Just say no to spam... and yes to technology

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E-mail marketing has become a staple in today's marketplace. Unfortunately, the proliferation of spam and identity theft scams has drastically reduced the effectiveness of the practice and has buried the applicable e-mails under mountains of garbage. While many people still get excited to see junk postal mail arrive in their mailbox, that sentiment typically does not carry over to an inbox full of junk e-mails.

Ironically, the solution to the spam problem is what caused it in the first place: technology. There is no reason for e-mail marketers to send spam to potential customers in light of the software applications, such as CRM products, available today that allow marketers to track potential customers and weed out those who will consider their messages spam. Here are a few tips on how to implement technology to eliminate the perceived need to send unfocused, blanket e-mails.

Know the customer
Many companies send mass e-mails because they are not sure who will be receptive and who won't be. So, they send the message to everyone hoping that the interested ones will actually read it and buy into whatever it is they're asking them to do. The way around this is simple: Know who your potential customers are. Take notes on your potential customers' likes and dislikes, not just data gathered based on what Web sites they visit, but real, personal information that will give you clues on how to approach them in your e-mails. The ideal solution would be to use a technology that allows you to take notes right within your contact list in your e-mail program, which for most of the world is Microsoft Outlook.

Automatic e-mail distribution
If you're keeping good notes on potential customers within your e-mail program's contact list, the next step is to use a technology that allows you to set up automatic e-mail follow-ups that can be designated to go to a specific customer or group of customers on a given date and time. This allows you to set up targeted messages to go to potential customers right when you discover important information that will draw them to a particular product or service. Then, you can move on to another project, knowing that the e-mail will be sent to the customer at the right time with the right information.

Do it all with one application
Finally, use a solution that pulls these capabilities all together in one unified application, preferably one with which you are already familiar. This will make sending targeted, personalized marketing e-mails that much easier. A big reason many companies send spam is because it is easy. By using a software application that accomplishes the above tasks within a program you are likely already using, such as Outlook, the ease of sending spam is replaced with the ease of sending personalized, more effective e-mails to potential customers.

Because of its simplicity, the temptation to send blanket spam e-mails will always exist, but it's important for marketers to realize that by using the right technology, sending targeted e-mails to the right potential customers can be just as easy and much more effective.

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