Email Marketing Mistakes to be Avoided

Highlighting EM mistakes

Some business owners who decide to try email marketing (EM) share the notion that email marketing done in any manner or form is conducive to their business; but this notion might well be misconceived, because there are certainly numerous mistakes a business owner can make when s/he organizes an email marketing campaign. Examples of such mistakes might include:

  • Allowing promotional materials to be tagged as spam;
  • Failure to follow-up with promotional emails;
  • Unpreparedness for increased customer interest after a given campaign;
  • Neglecting to market specifically to a target audience.

Listed above are the four most prominent among email marketing mistakes committed by some business owners; but let’s take a closer look at each of these email marketing failures individually, beginning with the dreaded spam, which is as serious a problem affecting email marketing as any other; and – because there was a law created specifically to control it – could be seen as the most serious violation of any Web marketing law, rule or practice.

The dreaded spam

Spam is a problem that has become so prevalent on the Web that almost every email service provider, Web hosting company, major blogging platform and most other Web-based businesses have created a weapon to combat it; and still, Web users are bombarded with spam originating from various global destinations that seem to be ignorant of – or otherwise impervious to – CAN-Spam Act, the law previously referred to.

Spam, by its very nature, includes a host of unsolicited emails that promote products and/or services to recipients who may or may not be interested in purchasing, and certainly did not ask to receive them. But it is at this juncture that many business owners make a critical mistake when attempting to do legitimate email marketing business; which is to say, they send emails which are likely to be construed as spam and, as such, they never reach the intended recipients or are deleted by the “spam assassin” tool without ever being read by those recipients.

However, what these business owners must understand is the fact that another way exists in which they can avoid the potential of falling into the spam category as spam; and it is not very difficult to do. This better way basically involves ensuring that the promotional emails sent by their business contain more useful content than blatant advertising; and as a result they will likely see a significant uptick in their emails being taken seriously, both by their intended recipients and the detection software installed to capture and delete spam.

Follow-up & preparedness

Another email marketing mistake often made by some businesses is failure to follow up on promotional emails. Sending out emails to interested parties can be very beneficial; but it is even more beneficial to contact the recipients by other methods, such as mail or telephone, to answer any questions they may have, and offer additional information they might require. This type of follow-up can be much more effective than simply sending an email and allowing it to fall into the abyss of an overcrowded email inbox.

Business owners may also commit the mistake of not preparing themselves for an influx of customers after an email marketing campaign has been completed. The express purpose of email marketing is to generate increased interest in products and/or services offered by the business; so it follows that the business which initiates and completes such campaigns must anticipate an increase in business, and be prepared to accommodate this increased demand for products and services.

In fact, such preparedness is critically important because potential customers who are forced to wait for products or services might just get tired of waiting and go elsewhere (competitors of that business) in search of better service; and if a particular competitor proves to be better prepared to provide them with products or services immediately, that’s where they will spend their time and money.

Target marketing

All too often business owners fail to tailor an email marketing campaign to their specific target market (or audience). This failure represents the fourth mistake on our list, because it is a problem that may result in the email marketing campaign being less effective. Business owners typically make this mistake because they fall into the trap of believing that it is more important to reach a large audience than it is to reach a target audience.

Think of it this way: Blindly sending your business email marketing materials to millions of recipients and only generating a few leads is far less effective than sending the same email marketing materials to a smaller group of, say, only a thousand recipients who all have expressed an interest in your products and services; because the smaller group will certainly generate more leads since they’ve already shown that they’re more likely to do business with you.

It is not only important to send your message to members of your target audience, but also to tailor your message to suit this particular audience. The simple rule to which an email marketing business should is this: Creating an email message which will appeal to a variety of individuals is not nearly as important as creating a message which will appeal to members of its target audience.

The autoresponder

You will need an autoresponder system with which to initiate and effectively complete the email marketing techniques suggested in this article; and which there are many on the Web to choose from, we’ve found this industry leader among the most reputable and affordable email marketing companies.

Blogging for Beginners – A Reference Guide

Originally, weblog!

The blog – originally known as a weblog – is basically an online journal with which an individual can digitally write down, or record in a number of different ways, his/her thoughts, ideas, opinions and practically anything else that individual wants people to know about; and since blogs come in various styles, formats and settings – depending on user preferences – their rapid increase in popularity is hardly a surprise. In fact, many blogging platforms offer built-in features such as hyperlinks, straight texts, pictures and other formatting tools, and blogging platforms even allow you, the user, to place videos and mp3’s on your blogs.

As you may already know, not everyone likes to write and, based on this aversion to writing, some bloggers choose to make their blogs more audio friendly by using spoken-word entries instead of writing texts. This is known as audio blogging, which often consist of the same subject matter as text blogs, except that it is spoken and not written. The same can be said about video blogs and pictoral (photo) blogs, which are often used by photographers and such other artists as may find the blogging medium conducive to their careers and other entrepreneurial pursuits.

The basic blog contains these standard features:

  • The title – This allows you, the blog owner – or blogger – to label your post.
  • The body – This is your post content, whether its written, spoken or depicted.
  • Trackback – This is tool that allows other sites to be linked back to your blog.
  • Permanent link – The method used to provide every article you write with a URL.
  • Comments – This allow readers to interact, via the “comment box,” on your blog.

Blogging: Useful for newcomers

One of the advantages of blogging is the small number of templates as well as the simplicity of those templates; because unlike other websites which are made up of numerous individual pages, a few simple templetes make it easier, more often than not, for blog users to create new pages since the blog already has fix settings that include slots for title, body of the post, category and tags.

This is especially useful for first time bloggers because it provides the platform where they can start blogging right away without having to worry about site design, content for various pages, e.g. “About Us,” “Sitemap,” “SEO,” or other such concerns; and they can chose from a number of templates that the blogging platforms provide.

Anyone who wants to start a blog can do so by becoming a member of one of the many available blogging platforms that suits his/her fancy or purpose; and once s/he becomes a member of a given platform, s/he will automatically be a part of that particular blogging community. of course, s/he can also browse through other bloggers’ pages, and link them back to his/her own blogs, in addition to making comments on other members’ blogs.

An entrepreneur’s ad space

Blogging is not just limited to personal usage, though; because there are a lot of blogs that follow specific themes such as: sports, politics, philosophy, social commentary, and an almost infinite number of other subject matters. These bloggers espouse on their specific themes; this way blogging becomes a medium in which people can share their knowledge and opinions about a variety of themes and topics.

Some bloggers even use their blogs as a place – digital as it may be – from which to advertise, like some authors that utilize personal blogs to advertise their books; while other bloggers use their blogs to shed light on current issues, events, news, trends and catastrophes. And let us not forget the education establishment which utilize blogs as a very important part of reaching students, faculty and financiers, among others. Professors use blogging to document the lessons they have discussed and taught, making it easier for students who missed classes to easily catch up with their assignments.

Entrepreneurs, mentioned briefly in the second paragraph, benefit from blogging by promoting businesses on their blogs; and with millions and millions of people logging onto the Web everyday, blogging has – no doubt – become a lucrative activity for these entrepreneurs, whether they are operating sole proprietorships, small companies, or mid-sized companies. Some bloggers who run online businesses use their blogs to promote their merchandise, while others profit through advertisement and affiliate sales.

Uniqueness. Individuality. Personality.

But by far, the most popular blog type is that which takes the form of a personal journal; because this is the kind that is often used by first-time bloggers. Individuals who want to document the daily struggle of their everyday lives, poems, rants, opinions, and other personal issues, find that blogging offers them a medium in which to express themselves.

Bloggers often communicate within themselves; and this is truly one of the appealing things about blogging that attracts so many people to it. It creates a community of people sharing their ideas, passions, and comments with each other. But blogs vary in topics, themes, and set-ups which can be found in blog directories allow first-time users who want to get an idea of what the blogging world is all about to browse through multiple blogs using these directories. This way they can get an idea of what these blogging communities are like.

Blogging is popular all over the world, because there are really no established rules in the blogosphere, although many bloggers try their best to adhere to “Best Practices.” But where self-expression and freedom of ideas are concerned, bloggers have the freedom to express themselves in any way they want. But the best thing about blogging is the fact that most blogging platforms are free; and there are numerous available on the Web to choose from, giving first time users an option of joining the specific blogging community that appeals to their interests.

Begin with a directory!

Just search any blogging directory and you will get a listing of numerous blogging platforms that are available on the Web. It’s easy to search a blogging directory, because it is organized according to category. This way you would get exactly what you are looking for. It can be said without much pushback, that blogging is really for everyone; and many users – seasoned bloggers and newcomers alike – find that it is fun, simple and easy to do!

Increasing Business Exposure Via the Blog

Blog: Practical for business!

The business blog has become a practical Web marketing tool that can save its owner thousands of dollars, while providing excellent and unique business opportunities with just a simple click of the mouse. Blogs have come to be known as user-friendly, customized and flexible media for disseminating useful information and posting effective propmotions of the owner’s products, services and/or brand cognizance.

Companies that engage in business blogging are considered to have a definite edge over their competitors, although that edge is not always immediately evident; but some of those advantages that can be recognized and sufficiently described are evidenced below.

Word-of-Mouth is the first such advantage and was identified in a survey conducted in the early years of blogging. It was determined at the time that 14 million blogs were in existence and 80,000 more were being added each day; but perhaps most stunning revelation during those years, was the finding which indicated that about 30 percent of the 50 million Web users at that time were blog readers.

Essential to the business blog

Of course the Web-use growth rate has exploded since those early days, but can you imagine how much benefit your company would have derived if your products and services were advertised through blogs even back then? And today, as was true then, information spreads so quickly via the Web that the advantages are even more pronounced, especially if an impressive write-up accompanies a particular product or service. Word-of-Mouth, if used strategically smart can ensure that your blogs will be shared with hundreds of potential customers.

Awareness and loyalty is another of those advantages of business blogging, but is dependent on open communication with the business’ customers, if that business expects to create trust and loyalty among them. In other words, being there (available) to provide prompt and satisfactory responses to customers’ questions and comments make them all the more willing to sample the business’ products and services.

Feedback is of course, a valuable resource of any business, and feedback from the readers of a business blog might be even more of an asset to that business because blogs have been proven to be good for product research and reviews in that regard. If you own a business, it would be easier to improve on your products by observing your customers’ thinking and behavioral patterns via your business blog; and you would also be able to take immediate action to allay your customers’ concerns.

The daily trade show effect

The community halo-effect, although not as distinctly identifiable as feedback, is nontheless a desired result of the business blogger; because, as has been said on more than one occasion, bloggers are reasonable, friendly and helpful people who are more than willing to create a blogosphere of comments regarding any product they like, and if the product is yours, you get that benefit. The only thing you have to do is embrace ongoing events and take an active part in the culture which should lead to product being considered in their next stop to the supermarket.

For better marketing results, actively promote your business blogs by submitting them to blog search sites and directories; but be mindful to paste your blog URL in with the title and description of your blogs; and be sure that your blogs contain exclusive information with value and are kept updated so as to keep readers visiting your site and reading your blog; and before moving on to the next site, clicking again for updates.

A business blog is like a setup booth set up daily in the biggest trade show on earth with marketing possibilities just around the corner waiting to pump up sales volume. Add to that the Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds, which are as important as anything else mentioned already; and when used in conjunction with your blogs, RSS feeds will likely improve your business bottom line. Use effective keyword phrases to generate high ranking status in the search engine traffic, which will also help to improve the chances of people finding your website leading to your blog and increasing traffic which means more potential sales.

Setting up the blogging project

For this aspect of business blogging to be successful, you can use RSS for news update feeds, which can be read through the RSS reader application. This is a very useful tool for business blogs as well as internet marketing blos. But if you are already convinced of the potential of a business blog for marketing and targeting sales increases, your company’s readiness for blogging should be complete. However, you must be in tuned with your company’s business objectives and determine if blogging will really help you achieve them.

Consider the following when setting up your business blogging project:

1. Many blogs are dedicated to teaching people the do’s and don’ts of blogging, so them! Include in your reading materials blogs that are consumer-based also to get an idea.

2. Setup several test blogs right away.

If your initial effort with blogs worked well, you can start to set up your blogging enterprise along the lines of these modest suggestions:

Blogging setup considerations

1. Study blog design. Blog hosting services provide pre-designed templates. But if you opt for paid blog service, you can ask your graphic designer to create a design and layout your blog site to match the company’s identity and needs.

2. Choose a topic. Its good to have a line-up of topics you want for your blogs, but be sure they are relevant to your business objectives. This would be a test of your flexibility and open-mindedness, since results could go contrary to those objectives.

3. Remember the following safety measures in blogging:

  • legal issues are sometimes involved in blogging; it is safer to include disclaimers and limitations of liabilities;
  • corporate communication and legal department are responsible in educating the senior management on how blogs might affect business;
  • create blogging policies; set limits on who gets to blog and what information are allowed to be made public;
  • avoid outright marketing blog or you will shy away your readers;
  • make content updated, relevant and fresh;
  • reinforce the company’s core values; and,
  • encourage employees to use it.

4. Start blogging and complete 20 posts before going to marketing.

5. Regularly monitor the coming ins and outs of readers and get updates. Then, measure your results.

6. Adjust if needed. You can always play with your designs in the blog site as long as it remains to match the company’s identity.

7. Strive to be consistent with your topic all the time.

8. Try to have unrelated topics with general and broad appeal.

9. Schedule updates regularly. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday would be best to update blogs.

Once you have done all these things, you can now ultimately enjoy the benefits of business blogging.