One Web Promotion Strategy to Avoid like the Plague
Late last Friday afternoon I made one final email checkbefore leaving for the weekend. Much to my surprise therewere nearly 1000 email messages waiting in my inbox. Andlittle did I know at the time, there would be thousands moreover the next few days.
So, I'll bet you're excited to learn this new promotionmethod that brought in all this email right? Well, beforeyou get too excited, let me tell you this... it's one youshould never even _consider_ using.
You see, that windfall of email was not from potentialprospects and customers. It was from angry netizens - allrecipients of unsolicited email. No, not spam from me, butspam that caused a nightmare for me none the less. And itshut down the site that was responsible, before they evenrealized they did anything wrong.
The rest of this article shares the few sordid details,including how YOU can avoid similar trouble...
It seems that a company in New Jersey who was new to theonline marketing game decided to try some "email marketing".So they bought one of those email lists that bulk emailcompanies sell as "targeted email addresses" and had theirhost load it to their server.
One posting later their business was bombarded withcomplaints from angry recipients of the message. Not longafter, their website was shut down, all because of one emailmessage.
As for me, my own problems started when the spam hit myautoresponders. My "Welcome to the Bizweb eGazette"autoresponder appeared on the list no less than 17 times.The autoresponder was the one I used when new subscribersasked to be added to my newsletter.
Well it seems that the list of 30,000 addresses had been setup as an unmoderated discussion, and every angry spamrecipient was free to reply to the entire list, snowballingthe problem into a mass of junk mail in seconds. When myautoresponder replied to the list of 30,000 angry spamrecipients over and over with "thanks for subscribing", manyof the spam victims figured I was the culprit in the wholemess! And let me tell you, there are more nasty people outthere than I imagined.
If I had a nickel for every cuss word and threat that camein over the weekend I could retire today. And I canunderstand why so many of these people were upset, butunfortunately their anger was misdirected at a fellowinnocent bystander.
Now let's get to the main point of this whole story. I'msure I can keep at least a handful of newbies from gettingthemselves in hot water like this website did.
I can also prepare my fellow "experienced" web marketers forthe day when THEY are the recipient of misdirected anger dueto spam.
OK, first the lesson for newbies...
No matter how tempting it may seem to buy an email list and"broadcast targeted email to thousands", it is a trap. Andit only takes one message to shut your site down. The sadpart is that these bulk email CD's are promoted as "millionsof targeted addresses" and you can get them dirt cheap,making them even more tempting. The problem is, nearly everybulk email list comes with a few features you are NOT beingtold about. For instance...
- NONE of the addresses on these spam lists have asked to be there. Actually, NONE of the email addresses on those lists even realize they are on them and they have NOT opted in to receive email solicitations.
- By "targeted" addresses these list hawkers really mean they entered keywords into an email address harvesting program and the program loaded thousands of addresses from sites with that keyword somewhere in their pages. (Is that targeted?)
- A HUGE percentage of people on those lists will complain to every ISP, host and agency they can, which will shut your site down in a heartbeat.
- The USER of a bulk email list is the one liable for damages that result. And there is now legislation against sending unsolicited email.
It really is simple to stay out of trouble -- just don'tever email anyone without their permission. And never trusta company that sells email addresses. If you think there isa chance that the addresses are truly opt-in (and it wouldbe a rare instance) then ask for a list of satisfiedadvertisers BEFORE you buy the list. Contact each and everyone of them and ask about their results using the list.
And definitely ask the company selling the targetedaddresses exactly HOW they built the list. If they say thatthe list members opted-in to the list then ask them if theyrealized that the list was going to be sold. You'd behard-pressed to get 100 email addresses to opt-in to a listthat was going to be sold over and over, let alone 30,000 ora million. After all, would YOU offer your email address toa company that told you up front they were going to sell theaddress over and over?
The fact is, when it comes to marketing with email your verybest bet is to build YOUR OWN email lists. You can do thisby offering free reports, email newsletters, email courses,downloadable ebooks, shareware, or anything else thatcontains valuable information related to your area ofexpertise. In exchange for the free service youoffer, you simply ask for the users name and email address.
It takes as little as ten minutes to set up an interface atyour site to collect names and email addresses and deliveryour free product automatically. And once you set it up yourown opt-in lists will grow continually. You'll never have toeven consider using spam! This strategy is 100 times aseffective.
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