By Michele Swetesich-Leon

I was talking with someone, who at the time was a prospective client.  The focus of our conversation turned to email marketing, which I quickly learned they had some misconceptions about.

They were under the assumption that email marketing was only for entities that have large contact lists and send bulk newsletters.  At that moment the clouds parted and rays of sunshine beamed down on me.  It became clear to me that this is what most people probably believe.  I proceeded to enlighten this person by sharing the many ways I use email marketing.

I explained how I use email marketing for sending thank you notes, business letters, birthday wishes, surveys, event initiations, holiday greetings, virtual introductions for business referrals and, yes, newsletters.  I also clarified that the communication may be to one person or thousands of people. Email marketing is a platform for sending targeted communications to your personal and private audience.  Yes, that’s a tweetable!  An audience of people who have expressed an interest in you and what you have to offer.

It’s not about the numbers, it’s about relationship nurturing.  Email marketing is about providing information of value and interest to your personal and private audience.  It’s the continued nurturing of relationships so you are top of mind when they or someone they know needs your product or service. By the way, when I say “information of value” don’t equate that to selling.  I’m a firm believer in the 80/20 rule where 20% or less of your communications relates to selling your product or service.  Not sure what type of information might be of interest or value to your audience?  Here are some ideas:

  • Information about products/services that compliment yours
  • New Products/Services
  • ‘How To’ information
  • Company Milestones/Events /Awards/Recognition
  • Product Recalls
  • ‘Media News’ relating to your product or service
  • Exclusive Offers
  • Tutorials / Tips
  • ‘Reminders’ – maintenance, support, appointment, etc…

By now it should be clear that email marketing is not just about newsletters, but about sending targeted communications to your audience.  You don’t need to use an Email Service Provider (ESP), though I highly recommend you do because of the added benefits.  Benefits such as knowing the status of your communications like if and when they were opened, knowing why they may have been undelivered and being able to schedule your communications.  ESP’s also incorporate CAN-SPAM Act requirements in their programs. The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that sets the rules for all business email, individual and bulk. Here is a quick overview of the guidelines.

CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 – Federal anti-spam legislation passed in 2003 that requires the following in each email:

  •  a legitimate header
  •  a valid “From” address
  •  a straightforward “Subject” line
  •  an unsubscribe/opt-out link and/or instructions
  •  a physical address.

It also requires that all unsubscribes are processed within ten days of receipt.

For more information on CAN-SPAM Act visit the Federal Trade Commission website.