Handling spam is not something that is a mystery to anyone who uses email regularly. It is almost out of the question for anyone to operate a computer on the internet and not have some form of spam protection software working to catch bad emails and delete them or trap them to a quarantine folder. But if you have worked with any of the popular spam protection software packages, you know those services have to be “trained” to know what is spam and what is not.
Probably the most common method for determining spam is by email address. So when you installed your spam protection software, the first thing it will do is import your address book and build a list of email addresses that you will allow into your inbox without question. This favored contacts list is one you will manage and update regularly as you add new contacts both personal and professional.
From a merchant perspective, one of the most prized lists that online retailer can hope to get on is the customers favored user list. This is because once a customer flags an online merchant that they are allowed to send the customer emails without question, that customer becomes an A-list candidate for specials, discounts, special sales and other marketing methods that the online merchant may use to encourage sales.
From a retailer point of view then, one of the top methods for avoiding email delivery problems is to “get white listed” by your customers so you can exchange emails with them freely and often. The theory behind how to get white listed is not complicated but the methods can get pretty creative. The theory is very simple. You have to make the customer want to see your emails. How to do that opens up all kinds of marketing ploys to appeal to the customer to invite you into your email inbox as often as you wish to show up.
The first opportunity you have to entice the customer to add you to their favored contacts list is when you do an email verification of membership when they first sign on to be a regular part of your web site “community”. But event then, one rule applies universally for how to get customers to want to see your emails. You have to convince them that there is something in it for them.
To create value that you will deliver to the customer’s email box from time to time, you just have to know what the customer wants. Discounts and coupons are very popular items that customers will often seek out. When the customer opts in to become a part of your web site community, you can take that opportunity to solicit the customer about special offers, discounts and coupons. Few of us can resist a good deal so when the customer signs on to get those offers, that is the time to remind them that all they have to do is add you to their favored contacts list in their spam software to make sure those “once in a lifestyle” deals don’t go into the spam graveyard on their computer.
Other “goodies” you can use to entice customers to add you to their favored contacts list are newsletters, autoresponder courses, ezines and give aways. If you notice a customer is a regular contributor to one of the blogs on your web site, offer to email to him or her each new blog entry. To see the latest ramblings on that blog, that customer will eagerly add the email address to their favored contacts list and you have accomplished your goal.
Now every one of these marketing tools we have mentioned have additional sales potential in them as well. Newsletters that deliver regular entertainment and education to your customers also can carry advertising for your products or advertising that other merchants pay to include in your newsletter. Many online merchants have developed a large secondary income source when their newsletter became suddenly very popular with a large circulation. So put some work into these marketing tools because they could take your business in an entirely new direction.