Sunday, February 27, 2005

Are your newsletters reaching anyone?

Do you send out newsletters or eZines to your customers and contacts? If not you should. But at the same time to you need to be aware that there are significant growing problems with using newsletters. It’s all down to SPAM, the scourge of modern day business. There are now laws in most countries making the sending or unsolicited electronic mail illegal and it is absolutely essential that you make sure that everyone on your email list has "opted in" to it and that you honour any requests for removal immediately. If you don’t you will most likely find yourself at the very least on an email black list which means that email from your address will be filtered without every reaching its destination. Of course you also may find yourself facing a hefty fine.

Unfortunately despite the legislation and most businesses now mailing only to op in lists, Spam is still a major problem. Because of the global nature of the internet, if any country fails to implement and enforce Anti Spam legislation, the world’s serial spammers simply start trading from there. As a result most internet service providers (ISPs) have installed software to filter out the spam and in addition you may be using a software product or service yourself to clean your mail. And here lies the problem.

Anti Spam software looks for features, words formatting, etc., common to most unsolicited mail, but in the process is lets some spam through but filters out some important mail that you wanted to keep. I have lost count of the number of requests for quotations I have rescued, and almost all of the newsletters I subscribe to have now had to be added to my "White List". All anti spam software and services offer a feature to "Black List" or "White List" email addresses. Each has its own procedure but essentially you list the portion of the email address after the @ symbol, and specify that email from that address either "is Spam", your Black List, of "is not Spam", your White List. It is very important that you do this or you will be losing important email.

It is also increasingly important if you are sending out email newsletters, or even standard sales letters and responses, that you check the content to make sure that the email is not likely to be filtered out. There are a number of free and commercial services available to help you check your content – there is a free service you can use at and I will be listing others on my Speaking and Marketing Tips Web site as I test them out. If you use a list manager for managing you email newsletter you may find that they have a service for customers.

More and more web sites are providing information about white listing and there are also a few products around to help deliver the newsletter to the desktop without using the email system. Blogs like this are one particular popular option, but there is still a long way to go before everyone is able to understand this new technology and easily set up a means of reading and accessing them. You will find a few ideas in my new eBook How to Get Customers queuing up to Buy, and you can download a free copy from my Speaking and Marketing Tips Web site.

If your have registered for my newsletter please also add to your White List.

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