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Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) is set to take effect on July 1, 2014. After years of preparation and consultation, Canada will get a modern, but very strict, anti-spam law.
One of the requirements for CASL will impose on any entity doing business in Canada is the proof of consent. Up until now, many Canadian businesses relied on so-called negative consent, or giving subscribers an option to opt-out from future mailings. The new law will force businesses to obtain permission first, and also continue to provide an easy-to-use mechanism for subscribers to remove themselves from a list.
The easiest way to handle consent (or “opt-in”), unsubscribes and other list-management tasks is to open an account with an Email Service Provider or ESP, such as Aweber, MadMimi or GetResponse. These services all provide basic and advanced list-management features, but they differ greatly in additional features, such as auto-responders, RSS-to-email, etc.
Most ESPs also offer Social Media integration, and some offer features that may not necessarily be considered as email-related, such as surveys, GetResponse offers surveys included in the basic package, other ESPs rely on 3rd party integration, such as SurveyMonkey.
In case you’re interested in sending simple email newsletters, MadMimi offers a free option, and you can have up to 2,500 subscribers in your lists. If you need to send more than 6 emails per month, you can upgrade to any of their paid packages.
Even with the added hassle of making sure you’re CASL-compliant, email marketing should still be one of the staples of your overall marketing strategy.
In case you need help in setting up your email marketing system please contact me.
Boris Mahovac RGD
Email Marketing Consultant
Email marketing is still one of the best ways to grow your business. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association latest statistics, email marketing still has the highest rate of return on investment (ROI) among all other marketing channels.
The trouble is, most solo professionals and small business owners don’t bother to learn how to do email marketing properly. The best solution is to use an online email marketing tool, such as Aweber. This is a service that helps you create an attractive email newsletter or flyer, manage your list, and what’s very important, your email marketing campaign will be following the law. If you’re in Canada, for example, very soon a bill will become law that will require senders to allow their subscriber to remove themselves from a list by clicking a link. Using email marketing software, such as Aweber, will make your life easier.
One of the best and most reliable business email marketing solutions on the market is GetResponse. Over the last few years this email marketing company has established itself as the tool of choice for creating, sending and tracking opt in email marketing campaigns such as email newsletters, promotions and surveys.
If you’re not happy with your existing email service provider, this would be a good time to consider switching as GetResponse currently runs a promotional campaign where the first 1000 new clients get a guaranteed prize, such as an iPad, Amazon Kindle, etc.
The feature that sets GetResponse apart from the competition (such as MadMimi, Aweber, etc.) is their built-in GetSubscribers service which you can use to purchase pre-qualified, double opt-in subscribers to your account. These days building your email list is becoming more difficult as people are increasingly more and more reluctant to subscribe to online offers and newsletters. GetResponse can build your list fast and for a very low cost with their GetSubscribers service. Check out Getresponse today for a chance to win one of 1000 guaranteed prizes.
If you’re looking for an affordable business email marketing solution look no further than iContact. Over the last few years this email marketing company has established itself as the tool of choice for creating, sending and tracking opt in email marketing campaigns such as email newsletters, promotions and surveys.
If you’re not happy with your existing email service provider, this would be a good time to consider switching as iContact currently run their usual end-of-year discount campaign. With plans starting at just $8.46 per month (for annual accounts), and $9.95 per month (for monthly accounts), their pricing structure is very competitive, and if you upgrade your account from the free trial to a paid account you can now save up to 27%.
All you have to do is open a free trial account, then upgrade to a paid level and use the promo code “LOCKIN2010″ before December 31 and save 15% if you’re paying monthly, or save an additional 15% if you upgrade to an annual account, for a total of 27% savings.
One of the benefits of using a dedicated email service provider (ESP) to send out your business email newsletter are the various statistics they will be able to provide to you. One of those you should pay particular attention to are
Your particular ESP may define these two slightly differently, but in essence, a bounce is an email address to which delivery of your email campaign was attempted but was unsuccessful.
Similarly the bounce rate is usually expressed as a percentage of undeliverable email addresses compared to the total number of emails in your list(s).
Hard Bounces: These are email addresses that are obsolete, expired, incorrect and will never be delivered to the intended recipient. Take a look at these as they may include obvious typos like firstname.lastname@example.org (instead of .com), which you can easily update and correct. Others are most likely expired and should be removed from your list, either manually, or, most likely, automatically by your ESP.
Soft Bounces: These are email accounts that bounce because of full mailboxes, their domain is temporarily down, or for some other technical reason they’re currently not able to receive email. Most ESPs will retry delivery to these accounts within 24-48 hours from the time of the original broadcast. Some ESPs will remove email accounts from your active list after 5 consecutive soft bounces.
General Bounces: The most common reason for this type of bounce is a firewall that prevents these accounts from receiving email from outside their network, such as in the case of corporations that block email from unknown sources. Again, most ESPs will retry delivery to these accounts.
As most ESPs will retry bounces (except for Hard Bounces) again within 24-48 hours, you don’t need to do much about them. Additionally, your ESP will suppress all hard bounces right away, and also those soft and general bounces which continue to fail.If the re-sending is successful, bounces will be cleared for future broadcasts
The only thing you need to do is to correct any typos in Hard Bounces, and make sure that the bounce rate is lower than 1%, as some ESPs may block your account if your email broadcasts continue to suffer from high bounce rates.
You may also be interested in reading these related articles:
Email List Maintenance – Keeping it Lean and Clean
Email Delivery: Resending an Email to Non-Openers
Over the years I’ve probably tried a dozen or so Email Service Providers, and for the last 2 years I’ve decided that iContact offers me the best mix of features for a very reasonable price.
If you are contemplating using Email Marketing to boost your business, sign up for a 15-day free trial of iContact — but hurry, their 30% off promotion ends June 30.
I’ll make the deal even sweeter for you: Sign up and upgrade your account by June 30, 2010, and I will send you my 3+3+3 Email Marketing Tips for Solopreneurs and for Small Business, a $37 value. This CD contains 3 separate presentations, each 60+ minute long, for a total of over 3 hours of instructions, tips and insights that I’ve acquired over the last 4 years as an Email Marketing Consultant (mp3 audio and PDF transcript both available). To qualify for my free CD offer you must open a new iContact account and upgrade it to a paid one, then send me your account number so I can verify that you’ve signed up using my affiliate link. If you’d like to receive a physical CD then please provide your postal address, otherwise you will receive a link to download the product online.
Why Choose iContact?
With iContact’s extensive features, you can easily create Email Messages, send them to your subscribers, clients, or members, and track their performance. When you apply Autoresponders to your email marketing campaign, you can stay in the forefront of your customer’s mind with automatic messages based on timed sequences or customer actions. Surveying provides you a platform to collect data from your customers and iContact provides you with the real-time results of your data.
Just recently I used the integrated survey tool to ask my networking group to vote on an important matter.
If you have a blog, take advantage of the articles you write by harnessing the RSS Feed. Your customers will immediately receive your most recent messages when they sign up for you RSS feed.
Over the years I’ve tried about a dozen or so Email Service Providers (ESPs), and now I regularly use iContact.
If you’re thinking of switching ESPs, or are considering getting into opt-in email marketing for your small business or solo practice, iContact is making your decision a bit easier with their June 2010 promotion: save 15% when you upgrade your account (you start with a free trial account), and save an additional 15% if you also pre-pay for a year of service, for a total of 30% savings. Use the promo code June2010 to save now!
I recommend iContact to my clients who are looking for a service that provides:
In case you’re considering switching, I offer a service that does that for you and is included in my “ESP Account Setup” service. Please see my services page for more information.
If you’ve been in business for 5-10 years, you have a hidden business asset that you may not be utilizing at all: the email list of your existing clients. If you’ve been smart to collect their email addresses then it’s time to start using the marketing channel with the highest return on investment: email marketing.
One of the things you have to keep an eye on before you start sending email marketing campaigns to your existing contacts is to find a suitable Email Service Provider, because not all ESPs will accept old client lists.
Once you’ve found an ESP (also know as web based email marketing systems), make sure you don’t upload all of your contacts into one big list, but rather, segment your contacts into:
Also, remove all email addresses that begin with info@ sales@ admin@ as these may be flagged by your email marketing service as “suspicious.”
When sending to a list that’s never been used, you will have a lot of expired email addresses that will bounce, so try sending your first promotion only to current clients, then a few days later, go through the lists in the order I listed them above.
When uploading the list to your online email marketing service, you will have the option of sending your contacts a so-called confirmation email message. A confirmation message contains a link your subscribers will have to click in order to be added to your list. If you choose this option, you will only be able to send further messages and email marketing campaigns only to those contacts that have clicked the confirmation link. By sending your contacts a confirmation email you’ll be building a highly-responsive permission-based email marketing list. Be advised, though, that your list may end up being only 1/10th the original size, but that’s OK, because your will have a solid foundation on which to build your future email subscriber base.
Have you noticed in Gmail that some URLs are clickable and some are not?
Recently, email marketers, and other people who are using this powerful marketing channel, started noticing that some URLs are working and some are not! What’s the mystery?
I sent a few test emails to my own Gmail account and here’s what one looks like in this screen shot:
As you can see, links which contain a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, and no “www” are not functional links.
I don’t know if this is a deliberate “feature” or a bug in the Gmail web client, but as email marketers we need to be aware of this quirk, and find a workaround, which is actually simple: if you like to use some caps in your URLs for emphasis, all you need to do is add “www.” and they will work just fine.
Alternatively, you can use ALLCAPS.COM or onlylowercase.com and they should work as well.
This is only a problem in plain text emails, which email marketers usually use in auto-responders. If you’re using HTML to format your e-newsletter or other email marketing messages, all your links will work fine in Gmail.
Thanks to Denise Wakeman for alerting me to this problem.
One of two Email Service Providers that I use and recommend is MadMimi. Apart from having the best customer service I’ve ever had the pleasure dealing with, they have the most elegant, easy-to-use and powerfully simple email editor on the market.
Ever since the initial release of their service the creative crew at MadMimi have been steadily adding new features and improving this already great product.
The latest addition is the ability to add a set of icons that link to your favourite social networking sites. This simple feature will encourage your readers to connect with you on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks. Just add your social media sites URLs and Mad Mimi will place specially designed icons to the bottom of your emails — no additional coding necessary!
Here’s a set of sites that are currently supported:
MadMimi is still free to use for lists of up to 100 contacts, and prices start at only $8/month for unlimited emails to up to 500 contacts. Test drive MadMimi today!
Check out also these related articles:
Cool New Tool for MadMimi
MadMimi Brings the Fun Back to Sending Email “Blasts”