Even if you’re sending as few as 25 e-mails from Microsoft Outlook or your e-mail client, as “news” or a “newsletter” e-mail, you could easily get your IP address blocked, preventing future e-mails from getting delivered to your customers – even if you’re just sending a single e-mail. First, let’s understand three important definitions -
IP Address: An IP address is a series of numbers assigned to a device connected to the internet to obtain host/network identification and location. ISPs will use your IP address to determine where your e-mails are coming from. Here’s how to find your IP address.
ISP: An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the company that provides your connectivity to the internet. Each ISP can, and usually does, have their own spam filtering systems. See a list of the top ISPs in the US.
Whitelisting: Each ISP’s spam filtering system works in part by asking those who send bulk e-mails (which can be as little as 25 e-mails sent in a short burst of time) to apply for approval to send such mass e-mails in a process known as “whitelisting”.
OK, so now your head is spinning (as is mine). While we need to be good marketers as small business owners, who has the time or engineering resources to whitelist each ISP?
Fortunately, other service companies with Small Business E-mail Marketing applications have figured this out for us. There’s no need to be intimidated. The software can be rented “as a service” over the Web and the interfaces are simple to learn. Of course some are simpler than others, so here’s a breakdown of the three most popular e-mail marketing services for small business owners -
MailChimp. It’s free up to 12,000 e-mails per month, up to 2,000 subscribers. Their interface is nice and clean and their mascot is a monkey! What’s there not to like?
MyEmma. With an interface geared towards women, MyEmma has a pretty user experience that makes it easy for you to load up your e-mails. You can take a free trial, but the service can be a bit pricey.
ExactTarget. This company’s user interface is a bit more complex, but they have content on their website on how different industries can use e-mail marketing which I find helpful. The most expensive of the three.
Whichever service you choose, be sure to have a local DID number or unique toll free number in case customers want to call you regarding a special offer or promotion within the e-mail message. This way, you can not only track who opens and responds to your e-mails, but who called! This is critical to measure ROI since these e-mail services cannot track phone calls that originate from such e-mail marketing campaigns.
Then you can click the SEND button!