If you’ve never done any email marketing and are interested in sending out campaigns with Constant Contact you’ll want to read on. First off is a list of good practices for email marketing.
Let me first paint a picture as I’m sure many of you have been or are currently in the same boat if you’re reading this. Your sales team is interested in sending out product announcements for their brand new widget. It’s the same thing they’ve been selling for years, but it now comes in red and it’s shiny. The team has been working hard collecting email addresses from the internet and old client lists. Johnny salesman has expressed interest in purchasing a huge list online to spread the word. Oh yeah, none of these people have any background in email marketing.
The scenario above points out 3 major issues when it comes to implementing an email marketing campaign. The problem with non-traditional marketing like this is that many sales people see it’s value, but have no idea how to actually create and follow it through. Here are a few things to consider when creating your first mailer.
- Have an announcement – You really should have something new to say or offer when sending out an email campaign. I was recently asked to put together an email to promote a website that had seen a serious lull in website traffic over the past year. Doing this is a waste of time and money as any list you may have is likely very old and irrelevant hence your email will not be opened. Not only that, but email marketing is not cheap. You’d be better off spending your time and money developing back-links or working on your PPC efforts.
- DO NOT collect email addresses from the internet! – These people did not opt in to read your email and will more than likely delete your email or mark it as spam…because it is. Unsolicited emails will do more harm than good. These people didn’t sign up for your newsletter and they don’t want to hear from you. Multiple spam complaints will alert Constant Contact that you are sending unsolicited emails. This will get you banned and result in a list review. Too many of these and you will be dropped from their program.
- DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT BUY LISTS! – Purchasing lists online is a definite faux-pas. Purchased lists contain a lot of bot generated email address scraped from the web. They are old and irrelevant and contain abandoned email addresses. They are costly and easy to spot as they are usually very large. This again will set off a red flag and get you black listed and eventually banned form the program.
Why is Constant Contact So Strict?
Let me start off by saying that they should be. Constant Contact is in the business of email marketing. They send hundreds of thousands of emails every day. Spam or otherwise non-value added junk mail would end up getting their IP address banned. Have you ever tried to get back in the good graces of Google or Yahoo? It’s best to follow the rules and play nice if you wish to be found in cyberspace. So it’s no wonder that they have a rigorous screening process.
With that being said here are some Constant Contact specific tips that you should follow to avoid headaches and get your email ok’ ed for the masses quicker.
Email lists must be no older than 18 months
Constant Contact prefers that you use lists that are no older than 18 months. This is easy to do if you send out regular emails and allow for people to opt out if they choose. This will create a safe list of clients you can email as the people that are still on your list after your third email truly want to hear what you have to say. You’ll get more people opening your letter as this info you’re sending is relevant to them.
Roll Addresses, What are they?
Roll addresses are distribution email addresses that go to multiple recipients. Such as sales@, admin@, marketing@, subscribe@, etc. Any address with this preface will be blocked by Constant Contact from the get go. Check out the most up to date Roll Address policy here.
How To Manage Bounces
After sending an email, you can look at your email reports to see the results of your campaign. You should manage your bounces after every email you send. Use the following steps below to manage your bounces:
Go to Contacts > Manage Bounces
- Review the email addresses in each bounce category. Constant Contact separates the addresses into bounce type using the return messages sent by the mail servers that rejected your email.
- Check the address spelling.
- Confirm with the contact that the address is still valid.
- If there are email addresses in the “Blocked” category, ask those contacts to request that their ISPs or mail administrators unblock our IP addresses.
- Determine whether you should try the email address again, remove it or send it to the Do Not Mail List.
Acceptable Email Collection Options
- Give your visitors a way to sign up for your newsletter. Allowing people to opt in is acceptable and will provide a better return as anyone who adds their address wants to be notified when you send out new products or news. Create a, “Join My Mailing List”, box or link for your website here.
- Provide your visitors with an unchecked box that they must click to agree that they actually want to receive emails from you. Once signed up, your new contacts will be expecting mail from you in the future.
- Let your visitors know how often you send out emails. ex. We send out occasional mailers every couple months. Don’t worry, we wont spam you.
- Make your sign-up policy clearly visible to prospective contacts. Include your form in a prominent part of your website. Include it in your sidebar, footer or anywhere else that it is easily viewable. Don’t make them search for it!