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How can I promote my business through email without spamming people?

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Many business owners want to promote their business through email without sending people spam. You can only do this if you follow some simple rules and respect people's desires. Spam is sending people unwanted email. You can send people email to see if they are interested, but if they are not, you either stop or you are sending spam.

Never use fraudulent email accounts to send your promotions. Spammers account and servers that can't be traced for a couple of reasons. You want to be legitimate and up front about who you are and where your email is originating from. It is OK to have a specific separate email account to send your promotions from, but you want to have your domain name updated with your mailing address, phone number, and working email address. The `From' line in your email must not be misleading or false.

The `Subject' line should also be up front and honest. Don't have something false like `Hi, sorry I haven't called back'. This does not tell the receiver what the email is about and attempts to make them think you are an acquaintance of theirs instead of a business. This tactic may get more emails opened, but you will not impress you potential customers with a lack of integrity.

Provide your customers with an opt out option. If you are sending a newsletter or recurring email, give them an option to stop the emails even if they signed up voluntarily for the email. They may have changed their goals and no longer desire the subscription. It can be as simple as "To unsubscribe from all future email communications, please click Reply and write `Remove' in the body of the email." However, some spammers use this method to see if they have found a valid email address and the spam becomes even worse.

Make sure you respect those people who do not want your email. By law you must remove them in ten days. Make sure you have their name removed from the list as soon as possible.

Send out your postal address with each email. This shows your potential customers that you are a legitimate business. You may not want to publish your home address if you work from home, but you can get a post office box to work here though a physical address is better.

Use legitimate list sources. Do not harvest email or use randomly generated email addresses. You will want to use only lists that you have cultivated through your other advertising. Depending on your business, there are multiple ways to create this list. Be creative, but avoid purchasing a list that may have no interest in your business. That list isn't as effective and it also makes you appear more like spam because you are fishing.

If you are sending unsolicited email, then you need to clearly identify your message as a solicitation. This shows that you are upfront and honest and may have a better effect on your readers than trying to be anonymous. You may also want to identify how you came by their name so they know why you are soliciting them.

Avoid being put on the `blacklist'. The blacklist is a list of ISPs that have been known to send out spam. Companies will report ISPs and then the lists for spam blockers will be updated. You will then find your emails being returned with messages containing words like `abuse' and `spam blocker.' If this happens, you were either reported or somebody could have hijacked your machine and sent email from your computer that you didn't even know about. Contact your ISP provider to get yourself removed.
In summary, email is one of the most inexpensive ways to promote your business. Not only is it cheap, but when done respectfully, legally, and with consideration to your audience, it will help you build your image, as well as a customer base that looks forward to finding out about your business.

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Posted by DF
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