When evaluating email marketing applications, it's important to know some of the buzzwords so you're properly informed. As a small business owner, you'll greatly benefit from email marketing, since it helps you stay in contact with your current or potential clients. It's also an important service that can greatly increase sales. Therefore, it's important to be informed before making a choice on an email marketing solution.
The following is a glossary of email marketing buzzwords that you might come across, and what they mean to you and your business.
Email Authentication: These are various bits of information that identify the sender to the Internet Service Providers (ISP's). It's an accountability for the messages that you're sending out. The latest technologies in this field include Doman Keys, DKIM and SPF records. A good email marketing software provider will take care of these technologies on your business' behalf, so you don't have to worry about it. If you speak to an account executive, ask if they're taking care of email authentication for you, and inquire about which technologies they're using.
Domain Keys (DK) or Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM): Are signatures added to your messages to verify the sender (or domain) and the content within the message. This helps get your messages into your subscribers' inbox, since it's information that spam bots/filters can identify. The best email marketing organizations have this in place, so your messages have the best possible chance of landing in your subscribers inboxes.
Spam: The common term for unsolicited bulk email. When an email is sent to an address that didn't opt-in (or give direct permission) to receive the email, or is sent multiple times to the same address, it's considered Spam. The most respected email marketing companies won't take on customers who are planning to send Spam messages. In fact, the top companies will catch Spam messages, and prevent them from being sent.
Tracking: Once you send out a message, you can track opens, clicks, forwards, and bounces. The best email marketing companies will have a comprehensive tracking beacon allowing you to see which of your subscribers have opened, clicked and forwarded your messages. You'll also be able to take this information and use it for future campaigns. It provides you with a better understanding of your subscribers, and allows you to develop a strategy to market to them accordingly. "Opens" relates to which of your subscribers have actually seen the content of your email, by clicking on it in their inbox. "Clicks" are a list of subscribers that have pressed on one of the links in the email that you have set up. Look for an email marketing application that will give you information as to who clicked on each link and when they did it. "Forwards" lists the subscribers that have passed your message onto other interested parties. "Bounces" are the emails that didn't arrive to the intended reader, either because the subscriber's mailbox was full, the address no longer exists, their server has timed out (meaning the end computer wasn't responding to the original computer's message) or because the security features on the subscribers account are set extremely high.
Make sure that you know what you're looking for in an email marketing application, so your campaigns will be successful. Look for companies that give you the best possible chances to get your email into the inbox of your subscribers.
Robert Burko is President of Elite Email, the complete email marketing package used by small, medium and large businesses around the world. You can deploy comprehensive email marketing software for your business with a no-risk free trial. Start harnessing the power of email marketing today!
Original: December 29, 2008