Modern marketing methods such as email marketing, social media marketing and other web-based marketing, offer huge advantages over more traditional marketing methods. They are faster, more specific and less expensive, often free.
But they have disadvantages as well.
One of the biggest is that anything you create and post online is permanent and instantly accessible to anybody on the web. That means if you mistakenly post something that is inappropriate, misinformed, objectionable or misguided, it will live forever on the internet, even if you attempt to delete it or remove it.
A lot of internet users have learned this lesson the hard way. Just ask high school students whose college applications have been rejected because of photos they posted from drinking parties.
Or that unlucky congressman who thought it would be a good idea to send “private” photos to inappropriate recipients, only to see their intimate images end up on newspaper front pages.
Anytime a new technology changes the marketplace, there is a learning curve as people adjust to the new opportunities and pitfalls that the improvements offer. This is precisely what is happening today with internet marketing.
To avoid disenfranchising a portion of your existing or future customer base, it’s a good idea to always keep your emails, social media postings, or any postings anywhere completely professional and free from anything that could be considered objectionable.
Although it’s important that your postings be positive, fun and approachable, avoid using any kind of questionable language; making jokes that could be considered racist, sexist or offensive to any group of people; or even expressing controversial political or social opinions.
What you post online – whether it is a private email, a Facebook status update, a Twitter “tweet” or a throwaway comment on somebody’s blog post – will live forever online and can always come back to haunt you.
Be professional, show restraint and avoid posting anything that could in any way get you into trouble later.
One of the biggest advantages of email marketing is that list generation and maintenance are usually automated. Your autoresponder program will take care of capturing the email addresses of people who respond to your inquiries, compiling those addresses in any combination of email lists you require.
And your autoresponder will send out targeted emails to every address on each of the lists, without your ever having to “touch” any of those addresses by manually inputting it or altering it in any way. This cuts down on emails being sent to the wrong address or people receiving your marketing materials when they don’t want them.
But some maintenance to keep your list timely and accurate is still required from you. In order to maintain good customer relations, you should always offer an “opt-out” box on any email that you send out.
This option asks the customer if they would like to stop receiving emails and promotions from you. It has the dual benefit of making your customer think you care about what they want and cleaning up your email list by removing people who aren’t interested in your products.
If customers ask you to stop sending them your emails, you need to comply with their wishes. If you don’t, there is a good possibility they will report you to your internet provider or web master and your account can be suspended or even banned, putting you out of commission, if only temporarily. It’s also simply good business.
Another way to keep your list up to date is to stop sending emails to recipients if they fail to respond or even open one of your emails after several attempts. In most cases, your autoresponder program will be able to keep track of this and you can determine the number of attempts prior to terminating the address automatically.
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