Monday, May 11, 2009

May 11th - "Autoresponders in your World" Series, Part 3.

Three Keys to Responsible Autoresponder Use.

Internet marketers are facing more and more obstacles when attempting to communicate with existing and potential subscribers:

- Increasingly sophisticated e-mail filters from major and independent Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
- Accusations of unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE), i.e., spam.
- An updated Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act (2008) and similar online consumer protection initiatives.

Autoresponders can help simplify your online marketing, but only if you use them in a mature and responsible manner. Admittedly, such a powerful tool is easy to abuse, and even the most prudent and experienced marketers are susceptible to improper autoresponder use. In a worst case scenario, you can forfeit the lifeblood of your business, the all important opt-in list, which may have taken months, if not years, to nurture and cultivate.

So, how does an honest online marketer avoid the pitfalls of autoresponder misuse? Here are three important things to consider:

1. Do NOT add subscribers to your mailing list that do not belong there. Someone who has requested information from you should be added automatically through a double opt-in squeeze page or equivalent. By forcing new prospects or subscribers to explicitly confirm their intention to join your newsletter and receive future emails from you, both you and your subscribers are protected from abuse.

2. Always include an ‘Unsubscribe’ link with every autoresponder message you send to subscribers. It is a fact of life that newsletters and marketers face a minimum 20-30% turnover on a quarterly and yearly basis. As frustrating as losing paying customers and subscribers may be, you must be CAN-SPAM compliant, and not offering the ‘Unsubscribe’ makes you vulnerable to being shutdown – your email, website, ISP, etc. In fact, offering recipients an automatic one-click removal option shows self-confidence in your abilities.

3. Clearly identify yourself in the From: line and Subject: line of each autoresponder. You’ve made the effort to connect with your target audience, so engage in personal branding with meaningful subject lines. Being evasive or worse leaving these lines blank will arouse suspicion and may even encourage ISPs to ‘blacklist’ your messages. Competition is fierce in a crowded Inbox, so stake your claim by intelligently – and ethically – attracting your subscribers’ attention.

Everyone wants a loyal and responsive list that they can market to over and over again. However, it will not magically appear and even minor steps must be taken with care. Nothing is more important than your business reputation, so avoid taking shortcuts and breaking fundamental list building rules. Good autoresponder habits are the foundation of your online presence.

Rahul Majumdar is an Information Marketer specializing in article marketing, list-building, and digital product creation. Sign up for more of his insights here.

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