Spam-Me-Not: Avoiding too much hype
Keep in mind when constructing your messages and building your subscriber list that there are two types of marketing: “cold selling,” or unsolicited e-mail; and opt-in selling. It is highly recommended that you do not engage in cold selling. This is considered spam. If enough people report your address as spam, you will be banned from ISPs and search engines. The occasional sale you see from cold selling will not be enough to compensate for your being blacklisted on the internet.
On the other hand, building an opt-in list is a perfectly acceptable and highly successful method that will keep you from being labeled bad business. With an opt-in list, people ask to be added to your subscriber database because they’re interested in your topic. Opt-in subscribers should always be given the option to opt out…but you would be surprised how many people don’t bother clicking the unsubscribe link, and eventually make their way to your site to investigate your product further.
When preparing your autoresponder messages, it is imperative to strike a balance between excitement and hype about your product. You must avoid wording your messages so that they look, feel and smell like spam, even if they have been requested. This means following the rules of creating direct and simple messages as described above (no writing in ALL CAPS, or putting seven exclamation points at the end of every paragraph). There are also a few other deadly spam sins to avoid:
Do not write your message in 18-point Impact Red or other “flashy” font styles and sizes. This does not draw attention to your product; it draws attention to your inexperience. It’s perfectly acceptable to use color in your autoresponder messages, and in fact may help to strengthen that three-second lead time by pulling attention to those compelling subheads you wrote (you did write compelling subheads, didn’t you?). But for the most part, keep your entire message in the same font and type size, using emphasis like color, bold and italics sparingly for effect.
Do not stuff your messages with “cool” graphics, animated smileys, or a dreaded Flash presentation. This slows down load time considerably, and many people won’t wait for your incredible pictures to appear on the screen.
Do not use chat language, or “leet,” in the text of your message. Even to people who know what LOL, IMHO, IOW and ROFLMAO* stand for, this is not professional and does not score you any “friendly” points. And if your subscribers don’t know what these abbreviations stand for, they will be quick to dismiss you as inept. (*In case you don’t know yourself: LOL=laughing out loud or laughing on line; IMHO=in my humble opinion; IOW=in other words; and ROFLMAO=roll on floor laughing my a** off.)
Do remind people that 1. they are receiving your message because they requested more information (or a friend suggested they would like to receive the information; see the following section on name squeezing for further details), and 2. they can opt out of further messages using a link you have provided at the end of the message.
Next post: Spam filters: Is your message zap-proof?
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