Email marketing is a very cost-effective way to communicate. If you use it correctly, your business will benefit. When you market via Email, you need to comply with federal regulations that affect all commercial enterprises.
The federal regulation to which you, as a business owner, must adhere is the CAN-SPAM Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act. The law was enacted in 2003.
This law was created because companies were being abusive by getting involved with unsolicited and spam-unwanted Email that was flooding people’s inboxes. The law stipulates the following:
- False or misleading header information is banned. Your Email’s “From,” “To” and routing information, including the originating Email address and domain name, must be accurate and must identify the originator of the Email
- Deceptive subject lines are prohibited. The subject line is not allowed to mislead the recipient with regard to the subject matter or contents of the message
- Your Email must offer recipients an opt-out method. You are obligated to provide a return Email address or some other Internet-based response mechanism, which will allow a recipient to request that you not send any additional messages to that Email address. You are obligated to honor those requests. You may create choices to allow the recipient to opt out of specific types of messages and you must include an option to stop any commercial messages originating from the sender
- Commercial Email needs to be identified as an advertisement and must include the sender’s legitimate physical postal address. Your message must contain conspicuous and clear notice that the message is an advertisement or solicitation and that the recipient can opt out of receiving further commercial Emails from you. It must also include your legitimate physical postal address.
You should understand that every violation of the CAN-SPAM law is subject to fines up to $11,000. Commercial Email that is deceptive or misleading is also subject to the laws that ban misleading or false advertising.
With that said, you should find a way to use Email marketing to its maximum potential. There are existing services and programs that are tailored to marketers of all sizes. For example, Constant Contact is CAN-SPAM compliant. Constant Contact is a Web-based Email marketing solution that has been specifically designed for small- and medium-sized companies.
The two most important terms that you need to understand in Email marketing are “opt in,” which is when a person gives permission to you to include his or her Email address in any Email solicitation. The second term is “opt out,” which is when the same individual chooses to remove his or her name from any Email solicitation.
Some of the reasons that you should get involved in Email marketing are to build your opt-in Email list, to analyze your Email program, to segment your Email list, and to integrate your Email marketing with other on- and offline communication methods.
Some effective ways that you can build an opt-in Email list
- Have 3×5 cards or a sign-in book near your cash register with a sign asking customers to join your Email list. You will have to enter the information manually
- If you have a website, create a customized form for people to fill out online. The data will be kept in a database. This is the best way to save a substantial amount of money because you get the customer to enter the information
- If someone buys something from your business, ask them for Email and contact information
- Create a VIP club
- If you go to a restaurant, leave a postcard on the table with your check
- On your Website, create a link that will bring the visitor to a data entry form such as Constant Contact
With regard to segmenting your Email list, you should target only those people who will be most likely to connect with your Email content. Of equal importance is that you don’t want your customers to think that you are inundating their inboxes with uninteresting solicitations. Always remember that your recipients have the right to opt out, if they choose. Make sure that you have their interests and needs in mind when you reach out to them through your Email marketing campaign.
When analyzing your Email program, remember that the program needs to be based on Return on Investment (ROI). You should choose your communication method based n how much money you earned relative to your investment. Some of the more popular communications methods are Email marketing, direct mail, newspapers, free-standing inserts, radio, direct-response television, text messaging, and search engines.
Many small- to medium-sized businesses don’t market effectively. All marketing results need to be tracked, analyzed, and stored on a database. The most efficient way to identify each response is to code the advertisement when it is being created and by requesting a source code for the response.
What you will be analyzing is the effectiveness of each program. Make sure that you keep an eye on the source code, promotion, type of advertising, advertising data, cost for the ad, and how many people were involved.
If you are diligent about doing what we have discussed in this article, you will increase the success of your business and be more effective at giving your customers exactly what they need and want.
We are pleased to provide you with the insightful comments contained herein. Please contact us at CompuKol Communications for further discussion on how we might be able to assist you and your team.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.