Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15th "Autoresponders in Your World" Series, Part 12.

Autoresponder Netiquette: 3 Great Ways to Ensure Trouble-free Use.

An autoresponder’s power and versatility should never be taken for granted, nor abused. Believe it or not, marketers get into trouble every day because of improper autoresponder use. While minor transgressions are often quickly rectified with warnings or perhaps a small penalty, some violations are so serious that they can jeopardize your entire online business.

So, as you embark on your next autoresponder campaign, please keep the following three rules of conduct in mind:

1. NEVER sign up to a newsletter, e-course, affiliate campaign, etc. using your autoresponder’s e-mail Address.

As an online business entrepreneur looking to exploit the Internet to generate leads and sales, you expect subscribers to enter genuine contact information into your autoresponder opt-in. How else are you going to nurture a “one-to-one” relationship with them? Similarly, you must respect your fellow marketers by giving them a valid email address – not unsolicited access to your list! Just imagine the complications of autoresponder-autoresponder correspondence:

- A message is sent to your entire list (not just you!), which includes another autoresponder address. The second autoresponder replies to your autoresponder that in turn responds to the autoresponder of the original marketer. This “loop” persists until all the services and software involved close it down and clean up the damage left behind.

Simply put, this rule is the autoresponder equivalent of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

2. NEVER sign up to discussion groups or forums with an autoresponder e-mail address.

You join special interest online groups to share information with like-minded folks, build your reputation, and market yourself as a trustworthy businessperson. So, why risk your good name and betray your subscribers’ trust by exposing them to something they never asked for? Signing up with your autoresponder address will lead to spamming accusations; when forum members send you a message, you AND your entire list receive it. Suffice to say that you are ruining the social networking experience for everyone. Forum administrators despise this practice and will banish you without hesitation.

3. Learn and Understand CAN-SPAM Act Basics.

Reputable third party autoresponder services have incorporated the relevant parts of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act since it became law January 1, 2004. Still, being aware of its requirements can help you avoid being reported for spam; i.e., unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE). If you have any doubts about what constitutes proper autoresponder etiquette, check if you presently:

- Require a double opt-in when setting up your opt-in forms (recommended by most but not mandatory).
- Offer an “unsubscribe” link with every autoresponder message.
- Include a valid postal mailing address in each message.

As your online activity expands, you will inevitably come across troublemakers who enjoy giving Internet Marketing a bad name. Frankly, some list subscribers are not worth having, so if you receive complaints, be responsible and just let them go. Don’t give anyone an excuse to ruin your reputation. Use your autoresponder as if your livelihood depended on it. In a manner of speaking, perhaps it already does.

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

No comments: