by Bob Nunn
Do you know what SPAM is? If you have an email account you do. Have you recently received a message like this?
"Make $10,000 a month stuffing pimento's into olives at home!". The home olive industry is booming and now is the time for you to make your fortune!
What in the world would possess people to send out c$^&$ like this? What really bothers me is that many times the email links to find out more information are invalid. I'm chomping at the bit to make my fortune you know. The other times it only validates your email if you try to respond and you get even more SPAM. Now there may be a real need to folks to stuff olives, I really can't say, but for pete's sake lets put in a valid URL and let people that are interested find out more about it, and a way for us not interested unsubscribe. I wonder how many olives you would have to stuff to make $10,000?
Anyone who is using email campaigns should make it easy for folks to subscribe and unsubscribe. I don't think most folks mind horribly being polled occasionally to see if what a company has to offer interests them.
What you want is a top flight list serve program. There are many out there. Do a search and see what comes up. I use Macjordomo which is platform specific to the Mac OS but there are many variations out there. Many are free or shareware and do a great job. Do a search at TwoCows or any of your favorite shareware sites.
Here are the features you will want to use in your email marketing campaign:
- Nowadays it is okay to include HTML in your email messages. Most email programs are now read HTML. Your logo and item graphics can be shown in the messages. You can might even include forms that allow customers to order. If you can use the text and html feature (it's built into Netscape). That way folks who are still on text mail programs can still get your message.
- If you have a large customer database or list you may want to stage your email releases over a period of time so you won't swamp your customer service folks and keep your shipping on a more even keel.
- You do have a subscribe to your newsletter form on your main page, don't you?
Most types of Internet advertising don't work as well as they once did. People have gotten used to banners and don't click on them as frequently unless they are looking for exactly what you are advertising. Some ezines have failed to keep their readers interest and ads don't always get the response you expect.
Email marketing is the most effective and efficient way to influence purchases and keep customers informed and happy. It is also extremely inexpensive. You can now email one every other week for a tiny cost. By the way don't be more frequent than every other week and make sure you have checked your list for duplicates. You don't want to get stuck in the SPAM Sandwich.
THIS MONTH'S TIP
Of course you want to always go to my http://headgap.com/addurl/ page to find the list in tips and tricks for getting your site top listings on the search engines. Here is a great new one:
GoTo.com Inventory Search:
This URL takes you to the GoTo.com Tools & Tips" area. Once there, you'll find a link called "Search Term Suggestion List." Click on it and, after a new window opens, enter any term that you wish to research. You will be shown how many searches were done for that and similar terms for the last month. Similar terms are typically those that include your actual search term as a portion.
Slow Web Sites Lose Customers!
Optimize your graphics! I recently discovered Fireworks (it had been there all along, but version 3 is exceptional). I downloaded a demo. I thought I was really good and getting my graphics small. I knocked another 10-20% off my graphic sizes just using the program straight up, while still maintaining the excellent quality I expect. The preview mode is terrific! It has batch features that let you do a whole folder of graphics in just seconds. I now own Fireworks 3.
Want to save an additional 10-20%? Get someone with a real html editing program to clean out the un-needed constipation caused from Front Page. What I mean is, it is okay to do this stuff in house but every once in a while you should send your existing pages out and let a pro clean them up for you and send them back. Look at the differences in sizes and other implementation changes.
Most web professionals know how to re-use that expensive download time by repeating graphics on subsequent pages. The browsers store the graphics so the loading time is fractional of what the initial loading took. Make sure your folks are taking advantage of this. Use text menu's where possible and minimize the amount of java used on a page. While it may look cool your site abandonment rate will decrease if you do. I still use the old hold your breath while the page loads for the first time on a 56k modem. If I run out of breath before the page finishes I cut the page down. Thats about 100k maximum total for html and all associated graphic files.
Coming Next Month - Web Site Reporting
Next month I am going to talk a bit about web site reporting and how instead of looking at all the impressive 3D graphs, you can actually use the information to make improvements in your site. Of course your boss will still be impressed by the 3D graphics, but you can also tell them about the improvements.
Bob Nunn is President, Operator Headgap Systems, http://headgap.com, http://tfbbs.com, http://www.PreOwnedMac.com
President, AppleCore of Memphis, Inc., http://memphisapplecore.com