The Web Authority
Thursday, January 3
  E-Newsletter Best Practices
So you've been thinking that maybe you should do an d-newsletter, here are some tips to get you on your way.

1. Make sure that before you start e-mailing and for that matter before you even create your first e-newsletter, that you have updated or created a privacy policy on your website. Your privacy policy should clarify what you will do with e-mail addresses and how you will harvest them. If you will be selling your list or renting it to others, you need to spell that out and allow an opt out before you do that in order to be Can Spam Act compliant.

2. Use a professional subscription service for your list. This will allow for easy subscribe and unsubscribes and allow for users to self manage their subscription. The key to keeping and adding subscribers is to make it easy to enroll and to unsubscribe. Do not use MailMan as your subscription list. If you have ever tried to manage your own subscription through this open source application you will experience a high level of frustration . Once you have used it you will know that you should not use this for your own list. Stay user friendly!

3. Make sure to install an auto subscription box throughout your website. Let your website work for you in getting new subscribers. Personally I have found the best way to build a list is to do a white paper and then require an email address to download the white paper. I have added nearly 600 subscribers to my list this way alone.

4. When you have prospects contact you by email, make sure to collect their email addresses and manually add them to your list. Make sure that you have this covered in your privacy policy before you routinely start to do this to prevent complications.

5. Make sure you understand e-newsletters in today's world. It is important to understand that e-newsletters can still be great marketing tools in today's business environment, but the typical open rate will be between 10% to 30%. Don't expect that everyone will open your mail and be prepared for that. Make sure that this is not your only marketing endeavor. Internet service providers are making the delivery of e-newsletters more and more difficult so make sure that you are using alternatives as well. Some of those alternatives would be RSS feeds of your e-newsletter content, online e-newsletter archives accessed from your own website, and a blog that points to your e-newsletter articles or announces when one is posted. It is very important to note that if you are emailing to a large corporation or any state or federal government entity that the reality is that your subscribers will simply not get your email. It will be filtered at the IT staff level.

E-newsletters can still be great marketing tools for your business but should not be your only marketing vehicle.

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