Introduction | 2.Search Engines | 3.Getting Ranked | Writing Effective Press Releases | Branding | Using Bulk Email | More to come

Promoting Your Website
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5. Using Bulk Email
When first introduced to the benefits of bulk email, most marketing people begin drooling uncontrollably and muttering "gimme, gimme, gimme."

And why shouldn't they?

After all, the wonders of the Net make it possible to deliver your message to millions of email users at next to no cost and in a fraction the time it would take just to print that many letters.

What's more, you can buy all the software and targeted mailing lists you need for just a few hundred dollars.

Sounds great eh?

In fact, it almost sounds too good to be true -- and there's a very good reason for that: It IS too good to be true.

Spam? What's Spam?
I'm sure you've noticed that your own email contains a growing number of unsolicited offers for a wide range of products. Whether you want your credit history repaired, need to make money working from home, or want some part of your anatomy reduced/enlarged by a miracle wonder-cream, someone will be emailing you to pitch their product.

These unsolicited, untargeted and unwanted emails are known as spam and they're a real problem that's getting bigger every day.

Spam is defined as any unsolicited email sent out in bulk and usually (but not always) promoting the sale of some product or service.

But You're No Spammer Right?
At this stage, most marketing people are busy thinking to themselves "we wouldn't be spamming if we used bulk email -- because our products/services are solid and reliable, as is our company."

BZZZT ... wrong answer!

It doesn't matter what the product or service is, or who's trying to sell it -- if you send out unsolicited commercial email then you're a spammer. If Mother Theresa herself had used email to send out blessings by bulk unsolicited email -- she'd have been branded a spammer!

What Spamming Says About You
Let's assume for a moment that, despite the advice given here, you decide to do a bulk emailing to promote your company or its products/services. What message will you really be delivering?

  • First of all you'll be telling the recipients of this email that you're a spammer. They know that spammers and the companies they represent are not nice, reliable or ethical people to do business with.

  • Spammers regularly send pornographic emails to millions of addresses, many of which belong to children as young as seven or eight years of age. You really want to associate yourself with this type of practice?

  • Spammers regularly sell products that are nothing but a scam. The medical profession unanimously agrees that there are no creams that will enlarge your breasts or make your male-member larger. Do you really want your products associated with scams like this?

  • Virtually all ISPs have very clear statements in their terms and conditions of supply that prohibit customers from sending bulk unsolicited email. If you go ahead and do it anyway then you're telling the recipients that you're either too stupid to read the contracts you sign or that you're so unethical that you're prepared to break a contract in the quest for commercial gain.

  • By sending spam, you're telling prospective customers that the prospect of earning their custom doesn't even warrant a stamp or a phone call.
So, if you're happy to be labeled a cheapskate, unethical, immoral fool then maybe you won't care about sending spam.

However, if you decide to go ahead anyway, you may soon find yourself regretting that decision for the following reasons:

    Your ISP will almost certainly receive complaints from some of those who receive your spam. They may well choose to invoke their right to terminate your email, hosting or whatever other services are being provided.

  • Some of the more militant recipients of your spam will contact you directly to voice their anger. Don't be surprised if you receive death threats, find your servers hacked or even get yourself "blacklisted" as a result.

  • Having demonstrated your acceptance of spam as a marketing method, you may well find that you also start receiving a lot more than you ever did before -- and that becomes a along-term cost-burden.
So, when you look at bulk emailing stop and think for a moment before you rush out and make a big mistake. Here are some basic caveats:
  • Don't believe claims that any email list you buy is targeted -- it won't be. Those selling these lists lie through their teeth in order to make a sale.

  • Don't believe claims that a certain program will make it impossible for your spam to be tracked back to your ISP. There is always a way to track spam back to the sender -- otherwise how else could prospective clients get in touch to place their orders?

  • Don't believe claims that by putting an "opt-out" option at the bottom of your spam it's suddenly legitimate and ethical -- it's not! Even pornographic spam often has an "opt-out" facility -- that doesn't stop it from being spam.
So Email's Out Eh?
No, you can use email as a very effective marketing tool -- but you must only send email to those people who have explicitly given you permission to do so.

Simply putting a form on your website that invites people to submit their email address and then automatically subscribing them to your list is not enough though.

What you really need is an extra step which confirms that the owner of a submitted address really does wish to subscribe. This is usually achieved by sending an email to all submitted addresses asking the recipient to confirm by replying. How else will you know if the address really was submitted by John Smith and not by someone who simply wants to annoy him by having his mailbox filled with spam?

In Summary
The best way to market a product or service online is to make sure that you:

  • are offering the best possible value for money
  • provide the very best levels of service and support
  • have a good, easy to use, information-rich website
  • promote that website in other media such as print/broadcast
  • employ some ethical methods of getting a good search engine ranking
  • consider an affiliate scheme such as that used by Amazon, et al
  • set up a genuine confirmed-opt-in mailing list
  • follow the other suggestions made on this website
By following these simple suggestions you can maximise your use of the Net while avoiding the stigma, costs and disgrace of being labeled a spammer.


Introduction | 2.Search Engines | 3.Getting Ranked | Writing Effective Press Releases | Branding | Using Bulk Email | More to come