How do you keep in touch with your clients, prospects and contacts? Do you use e-mail? While regular e-mail is a good tool there are several areas for concern.
First there’s the issue of e-mail limitations. Most e-mail services have limits on the number of e-mails you can send at one time or in a period of time. Exceed these limits and your account, and perhaps your domain can be labeled as a spammer. While it is possible to get this designation changed, it is a lot of work. In the meantime, important business e-mails may not get through to customers as their providers will regard your account as a spammer and block your communication. While you could get a separate account specifically for the bulk e-mails you will still have numeric limitations and the inconvenience of changing accounts when it becomes necessary.
Another limitation of e-mail is formatting. While you can do some formatting or you can format in word or another program and then attach the document to the e-mail, basic e-mail is not designed for newsletters and attachments may be difficult for some contacts to work with depending on the format and where they are viewing the e-mail. Remember more and more people are viewing information on smartphones and tablets where they might not have compatible viewers. Additionally, if it is more work, they might not look at the attachments, completely missing the value of the communication.
The biggest issue with using e-mail is compliance with the “Can Spam Act”. At its most basic this law requires that you have some form of permission for communicating with the person and you provide an opt-out mechanism. While you can offer contacts the option to opt-out with basic e-mail the burden of tracking this is on you. If someone opts out and you forget to remove them you are breaking the law.
So what should you do? Newsletters and other communications can be a value to your clients and a good marketing tool. The answer is to use a service like Constant Contact. While there are other tools that do the same things, I will focus on Constant Contact as it is the service with which I am most familiar.
Constant Contact allows you to keep lists of those with whom you have permission to keep in touch. The lists can have fields for selecting and you can have multiple lists. When you send communication out via Constant Contact there is an opt-out link included. When someone opts-out, it is tracked and they are automatically marked in all lists. Even if you add the person back in by accident they will not get communications, you have to pro-actively go in an indicate that they have chosen to opt-in again.
Constant Contact has tools to help you format your newsletter or other communications. Once you format a newsletter with headers and various sections, you can re-use it as the basis for each succeeding communication. Constant Contact will also track how many people opened the communication as well as bounced e-mail addresses, opt-outs and other useful statistics. All this can be reported to you automatically or by running reports. With Constant Contact and similar programs you also don’t have to worry about sending out too many e-mails at one time or be labeled a spammer. Your contacts know the communication came from you but your domain and e-mail are protected.
In addition to legal compliant e-mail communications Constant Contact offers tools for creating events, sending out invitations and tracking responses as well as creating surveys and, most recently, social marketing campaigns. The people who work for Constant Contact also provide help in formatting your newsletters, invitations, etc. at no additional charge and the website offers lots of useful information.
By using a tool like Constant Contact you can communicate effectively with your contacts, track results and not risk breaking the law.
If you are interested in learning more about Constant Contact please contact Caren at 203-254-7736 or click here to setup a trial account.