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E-mail marketing resolutions for 2005

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By Kate Maddox

BtoB’s E-mail Marketer Insight asked e-mail experts to come up with dos and don’ts for e-mail marketers as they make their marketing resolutions for 2005.

Marcel Nienhuis, market analyst at research firm the Radicati Group, had the following list of do’s:

  1. Start thinking about using RSS (really simple syndication) to provide relevant content to users.
  2. Take it easy on the images. "A lot of e-mails can overwhelm the user with images," Nienhuis said.
  3. Keep messages simple and clean. "Customers are used to Google’s format and are looking for that in different applications," he said.
  4. Use sender ID and/or domain keys for authentication.
  5. Tap into instant messaging. "Provide an IM contact at the bottom of an e-mail, so people can talk to someone instantly about a product or service," Nienhuis said.
  6. Send e-mail from a person, not a generic company address. "It has a more human feel to it that way," he said.
  7. Make sure to have an opt-in—and a confirmation—policy.
  8. Use software that sends messages in smaller batches. "If you send out huge quantities of e-mail in one batch, filtering software might identify the mailing as bulk e-mail," Nienhuis said.
  9. Offer HTML options for e-mail.
  10. Customize the e-mail to the person, not just to "user."

Nienhuis had just one don’t on his list: "Don’t send more than one e-mail a week. You will overwhelm the user," he said.

Michael Della Penna, CMO at e-mail marketing company Bigfoot Interactive, had the following list of dos:

  1. Take every possible step to ensure deliverability. This includes educating recipients to add your name to their address book so the e-mail is not sent to bulk folders, as well as crafting content that doesn’t get picked up by spam filters, Della Penna said.
  2. Build analytics into e-mail. "CMOs are being looked at very closely as far as accountability," he said. "You have to build a system where marketers can measure the success of their programs."
  3. Integrate e-mail with other marketing programs, considering, for instance, how direct mail, e-mail, a 3-D piece and a telephone call all work together to maximize response and reduce costs, he said.
  4. Take steps to ensure "whitelisting" of e-mail, so that it is recognized and accepted by the recipient.
  5. Promote industrywide education. "We will see a big push on the education front industrywide as the spam issue has pulled the entire industry together," Della Penna said.

He had the following list of don’ts for e-mail marketers:

  1. Don’t "batch and blast."
  2. Don’t assume the recipient has received the e-mail. "Implement monitoring for sending e-mail, like in-box monitoring, and monitoring opens and click-throughs," he said.
  3. Don’t assume your messages are CAN-SPAM compliant. "Any commercial e-mail, including messages sent by your salespeople to corporations promoting your goods and services, must be CAN-SPAM compliant," Della Penna said. "Reputable marketers will build a process to checkpoint and monitor commercial communications and educate their internal teams about regulations and requirements."
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