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How to Use E-Mail to Advertise your Business

E-mail is the sweetheart of the current advertising models. Why are e-mail advertisements so successful? Because e-mail advertisements create dialogue, your business's customers can respond to you, a real human being, instead of watching a Web page.

Here are some pointers on the best way to do e-mail advertising:

  • Ask for e-mail addresses — never send unsolicited e-mail. People don’t like to have e-mail forced into their mailbox, piling up without an end in sight. Make sure the e-mail addresses you obtain are given voluntarily from customers who really want to hear from you.

  • Keep records of all registrations forever. Sometimes, years later, people tell you they never signed up. With great courtesy, show them their original registration and the date you received it.

  • Always offer a chance to opt out. In each e-mail, tell people how they can stop receiving the mail (unsubscribe). Make the instructions clear and prominent.

  • State your privacy policy. Tell people that you will never share or sell their e-mail addresses. And keep your word.

  • Appoint a real, live person to handle problems and inquiries. You may want to have an automated reply that's sent immediately and lets the person know you received his or her message. Be sure to follow up with a personalized reply as soon as possible.

  • Keep your list secure. Make sure that the recipients can’t see each other’s e-mail addresses. Make an alias list and put that list in the blind carbon copy (BCC) area when sent.

  • Check the e-mail you send out for typos, misspellings, and so on. Put your best foot forward.

  • Choose your subject line with care. Make it provocative — and make it sound like something other than an ad.

  • Avoid closing down communication. Never close off communication with a customer.

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