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Top 8 Questions from Email Marketing Webinar

May 4th, 2012

Stamps.com recently held a webinar on email marketing for small business owners that was presented by email marketing leader Silverpop.  If you missed the webinar, watch the recording below:

During the webinar, we had many questions regarding how business owners can start an email marketing program as well as questions on building lists, dealing with CAN-SPAM laws and other great topics.  We’ve answered some of the top questions below:

Question from Mendoza: Does your email tracking system use the “Show Pictures” in order to determine if the email was read?
Answer: Yes, the loading of images inside an email is the default method that all email service providers use to determine if the email was opened.  We also look at clicks on links inside the email (it’s possible to have clicks on an email that did not have the images load).

Question from Mikhail: Can I buy email data from a third party to add to my existing email list?
Answer: Using email best practices, we would highly encourage all businesses NOT to purchase email lists from any third party sources.  Buying data from other vendors could be in violation of CAN-SPAM laws if the vendor’s privacy policy did not alert the customer their data was going to be shared and/or sold.  Also, you’ll have no idea if the purchased email addresses are good, quality data.  If the list contains a lot of bad email addresses that bounce (known as a “hard bounce”), the data could cause massive deliverability and reputation problems for your entire email program.  Overall, you are much better to build your own email list up organically.

Question from Edward: If I change email service providers, would my email addresses that are on my current provider’s list come with me?  Or must I start over again with another firm to grow my email addresses?
Answer: For most email service providers, your email lists and mailing templates are your property and should only be used by your company.  You should be able to easily export your list and then bring it to any email service provider you use.

As an email best practice and to comply with CAN-SPAM laws, you should always record the time and date (called timestamp) each customer signed up for your list, the method of which they signed up (contest, newsletter, etc.) and the IP address they signed up from.

When switching ESPs, most likely the new vendor will ask you some questions regarding how the emails were obtained, if they were opt-in as well as other questions regarding the data.

Question from Scott: Is there anyway I could get a print out of your slides that were shown today?
Answer: Yes, Dave has published the slides on the Silverpop SlideShare page.   Also, you can watch the webinar video at the Stamps.com YouTube page.

Question from Rex: Can you elaborate on how to generate a new email list for small business owners who are just starting?  Is that part of your services at Silverpop?
Answer: There are many different ways for you to start building your email list.  The process can take some time, so don’t get worried if your list is smaller when you first start out.  The goal is to have a targeted list that is very interested in the product or services you sell. And that can take some time to build.

Some ideas to help build a list are:

  • Providing a white paper or guide on an industry topic
  • Offering a newsletter with special deals
  • Making a purchase on your site (using an opt-in box for permission)
  • Offering a contest or prize
  • Offering tips and tricks to be more efficient in your industry

Silverpop also has a ton of educational materials listed in the “Resource” section of their site to help give you ideas on how to create and manage an automated email program.

Question from Daniel: We see the benefits for retail sales. However, we are a law firm. Can you elaborate how Silverpop and email marketing in general will help attorneys reach out to new prospective clients?
Answer: Lead generation and lead nurturing are concepts many service industries are using with great success. Whether it is offering a white paper on a specific legal topic or providing expert legal advice on a hot subject, each contact you have with a potential customer is a method for you to prove you are an expert in the field.  You can read much more on these topics in our Resources section at Silverpop.com.  Air New Zealand is a great example of a service company having great success using Silverpop for their email campaigns.

Question from Brian: We sell products that people only need to buy once (CD’s and DVD’s) so it’s been difficult to come up with ideas to regularly contact our customers and convert them to repeat buyers. Besides New Releases of music or movies, we don’t have a lot to talk about. We want to use email marketing but we are concerned that our emails will be the same “10% Off that CD you already bought” – not  a good pitch!
Answer: Your best strategy might be to recommend new content based on what someone has previously purchased. This would require a little bit of database work and some categorization of content (you often see these examples when checking out on an Amazon purchase). For the music lovers, you might be able to include local concert dates, blog posts or other information on the artist.

Question from Gene: We want to market to our customers who have paid for items with Paypal. Can those email addresses be added to our email list?
Answer: This would all depend on if PayPal included an opt-in box to receive other “marketing emails” on their form.  As far as I can remember, a PayPal purchase would be a transactional email and you would not have the necessary opt-in permission to email them.  (Note:  Transactional emails have different rules when it comes to CAN-SPAM laws – get advice from an attorney that specializes in email marketing before sending any email.)   If your company is aggressive, you might send an email (called a “permission pass” to that audience asking for a one-time opt-in to receive marketing messages from your brand.  But certainly best practices would suggest you do not add them to your list without first getting the customer to opt-in to your list.

Question from Hector: Do you have any case studies from Insurance Agencies (home, auto and life) to increase or drive more sales?
Answer: Click here to see case studies from many different companies and categories in the Silverpop Case Study library.

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