I own a small business and we'd like to start marketing via email, sending coupons, advertising sales and specials,...
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etc. With all the things in the press about spam lately, we want to be very careful to avoid this. Where can I get the most up-to-date guidelines on this? Any advice would be appreciated. E-mail marketing, or the practice by which a company uses outbound e-mail to inform consumers of its message, is an important component of e-marketing. Used properly, e-mail provides a real-time data collection entry point and communication tool between the marketer and the customer. Research shows that response rates on e-mail campaigns can outshine traditional direct mail and online advertisements - 15 percent or higher for well-crafted, permission-based e-mail, compared to below one percent for banner ads. Used improperly, e-mail is nothing more than spam, alienating all those who receive it. Marketers must, as a baseline, have a good idea that the content will appeal to the recipients and must be sure that the recipients can opt out of receiving e-mails that don't appeal to them. Marketers are still often missing the basics of building on relationships by sending unsolicited mass e-mail. With a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy in place, marketers can use information from a variety of sources to add context and personalization to the message to make it more relevant (and therefore more appealing) to the targeted audience. By 2003, the e-mail volume is expected to grow to 36 billion e-mails sent per day worldwide, more than triple the nearly 11 billion e-mails sent per day worldwide in 2001. As a result, people are annoyed not only with spam (basically, e-mail sent without permission), but even with permission-based e-mail - there is just too much. E-mail for marketing purposes must become more customer-centric and be carefully managed if enterprises want customers to respond.
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