A client just forwarded an email they’d gotten about helping with search optimization and asked me if I thought they should try it.
At first glance it seemed legit. The copy was well written and it brought up some real issues about content and search visibility. But looking more closely I saw many red flags indicating, if not fraud, at least shady business practices.
- The originating email name was not same as the person who signed the email.
- The originating email was from a gmail (or other generic, free) account, not a email address from the company’s domain name.
- Cost of the service was not mentioned, although they specifically stated “No Contract” and “No Setup Fee”. Be assured there IS a cost involved and it is most likely significant.
- The company and/or domain name was not listed in the email.
- There was no website listed to investigate the firm.
Working with someone like this would be akin to accepting an offer from a stranger on a street corner whispering “Need someone to fix your SEO?” or “I can get you top ranking on Google!”
Don’t be sucked in to the scam. There are many legitimate SEO vendors out there, and you can check to see what they have to offer by reviewing their website. They can definitely make a difference in your search ranking.
Sirius Media is happy to offer suggestions, just ask!
When faced with the high cost of advertising, printing, and postage it can be difficult to know where to put your marketing dollars. No matter how great your mailing list or brochure distribution, it can be hard to know if you actually reached your target audience. If you’re tired of the cost of print media, maybe it’s time to try an email marketing campaign.
1. How much does it cost?
Beginning an email marketing campaign does not need a large investment. Sending a broadcast to a list of emails can cost just a few cents each, making it the most affordable form of marketing available to your business. You can easily reach a large list for a hundred dollars or less..
For that small investment you get statistics on how many people read your email, how many opened the links in the email and how many sent it to their friends. You can know immediately if the campaign worked or not.
2. Why not send it from your own email account?
Many web hosts and email servers have a limit on how many emails you can send at a time, which means that sending a message to a large list can take hours. Email service providers have been known to set limits as low as 50 emails an hour. If you have 500 on your list, you will need 10 hours to send to the full list.
Sending multiple emails at a time from a non-commercial server can easily trigger spam alerts on the receiving end and even result in your domain being put on an email blackslist. Sending with an official email service vendor protects your domain email address being listed as a spammer.
3. Build your email list
You can’t just take all the emails you have in your Outlook address book and dump them into the list. By law, the contacts you use for your email newsletter must have a prior business relationship with you or have opted in to receive your email newsletter.
It is best to send an initial email to everyone you’d like to include on your list and ask them to sign up for your new newsletter. Emails must always contain an unsubcribe link or info about how to be removed from the mailing list.
4. Craft the message
Don’t give it all way. Build on your reader’s curiosity. Create a tease about the topic, then lead them to your website for more information. Once they are on your website, they can learn more about how your business can help them meet a need or solve a problem. Longwinded emails aren’t read and just end up ignored.
5. Stay out of spam traps
Most email vendors offer filters to evaluate aspects of your emails that will get your emails labeled as spam. Avoid any of these techniques to assure your emails will be deliverable.
- Avoid using ALL CAPS in the copy.
- Avoid mentioning money, drugs, weight loss or sexual organs.
- Be sure there are enough words to go with the photos.
- Avoid using the word “Free”
- Do not use scripts or try to include any active coding.
6. Link for more, lead them home
The whole point of having an email newsletter is to get people to visit your website, buy your product, give you a call, or make an appointment. So be sure to provide many links back to your website from every area of the email.
7. Offer tasty tidbits
A classic marketing technique is to provide a free sample of the product or service you provide. Use your email newsletter to provide a free sample of your expertise, whether as an enticing discount or a valuable piece of advice.
But keep it short. A paragraph or two is enough for an email newsletter with a link back to the website for more details, so they can explore and learn more details about your business.
8. Call to action!
Be direct. Tell readers what to do on your newletter, either by a call, a purchase at your bricks and mortar store or a visit your website. Be sure to include directions such as “Call now to make an appointment” “Visit the website to learn more” “Register for this workshop” or Bring this coupon in by Feb. 1″ are all great calls to action.
9. Follow up
Be consistent. Only email as frequently as you promised. Provide the content promised on the website or in the headline. Unsubscribe requests as soon as they come in. If you add someone who didn’t want to be on the list, apologize. And be sure to reply immediately to anyone who calls, stops by or emails to learn more about your business.