by the fact that they are cheap.

The problem with renting or buying lists from unethical companies is this: when you send out your emails, the cry of “Spam” will be raised, and your ISP could ban you from their service. In addition, in several states, Spam is illegal, and you could face fines for sending out unsolicited emails. In addition, Spam is perceived very negatively by most online consumers, and your Internet-based mom web site rating will drop precipitously in their minds. Wouldn’t it be better to send your emails to people that want to receive them instead, and create a positive impression with your high level of professional ethics?

Avoid Buying “email list” CDs

They’re everywhere online: promotional ads promising to deliver you thousands of opt-in email lists for the low price of only $39.95. Most of the email addresses on CD’s like this are bogus and are created by computer programs. None of the addresses are opt-in, and you will be accused of Spamming the few legitimate addresses on these CD’s.

PPS (Co-registration) Services

Pay per subscriber (co-registration) services send new clients your way each time they hit the “subscribe” button to receive a free newsletter or ezine in return for receiving software or another freebie. The problem is that all too often, when a person signs up for the free service, they don’t realize that they are also signing up automatically for a ton of other options as well, including newsletters and announcements, unless they uncheck the tiny box at the bottom of the form. You want to receive a true opt-in list, which means the person had to actively check the subscription box themselves.

The best of all is to get double opt-in subscribers, who receive a confirmation email letting them know that they are subscribed to your ezine or newsletter. But buying targeted lists of this type of customer is more expensive, and can break most budgets if you want a decent-sized list.

Email List Options

There are email list management services that you can subscribe to, that specialize in making the care and maintenance of your email lists much easier (for a fee). They can personalize your emails for you, offer subscribe and unsubscribe function, and take care of managing the technical aspects of sending out emails, newsletters, and other promotional items to your clients. These are an excellent option for most, for reasons that will be discussed below.

Do It Yourself at Your Own Risk

You may be a brave Internet-based Mom who decides that you want to try and “do it yourself” by buying and learning to use email list manager software. This has one main advantage: instead of the ongoing fees that you would pay to a list management server or service, you only pay for the software one time. The downside? You will need to take the time and effort to learn to use it correctly, especially if you want to use the advanced features (which is highly recommended).

You will want software that includes “subscribe” and “unsubscribe” functions, that can personalize emails, and that can create mail merges.

Most email marketing is created using the format for an “announcement list.” This means that only the list owner can send message to your list; others can’t email back replies that are seen by others as would occur with a regular discussion list. You decide what and how often you will communicate, put the messages in, and your list software will automatically send the messages out on the predetermined dates.

If you choose to “do it yourself, be aware that there are perils involved. Number one is the large amount of data transfer that will occur if your list is of any significant size. Basically, your emails will be running through your ISP’s server, using up space on its mail server. They tend to not like this (unless they are a bulk-mail friendly ISP), and most ISPs will terminate the accounts of people who try to do this. But if you buy some of the better (as in “expensive”) bulk mail software, it can “act as its own server” and prevent this from happening.

Some people try to use the cheap, budget quality mail server software, and discover that it works like any other mail client. They would do just as well to use the Outlook Express that came with Windows. The emails are still being processed through their ISP, which recognizes a bulk mailing and will block email transmissions once their threshold is crossed: whether 50 emails, 100, or 150 from one address. The more expensive software creates its own “internal mail server” on your computer, and your ISP only sees that data is being transferred, without triggering the email server threshold. This alone makes the software well worth the investment.

Avoid this unlike you like paying large fines

Never, ever buy bulk mail software that “hijacks” the use of email servers on other ISPs. This is completely illegal, and can result in criminal prosecution, in addition to having your mail service shut down. And never, ever forge headers on your emails (putting fictitious server names on your emails, making it look as if your emails originated from a different address and server than yours). This practice opens you up to criminal prosecution suits as well. Instead, do it the right way, and use good server software that creates its own “internal server” on your computer, or get an account with a bulk-mail friendly ISP service.

Email Discussion Lists: a Powerful Marketing Tool

If you like the idea of true interactivity, you can also use your email management software to set up a discussion list for your site. Members can log in, chat, and ask questions. This has been used as an excellent marketing tool by corporations that include Apple Computers and some of the major marketing gurus online. Doing your own “market research” is easy, if you have an interactive mail list. Just open up your mailbox, and read what your clients and list members are saying, and you will have a good idea of what they are looking for, or even ideas for new innovations.

This was lesson two in our series, “Email Marketing Techniques.” Be sure to look for lesson three, in which we discuss “Email Marketing Strategies That Work”. 
 

Email Marketing Tutorial Contents:

1 Basic Rules of Email Marketing

2 Building Your Email Mailing List

3 Email Marketing Strategies That Work

4 How To Write Irresistible Emails

5 Avoiding SPAM Traps: Trigger Words That Filter Emails

6 The Real Truth About Direct Email and Email Lists

7 Creating Compelling Subject Lines (That Will Ensure Your Emails Get Opened)

_________________

These lessons have been brought to you by Sheri Waldrop, the owner of  Pro-Scribe Writing Service, specialists in creating online marketing communications. If you need information and assistance with your online growth, we can help.  You can find out more information by emailing us at info@pro-scribe-writing.com

 

 

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