As you may recall, we send these Daily Nuggets out using a process in our own office. At least 3 people are involved in preparing these every day and the Nuggets are tested on different email readers and cell phones before sending them to you. It's part of our job to do this for you and we spin these out fast enough using our internal process instead of paying an outside service.
On the other hand, you need to spend time selling jewelry and not fiddling with sending email, so it would behoove you to pay for a service.
Let's name check some services. We do not specifically recommend any of these, and each one will work depending on your needs.
1. Mail Chimp - This is built into Gmail and could make your life easy.
2. Constant Contact - This is probably the de facto standard when you want easy to set up newsletters and graphical emails.
3. iContact - Another good company for sending graphical newsletters.
4. Mailer Mailer - Yet another good company for sending graphical newsletters.
5. AWeber - When you really want professional email marketing, this is the service to use because it's programmable.
Each of these systems have snips of HTML code (commonly called widgets) that you can add to your website with ease. Just make sure you follow our guidelines from yesterday when writing your "hook" message to convince people to sign up.
As you venture into the world of email marketing, you need to follow the rules of the "CAN-SPAM Act," so let's talk about those. The US government put forth this Act to thwart the hackers and email companies that were selling email services. Those companies still exist and they have some really unscrupulous ways to trick you into opening their emails.
None of the paid services above would ever allow you to break the CAN-SPAM Act. As part of their monthly fee, they keep the technology for sending email in compliance with the Act.
Here's what you are not allowed to do:
1. Don't use deceptive subject lines to trick people into opening your email.
2. Don't create an email address that you otherwise would not use simply to send spam.
3. Don't send sexual content unless your readers specifically authorize it.
4. Don't send emails to anyone who has requested to be removed from your list.
Here are the things you are required to do:
1. Include your jewelry store's physical mailing address when emailing customers.
2. Include directions to allow for opt out of future emails.
3. Keep a master DO NOT MAIL list within your store.
(So, as we're writing this, we are forced to bang our own heads against the wall because somehow on July 4, 2011, our own disclaimer was turned off. We've been sending these emails for 6 weeks without complying to the CAN-SPAM Act ourselves! One of the above paid services would never allow you to make such an egregious mistake.)
Here's an example of what you should include in the footer of all the emails you send:
You have received this e-mail because you opted in to the JEWELRY STORE email list either from our website, during a recent visit to our store, through our Facebook Page, or during an online purchase. To avoid future newsletters, special sale notices, and birthday discount coupon emails from JEWELRY STORE, please reply to this e-mail with the word 'UNSUBSCRIBE' as the subject line of your message. Our mailing address is JEWELRY STORE, ADDRESS1, CITY ST 12345. Our Phone number is (888) 888-88888. Thank You.
Read the above notice carefully. You see we included very specific wording that explains what the customer will be losing out on. Most of the time email marketing disclaimers only say "to opt out of this newsletter," but the CAN-SPAM Act requires you to maintain a master list to prevent all future solicitations. This means the person is opting out of contests, special events, monthly newsletters, anniversary discounts, birthday discounts, etc.
When someone opts out of your list, it's their way of telling you to go away. They might think your emails are boring, or maybe that you are always trying to sell them something. Once opted out, you are limited to direct one on one emails relating only to service notifications when their repair is ready or when their special order has arrived.
Tomorrow we'll cover some statistics of the best times of the day, week, and year to send emails and how your customers are reading them.