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How NOT To Appear Like A Spammer

Unless you use the Internet only for surfing and never use your email address you've probably received something that is called spam.

There are different definitions for spam but I will say that spam is unsolicited email commercial. Many people harvest other people's email addresses on email and web forums and send them info that they didn't request. This is very frustrating because you loose your precious time deleting those unwanted messages. In this article I will explain how NOT to appear like a spammer.

Opt-in

If you have an email newsletter it is very important that you don't appear like a spammer. If you want to stay long in email publishing business your newsletters have to be based on opt-in method. It means that a subscriber chose to receive your newsletter and that you have their permission to send them your newsletter. It is called Permission Marketing. I would suggest that your list be double opt-in. Now what is double opt-in? Double opt-in means that your subscribers have to confirm their request to join your list. Confirmation is done by replying to the message that you send to everyone who had initiated subscription. Beside replying, people can confirm their request by clicking on a certain link. This ensures that one person can't subscribe another person against his or her will. Also, never buy so called opt-in lists and also never sell or rent your members base.

Welcome message

I would suggest you that you ask your new subscribers to save your welcome message. There you can put the necessary info about your list and list management: list description, subscribe/unsubscribe address, digest address, owner's email address, list rules...

This is important because of the following. Many people promote their newsletter for some time, until they get enough subscribers and then publish the first issue. However, it is most likely that someone who had subscribed to your list several months ago forgot that he or she actually requested to be a member of your list. And then, they can accuse you that you are a spammer. If they save a welcome message they can see that they required to be your subscribers.

Subject line

Subject line is very important in email newsletters. Beside, From field it is the most important thing for someone to decide whether to open your newsletter or not. I would suggest that your subject line consists a title of your article, issue number and date. If your From or To field doesn't consist your list name than you should put your list name in Subject line, too. Preferably in brackets. If you have your subscriber's first name in your database you should definitely put their name as the first thing in the Subject line. Then it is more likely that they will open your newsletter. Never use spam techniques like putting Re: at the beginning of your Subject line so that people think that they sent you an email and you are sending them your reply. Nobody is fool.

Filtration

Many people use email programs with powerful email filter options. Many people set their filters to delete messages with get-rich-quick-schemes, porn and similar content so it is wise that you don't put that kind of text in your messages if you want that people read it. Also, don't capitalize your words like FREE, MAKE MONEY, GUARANTEED... I wouldn't suggest that you use this or similar words in the first place beacuse these words are often used by spammers.

If you have an option that in To field be your subscriber's email address and not, for example your list name, that would be ideal because some mail washer programs automatically flag messages which don't have a recipient email address as possible SPAM.

List management

Always provide very clear information regarding list management in your newsletter. Very important thing is that your list management provides very easy way of unsubscribing. For example, some email newsletters have at the very bottom an unique unsubscribe address for every subscriber. It can be something like leave-yourlistname-111327893L@yourlistserver.com This way, your subscribers can unsubscribe only with one click and they don't have to worry if they sent unsubscription request from address which is in your subscriber list. Good list management is, also, useful because you won't loose your time explaining to your subscribers how to do something, for example unsubscribe or set receiving messages in digest mode.

Also, it is wise that if you use advanced email marketing software like Group Mail to include important information about your subscribers in every issue of your email newsletter. In other words, to personalize your newsletter.

For example, you can make a section at the beginning of your email newsletter where you will write several text lines so that your subscriber see that he or she really chose to be your subscriber. Many email marketing software have an option to include a code in your issue that will be automatically parsed after sending so the subscriber will see his or her info.

Something like this:

_____________________

MEMBERS SECTION

Your name: !*COMPLETE_NAME*!
Member since: !*MEMBER_SINCE*!
From IP address: !*IP_ADDRESS*!

_____________________

And in your Editor's Section you can start your writing with:

Dear, !*COMPLETE_NAME*!?

That's why personalization is very important.

At the end, you can read several spam messages and - do the opposite in your email newsletter.

______________________________

Dejan Bizinger is a Contributing Editor for Infacta. Infacta is email messaging services company providing powerful, yet easy-to-use award-winning Group Mail, software for sending highly-personalized email messages and Group Metrics, software for email tracking. For more information visit: http://www.infacta.com ______________________________

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