Don`t Spam Your Customers!
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No one likes receiving spam, and these days the spam filters and the “This is Spam” button in many email applications make it easy to avoid. But an honest business can get caught in the spam trap too. In this article, I’ll be talking about some of the things you need to do to avoid being mistaken for a spammer.
Email-based marketing is the lifeblood of many small- and medium-sized businesses. Whether it is emailing newsletters, prepaid lessons, or special offers, no business can afford to be tarred with the spammer brush. It's costly in terms of reputation and customers lost (or never gained). Worse, depending on the nature of your email, you could be breaking the law and not even know it.
If it's so easy to be called a spammer when you never intended to spam, how do you avoid spamming? After doing the research, I think I can boil it down to certain specific principles. The most important one is to be honest and transparent with your customers. A very close second involves doing due diligence and keeping certain things up to date - the kind of detail work that comes with maintaining a business (which can fortunately be automated for the most part these days). A third principle, which is always in the background and informs the other two, is to always keep in mind what your customer REALLY wants, not what you think s/he wants.
The rest of this article will cover some of the specific things you need to do in order to put these principles into practice. I don't think I'll have enough room to cover everything, but I'll try to get down as many of the important points as I can. If there is interest (and enough material) I might do a follow-up article.
I was amazed by the number of tips I found that can be chalked up to "list hygiene." Your mailing list is perhaps your most valuable resource. It is precious; it should be carefully maintained. It should not have any names on it that do not belong, and by the same token you should not abuse the names that ARE on the list. Every single name represents someone who is saying, in effect, that he or she trusts you to deliver what you're promising. In the next section I'll explain some of the specific things you need to do to fulfill that promise.
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