If you have a previous business relationship with a customer — for instance, if you’ve been sending them direct mail — then it’s legal to start sending them e-mail. However, just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Do you know for sure that everyone on your direct mail list wants to receive commercial e-mail? Are you sure that the e-mail address you have on file is their preferred, up to date address? If you offend a customer and cause them to unsubscribe or mark you as spam, you will have a very hard time winning back their approval.
Segment your list of direct mail customers from your regular e-mail list and send them a trigger-based e-mail campaign that announces your shift away from paper and onto e-mail marketing.
Emphasize how e-mail is better for your customers: it’s greener and cheaper, which means lower prices. It’s also instant, so you are more responsive to your customers’ needs. Offer plenty of opportunities for your direct mail customers to opt in to receive e-mail by replying to the e-mail or going to a webform on your social media pages and website.
Using a personal e-mail account for your e-mail campaign
Personal mail boxes are not designed for a bulk e-mail campaign. The CAN SPAM Act is very prohibitive about mass e-mail from individual accounts, and e-mail providers (i.e. Gmail, your work email account) are reactive to prevent the billion-dollar, industry-dragging problem of spam. If you are marked as a spammer, your ISP or e-mail provider can lock your IP from sending any e-mail at all.
An e-mail service provider (ESP) is an online company that helps you manage your e-mail campaign. If you have a small list, your ESP may charge you as little as $10 a month — some even offer free plans for very small lists. You shouldn’t ever need to sign more than a month-to-month agreement, so you can always upgrade or cancel.
An ESP is more than a big email box: an effective ESP like Mission Suite offers a host of business-ready tools to help you manage your entire online ad campaign. You can:
- Save time by automating e-mail and social media posts
- Track open rates and click-throughs (so you know if anyone is reading your e-mails and how effective they are at making money)
- Build profiles of your users
- Use and customize professional e-mail templates
- Automate sales and use business financial tools
- And lots of other advanced tools to help run your business.
Skipping the testing phase.
Don’t assume your e-mail renders correctly for all of your readers just because it looks good in your ESP’s preview window. Older computers, different operating systems, mobile devices, and virus blockers may cause your e-mail to load differently than you expected.
Send your e-mail to your friends and co-workers. Ask them to open it on as many different brands of mobile devices as possible. Open it on an Apple and PC, in different browsers in different e-mail providers. If this seems like a lot of work, there are Internet tools that mimic different devices that can do these tests for you. Also, picking a default template and sticking with it will cut down on the number of tests you have to run.