Email Market Without Getting Persecuted

May 12 21:00 2003 Stephen Bucaro Print This Article

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Email Market Without Getting Persecuted

By Stephen Bucaro

You provide a Web service such as Web site design, Web site
evaluation, search engine optimization, graphics design, or
copy writing. You find a Web site that could sorely use
your services. You send a friendly email message to the Web
site's owner.

Your ISP disconnects your service, your Web host cancels
your service, your affiliate membership gets terminated
with loss of commissions, your business gets a bad
reputation, and you are labeled SPAMMER.

All because you sent an "innocent" email. Spam has become
such an invasive and revolting phenomenon today that people
who receive any unsolicited email messages will make sure
the sender pays dearly for the crime. Is there a way to
send a friendly email message without getting persecuted?

Let's make one thing clear, improperly sending mass
unsolicited email messages will result in big problems for
you. Proper mass email marketing is done through opt-in
lists or newsletter advertising. There is no effective way
to mass email market for free. Safe lists and FAA sites are
a waste of your valuable time.

But there is a safe way to send a small number of friendly
email messages to solicit customers. What makes this
possible is your "signature" block. A signature block is a
short paragraph, about six lines long, that you include at
the bottom of every email message. The signature box
includes information about your business and how to
contact you.

Most email programs let you configure a signature block
that automatically gets included in every email message
that you send. To properly use a signature block, make sure
that it is not personalized in any way to the individual
that you are sending the message to. Make sure there is a
dividing line that separates the signature block from the
rest of the email message.

To put it another way, you are NOT sending a marketing
message to the individual. You are sending a personal
message that just happens to automatically include your
signature block. Now all you need is an legitimate reason
to send a personal message to the prospective customer.
Below are five different scenarios for this.

1. Give a Compliment.

Find something you like about the prospective customer's
website and send them a compliment. For example: "I'm
writing to let you know that I found the information on
your Web site about how to buy a new car very informative.
I find your Web site very useful. Keep up the good work.
Thank you". And of course, your signature block is
automatically included at the bottom of your message.

Don't be too transparent or patronizing with your
compliment. Don't send a general compliment. You must
compliment something specific. If you honestly can't find
something you like about the prospective customer's
website, use one of the other methods described below.

Would you consider a message that compliments your web site
to be spam? I don't think so. I can tell you that if you
send me a compliment about my web site, it is going to be
VERY difficult for me to report that message as spam. In
fact, half the time I return a thank you note!

2. Ask a Question.

Send a question related to the topic area of the
prospective customer's website. For example: "I find your
cooking Web site very useful. I was wondering if you know
of any good Chili pepper recipes. Thank you". And of
course, your signature block is automatically included at
the bottom of your message.

Would you consider a message that asks a question related
to the subject of your web site to be spam? I don't think
so. Most web site owners will be so happy to have the
opportunity to answer your question that the thought of
reporting your message as spam will be the furthest thing
from their mind.

3. Send an FYI.

Find some information related to the subject area of
the prospective customer's website and send a "for your
information" message. For example: "I read your article
about starting a catering service. I just wanted to let
you know that there is an article on the FTC web site about
the laws related to starting a food related business. The
article is at the following URL ... Regards." And of
course, your signature block is automatically included at
the bottom of your message.

Would you consider a message that provides you with
information related to the subject area of your web site to
be spam? I don't think so. In fact, you are almost sure to
send a thank you note!

4. Give Freebie Advice.

In your message, provide a free sample of your service.
"When I visit your Web site, I find the text very difficult
to read because of the dark background. I think you would
get much better response from your Web site visitors if you
used a lighter background. Regards." And of course, your
signature block, indicating that you provide Web site
evaluation service is automatically included at the bottom
of your message.

Would you consider the above message to be spam? I don't
think so. In fact, if you were smart, you would realize
that you have just received a small sample of the senders
service for free!

5. Ask Permission to Send Information.

Using this method, you do NOT include your signature block.
For example: "May I send you information about my search
engine optimization service? Thank you."

Would you consider this message to be spam? The message is
just too darn courteous to warrant reporting it as spam.
Most people will probably reply with the message "no, thank
you". But a few people who are interested in purchasing
search engine optimization service will reply "yes, thank
you."

Improperly sending mass unsolicited email messages will
result in big problems for you. But there is a safe way to
send a small number of friendly email messages to solicit
customers. The scenarios described above provide you with
legitimate reasons to send a personal message that just
happens to automatically include your signature block.
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Stephen Bucaro
Stephen Bucaro

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