This is a guest post by Reuben Dickison.
It is a Catch-22. Polls consistently find that people choose email as their preferred method of being contacted and updated. The same polls find that the highest source of irritation to online consumers is spam. This brings up the obvious question of –
What is the difference between Email and Spam?
Much like beauty – it is in the eye of the beholder. If it is of interest to the person, even if it is pure direct advertising, it is a welcome email. If the person receiving the email is not interested, it does not matter what the message is – they will consider it spam. This is the biggest factor in deciding how to use email to increase traffic to your blog or website.
When implementing email marketing campaigns more is not better. If you have something genuinely useful to say and it is timely it will probably be well received. It is a reasonable presumption that if a person visited your site, registered, and provided an email address then they have some interest in your site or products. This does not mean they all want a daily update on your site.
The purpose of your email updates or newsletter is very simple but often overlooked. It should be to drive traffic back to your website. I subscribe to one blog that I follow quite closely. I get a newsletter once a week (which is too often for most in my opinion). It contains the complete article of new posts. While I find it interesting it does in fact mean I have not actually visited the website in months as I have no need to. This is drastically reducing the value of any advertising they use to support the blog.
To run an effective email system there are some basic steps.
- You need to have email addresses. To collect email addresses you must actively solicit them. A call to action to register and to subscribe to newsletters must be highly visible.
- The emails or newsletters sent out must be for the purpose of directing traffic to the website. Highlight the most popular posts and pages in the email with a link to go to the complete post. Use your web analytics to determine the most popular.
- The more tailored the message the more effective it will be. If the reader can choose categories they are interested in then their emails should focus on those categories.
- It should not look like a cloned email every time. Aside from your logo, change up the look and format frequently to encourage them to actual read it as opposed to opening then immediately moving to trash or spam as “the same as always”.
There are numerous free plugins to use to set up email and newsletter campaigns for either specific or ongoing use. The better ones require more set-up and include an email verification (click here to confirm subscription type email) system.
If you want to grow your website or business through the use of purchased or shared email lists then always use an alternative email account to do the mass unsolicited mailings. This will prevent your primary site email from being tagged as a spammer account by the major email servers.
Hiring professional services sometimes makes sense, particularly if there is an e-commerce portion to your website. Whether it is to simply purchase a list or to conduct a full marketing campaign check to make sure that you have access to the account the emails get sent from. If you purchase 5000 emails in a list and 2000 of them are bounced as undeliverable you need to know that and be able get refunded or new to replace them.
Reuben Dickison is semi-retired freelance writer and blogger currently living in the United States. He is writing for email marketing services from emailergo.com. He holds degrees in Marketing and Public Administration with past jobs including consumer financial management, general manager of a multi-million dollar retail business, and private business management training and consulting.