Free email marketing requires downloading desktop software that allows you to email recipients for free, rather than paying a monthly fee to a web-based email marketing service. When you make the decision to use Email Marketing Pro as your do-it-yourself email marketing software, you free yourself from the monthly expenses charged by web-based email marketing corporations.
To fully maximize your cost-effective do-it-yourself solution, you should arm yourself with the same knowledge that the web-based email marketing products charge you an arm an a leg for.
This guide gets you on your way to mastering do-it-yourself free email marketing. While some of these topics may at first seem intimidating, don’t worry. You don’t have to implement them all at once, and some of them not at all. You can get started with do-it-yourself email marketing today, just by understanding topics 3, 4, and 5.
Let’s go step by step and look at what features web-based applications are charging you for. Then we’ll see how you can accomplish the same thing for free with Email Marketing Pro. You can usually find out the information you need in an hour and will end up saving up to $1000/yr or more as a result of very little work.
So, what solutions do online email marketing services provide that you could actually learn to do for free with our software?
- They store your contacts. OK, well, with Email Marketing Pro, this is a no-brainer, and you will never be charged for having as many contacts as you want. Email Marketing Pro allows you to import your contacts from any other software and enter them manually.
- They send your email using their mail server. Email Marketing Pro can technicallly send unlimited emails for free. All you have to know is the credentials to log into your mail server. These are just the same as setting up Microsoft Outlook Express, or some other email client.
- They help you stay CAN-SPAM compliant. Simple. Just be aware of the basics about federal CAN-SPAM laws. To stay compliant with federal law, you must ensure that your mailing list is populated only with people who have agreed to receive correspondence or with whom you are doing business. Next, always include the physical address of your business and a link to unsubscribe. Note that in some countries, a double opt-in is required. This is explained in detail in another article: http://emailmarketingprofessional.com/blog/2011/07/28/how-to-add-an-unsubscribe-link-to-your-message/
- They try to help you stay on good terms with email recipients. They do this using several tricks (not malicious tricks, mind you, just tricks of the trade). First, their mailing lists won’t allow you to send email to people named “support” or “webmaster” because they know that these recipients won’t hesitate to report a spammy email to their mail server’s admin. Try to clean these email addresses out of your own mailing list. Also, the web-based email services usually require you to include a reminder to the recipients as to how they signed up for your mailing. You can do this with the “Custom Signature” function in Email Marketing Pro (set it an forget it). Just include a line that says: “You are receiving this email because you signed up for the weekly newsletter at ourwebsite.com. To unsubscribe, click here…” Recipients have the power to correctly or incorrectly flag your email as spam, which then records this in their settings and prevents future emails. They can do this regardless of whether you are actually sending spam or not. OK, that’s not fair to email marketers, but who said life was fair? So, the trick is to provide measures that will prevent the recipient from flagging you as SPAM. One trick is to remind the user to enter your email address into their address book. This prevents your email from going into the Junk/Spam folder. Another trick, to prevent them from reporting you, is to include a line such as, “This email was sent using Email Marketing Professional. To report abuse of this software, click here to send an email to email@example.com.” This will then send us an email and we can notify you.
- They keep you on good terms with other mail servers Web-based email marketing services have their mail servers certified for authenticity, constantly monitor their outgoing mail queue, process complaints from mail servers, throttle outgoing messages, and can test your message for its SPAM score (usually a paid service). All this keeps their mail server from getting blacklisted. Of course, this is their problem, not yours, so you never have to think about this behind-the-scenes activity. So, with the free email marketing solution, you can easily emulate what they are doing behind the scenes by keeping the following in mind: 1) Realize that every mail server in the world has software on it that’s going to check incoming email for SPAM. Also, realize that each mail server has a human being that runs it, who creates these SPAM rules. Each admin of each mail server creates different rules, depending on their environment, so no one can say with 100% certainty that every email will get through. It helps to check the SPAM score of your outgoing email before sending it. Do this by sending a test email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive a reply that tells you of any potential problems with your email. This feature will be built into the next release of Email Marketing Pro. 2) It helps to verify your email address list using Validator Pro. This prevents a large number of invalid addresses from reaching mail servers and raising the red flags. Remember, email addresses expire every three years. 3) Become aware — very aware — of your mail server’s quota. Search their documenation for how many emails they allow per day or per hour. Do not exceed this quota under any circumstances. There are several options available once your find out the quota. If your mailing list consists of 1500 contacts, and your mail server allows 500 emails per day, then split your contacts into three groups of 500 and schedule a campaign over a three day period. As another option, if you need a mail server that can send more than their quota, then upgrade to a business-class email service. Talk to them about your needs. There are a lot of services that charge as low $5 a month, and when you talk to them on the phone, will kindly tell you that you can send as many legit emails as you like. Still another option is that you can contact us, and we will refer you to very inexpensive services through which you can send email using Email Marketing Pro, at rates as low as $5 per 2000 emails. 4) Become aware of your Internet Service Provider’s rules about sending email. Most providers, like Verizon and Comcast, monitor outgoing email on port 25 and will shut off your mail port if they see more than the allowed number coming from your home (business class Internet Services usually don’t need to worry). They do this to prevent the spread of viruses that send spam. For example, Comcast Residential allows 999 emails per day. If Comcast shuts off your port, call them, and explain that you’re running a business and need the port re-opened and ask what you can do in the future to prevent this. They will probably ask you to set up a business account if you exceed their residential sending limit, and your Internet speeds will get even better. 5) Throttle your emails. This is a great way to prevent SPAM filters from accidentally rejecting your email. How does this work? Well, let’s say I’m a mail server admin who wants to prevent SPAM from reaching the folks who use my mail server. I’m aware that my organization has 1000 employees who all have their email addresses on our company web site and I’m aware that anyone could “scrape” those email addresses and start spamming. So, I may set a rule that says: “If my mail server sees 100 duplicate emails coming in to different recipients all in a row, then block the sender from sending any more mail.” To get around that rule, you obviously don’t want to send 1000s of emails to the same domain at one time. In Email Marketing Pro, you can set your campaign to throttle the outgoing messages, telling it to send, say, 50 emails and then wait 5 seconds before sending again.
- They track who opens your emails and who clicks the links Here are just a few ideas for the practitioner of free email marketing. Create your own email-tracking system by doing exactly what they do — emedding an image tag into the HTML code of your outgoing mail. See: http://webanalyticsinsight.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/how-to-track-email-open-rates/ To track who clicks on a link, use Google Analytics code with special web pages that visitors can view only from email. Or, use a service such as bit.ly that tracks who clicks on the links. Bit.ly not only shortens your link name, but it also provides great information about each link, such as how many people clicked the link, what country they are from, and how they got to the web page.
- They give you forms so that people can subscribe to your emails This will be built into a future release of Email Marketing Pro. But, if you own your own website then you can most likely run PHP scripts on it. PHP is a web server language that runs many applications online, such as WordPress. Check out the free product called PHP Form to Email at: http://www.html-form-guide.com/email-form/php-form-to-email.html. When setting up the PHP Form, use the word “Subscribe” in the subject line of the incoming form to email submission. Then, run Email Marketing Pro’s Subscribe check to automatically add new subscribers. Very simple, and we can help you with it if you like.
- They store your images and email archives The free email marketing guru will use an FTP program to store images and email archives on your own web server. If you don’t have a web host, then you can store the images on an image hosting service. Please search this blog for more information on adding images to outgoing emails.
- They integrate into social services such as Facebook and Twitter. Not to belittle them, but, since when do you charge $50 a month for something someone can do with copy and paste? Just copy your Facebook URL and include a link or a hyperlinked image that says “Like Us on Facebook.”
- They automatically send emails based on your blog’s RSS feed. Again, charging you for a copy/paste function you can do yourself in 30 seconds.
- They educate you. Pick up a book on email marketing and save yourself the $50 a month you’re paying. Also Google ’email marketing best practices’ and articles about how mail admins create SPAM filter rules, etc, etc.
In reading this article, I hope you can see just how easy it is to save valuable money for your company with free email marketing by having just a little bit of know how and a powerful tool such as Email Marketing Professional.
The next step to free email marketing is to purchase the full version of Email Marketing Pro for a low one-time fee. Please see: http://www.emailmarketingprofessional.com/support.php
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