Cruise Planners December LB 2017

Spam @#*!&

TomPhoto

Tom Ogg

Every morning I wake up and the first thing that I do is open my email to see what’s going on. It takes me three to five minutes to delete the obvious spam that made it through my spam filter. Then I go to my “Junk” box and make sure that something I really wanted to see wasn’t treated as junk by the spam filter. That takes another couple of minutes. When that is all done then I start to open my email, most of which is more spam from the travel media.

Oooops, there goes the telephone. I pick it up and it’s a robo call. Of course, I hang up immediately and go back to my email. The telephone rings again. I answer and there is a pause on the other end. Then someone asks “Is this Mr. Ogg?” I immediately know that this is a telemarketer, or worse, someone phishing for information. I ask “Who is calling please?” “This is your Google representative.” he or she says. I ask them “Are you an employee of Google?” They hang up. It is the old scam of trying to get your Google access code.

And so it goes throughout the day. More email spam, more telephone spam and more wasted time spent on these nuisances. And, while all of us use the telephone and email every day, I do wonder how much of the email that I send ends up in the recipient’s junk or spam folders to never be read. One has to speculate “Do my clients see my email as spam and my telephone calls as invasive, or worse, spam?” So here are some key points to consider regarding your email marketing campaigns.

It’s a Business

Can you imagine receiving an email from your investment advisor that was sent to a small group of hidden recipients? If you have your email list on your computer and send emails by using Outlook and send to undisclosed recipients, you may have just convinced the recipients on your list that you are probably not very professional.

If you engage in email marketing you must treat it as a business. This means maintaining your list on an email marketing service. There are numerous services and by searching “Email Marketing Services” you can find many to choose from. Each one has their own unique value proposition so understanding your specific needs is necessary before selecting one. Here are just some of the considerations.

Analytics and Reports: How extensive is the information that you can track on each email sent. What’s the open rate, bounce rate, click through rate and so on. Having detailed reports on your mailings will help you understand what is working and what is not.

HTML Templates and Custom Templates: Most email marketing services have many HTML templates that you can use to spruce up your emails. You can add pictures, text and other media. You can have your own email template created to house on the email server that your list resides on. You should also have the ability to send both an HTML email along with a textual email for those that do not see, or want to see HTML emails. This will guarantee you the highest engagement rates for your mailings.

List Management: A professional email marketing service will offer you a way to have new recipients opt in to your list and maintain your list in a quality environment. And, as required by the Can-Spam Act of 2003, each and every email sent to your list will have a one-click “Unsubscribe” link so that those not wanting to continue to receive your email can easily remove themselves from your list.

List Filters: You should be able to pull certain types of information from your list by using filters. This allows you to be precise in who receives your email and who doesn’t because of some criteria that you have used as the filter for the mailing.

They Comply With Email Laws: Professional email marketing services all comply with the various state and federal laws affecting email marketing and offer you a level of security from possibly violating laws that you may not even know exist.

Sending Professional Email

Consistently sending relevant, quality and informative emails is the secret to a successful email campaign. If you abuse your recipients to the tipping point, you list will shrink, your open rate will fall and your results will decline. Here are some tips on how to maintain professionalism in your email marketing.

The Subject Line: How many times have you been suckered into a false or misleading subject line designed just to get you to open the email. Some email gurus tell you that having an engaging subject line is the key to getting the email opened. Nothing is further from the truth. In an ongoing email marketing campaign honesty is the very best way to engage your email recipients. In as few words as possible try to let your recipients know what the email is about so that they can make a decision to open it or not. If it is about a cruise and the recipient isn’t interested in cruising at all, having him waste time opening the email with a “gotcha” subject line will only cost you your recipient’s trust.

Have a Well Thought Out Message: Do not simply keyboard a message and send it out. You should think your message all the way through and organize it in a way to compel the sort of response you are sending it for in the first place. The message should have an opening, a segue to the message that creates demand for it, the message itself, 2 or 3 validation points supporting the message and a call to action. Make it clear, to-the-point and easy to follow.

Proofread: Your email cannot contain typos, misspellings and grammatical errors. You should proofread your message and then have someone else proofread it also. Eliminate all of the errors possible before sending the message out. And, don’t forget to proofread the subject line too.

Avoid Attachments At All Cost: While it is OK to link back to your site or content on it, don’t ever attach files to your email. If your email includes content that needs to be attached in an email have your recipient request a separate email with the attachment.

Maximize Your Signature: Be sure to include all of your contact information in your signature including your social media presence. Make it east for your recipients to respond to your message in the format that they feel most comfortable.

Be Professional: Always maintain a level of professionalism in all of your communications. Consistency is everything in an email campaign and will make a major impact on your email marketing success.

Create an Email Marketing Plan: You should take the time each year as part of your overall marketing plan to establish an annual email marketing plan. Too many emails to your list will result in recipients unsubscribing from your list. Too few emails will remove your business from top of mind. You should set up a schedule that is consistent with your objectives and stick to it with professional and well thought out emails. An effective email marketing campaign will reward you with client loyalty, more bookings and top of mind presence with your client base.