E-mail Marketing Introduction
Generally regarded as the second most successful internet marketing strategy when reaching customers (SEM is first). E-mail marketing is usually HTML-based ads (type and/or graphics) that arrive in your email inbox from businesses and organizations you have given permission to contact you (opt-in e-mail advertising or permission marketing).
There are standards and ethical guidelines protecting customers from unsolicited email (SPAM). The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) set forth standards and is intended to regulate the use of email marketing in the United States. While opinions vary, it is regarded as being somewhat successful in reducing the amount of spam that reaches customers. Anti-spam technologies are also credited with reducing spam. Generally accepted ethical guidelines suggest marketers only send e-mail marketing to customers who have given permission, signed up, or opted-in to receive such emails, are existing customers, or have inquired about products or services.
Marketers can still send unsolicited emails under the standards set forth in the CAN-SPAN act. Wikipedia.com offers a nice summary of guidelines for unsolicited e-mail:
- A visible and operable unsubscribe mechanism is present in all emails.
- Consumer opt-out requests are honored within 10 days.
- Opt-out lists also known as suppression lists are only used for compliance purposes.
- Accurate from lines (including "friendly froms")
- Relevant subject lines (relative to offer in body content and not deceptive)
- A legitimate physical address of the publisher and/or advertiser is present.
- A label is present if the content is adult.
Sending behavior compliance
- A message cannot be sent through an open relay
- A message cannot be sent to a harvested email address
- A message cannot contain a false header
Email content is exempt if it consists of
- religious messages;
- political messages;
- content that broadly complies with the marketing mechanisms specified in the law
- national security messages.
E-mail blasts are best targeted to specific customers who have already expressed some interest in products or services, and therefore may have a more successful response rate. E-mail marketing ads usually contain text, graphics and most importantly, a call-to-action that has the viewer click a link to a web page with a special offer, new product, premium give-away, or additional information or call-to-action.
Here are some examples of e-mail marketing
These email blasts range in size from 475–650 pixels wide by unlimited (long) length. 600 pixels wide is the generally accepted best-practice size.
Notice how the fine print follows the rules of the CAN SPAM Act. (unsubscribe and real address)