Email was one of the first Internet technologies to hit the mainstream. It is rare to find somebody these days that doesn’t have an email address. Email is fast, easy, and it helps people communicate.

Despite the advent of “social media” such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace, email is still very much with us. How about you? how much time do you spend reading/writing/deleting email each day compared to your time on a social media site?

One of the major advantages of email is that it “reaches out” to the person on the other end. With a website (or social media account) people generally have to actively go looking. But then they forget or get busy on other things. With email they don’t have to do anything more than open their email program and see what is in their inbox.

Of course, spam became the fly in the ointment. It overloads your inbox. Some of it is disgusting, all of it is rude: spam makes people not want to read their email. And as a defense against spam email software companies have implemented filters to try to stem the tide.

So what is a legitimate business supposed to do?

The best advice we can give is: don’t stop! Email is still one of the most effective ways to reach your customers and prospective customers. It is fast, inexpensive, and when done right it will make your company more memorable (in a good way).

Here are our recommendations on how to stay in touch with an email marketing approach:

  1. Go to the experts: Use one of the many email marketing companies that do this as a business – email is actually a very technical subject and when  you want to do broadcast email as a marketing effort then you need the experts to help you get your email looking good and actually delivered past all of the spam filters. Here are some of the top players in this arena:
  2. Get permission: If you have permission to email somebody then it is not spam (Unsolicited Commercial Email). It’s really that simple – if somebody has been a customer of yours in the past then they probably won’t mind hearing from you with an appropriate email. Any professional email service will also put an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the emails you send out so the recipient can “opt out” at any time. And make it one of your marketing activities to ask people to subscribe to your email list.
  3. Make it relevant and useful: It’s about them, not you. Make your email interesting and something the recipient can use. Helpful tips, ways to use your product or service, ideas on how to improve their life or business will be appreciated. Special offers are often good news, but heavy sales pitches may not.
  4. Rinse and repeat: Email marketing isn’t something you do whenever you remember to do it. Make a schedule and keep communicating. If you follow the rules above you’ll be emailing people who want to hear from you  and will trust you to send them something that will help them.

Even though email is an “old” technology now, it is just as relevant as another oldie-but-goodie, the telephone. Use email marketing correctly to keep yourself in front of your customers and you’ll both win.

(Photo courtesy of Dominic)