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The Truth About Legitimate Email Marketing!

 


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                 ** DEMC ** Volume X No. 15 **
        The Truth About Legitimate Email Marketing!
          Serving the Internet Since November 1995

Quote for today:

"It takes as much courage to have tried and failed as it does to have tried and succeeded." - Anne Morrow Lindbergh
_________________________________

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What's In This Issue - Features

1) Editor's Note: "The Truth About Email Child Protection Laws"
2) Marketing Insights: "14 Keys to Writing Effective E-Mail Copy"
3) Feature Article: "How To Combat Affiliate Saturation"
4) SOHO Help Desk: "10 Keyword Success Tips"
5) DEMC's - Advertising Information



======================

1.

Editor's Note:

"The Truth About Email Child Protection Laws"

Well I wish I were writing with better news. As promised, today I'll share with you what I learned from the teleseminar I attended last week on the new Michigan and Utah Child Protection laws.

If you missed last week's issue, here's a quick recap. Michigan and Utah have put in place child protection laws. These states have set-up Do Not Email registries for individuals to enter minors' email addresses. Marketers potentially face stiff fines as well as jail time if they send email to a registered minor's addresses and the email contains material or links to material which kids can not lėgally see or respond to.

Before I go into what I learned from the teleseminar let me first say - I am not a lawyer. The information and opinions that I share are those of a professional online business owner. If you want lėgal advice be sure to seek the assistance of an attorney.

What did I learn from the teleseminar?

1) If you send commercial email, any type of commercial email, and you do not check the address against the registry before you send it you are potentially liable.

Yes folks, it's that bad.

The law has given parents the ability to sue. So if a Michigan or Utah parent wants to sue you for an email you've sent to a registered minors address he/she can do so.

The laws do not clearly define what products and/or service a minor is prohibited from purchasing, viewing, possessing, participating in, or otherwise receiving. However, the State of Utah's department of commerce is attempting to add further definition to what types of advertisements are covered. You can review their policy statement see - http://www.commerce.utah.gov/dcp/PolicyStatement.pdf

So even if your email is not promoting anything "forbidden", you could be sued. And if you're promoting a product / service covered by the laws the potential for a suit increases. All your email has to do is be sent to a registered minors address and if its content or if it links to content that irritates a parent, that parent can sue you.

Now will parents sue with abandon? I can't answer that. But I would expect come August the law suits are going to start. It appears the only way to avoid liability is to check every address of a person you do not know against the Michigan and Utah Do Not Email registries before you send them an email.

2) The costs involved for checking every email before you send is going to be expensive.

In last week's email issue, I noted that the fees to start are expected to be 0.007 cents for Michigan and 0.005 cents for Utah per address on your list. I said a list of 100,000 names would cost $12. I'm sorry to say, but my math was off by a large factor. The costs for a 100,000 name list will actually be $1200 per scrub.

So essentially if you want to avoid all liability, before you email to any address, you're looking at being charged over a cent an email.

How often do you have to check?

What you'll have to do is check every new subscriber before adding him/her to your list. Plus you'll have to check your full list every 30 days.

What are you potentially looking at in terms of costs?

Well for a 10,000 list which acquires say 100 new subscribers a month. The cost will be $121.20 monthly. A 50,000 list with 500 new subscribers would be $606 monthly.

Needless to say paying these fees is going to make email marketing much more expensive. For the small business marketer, email marketing just became much less attractive.

3) If you're thinking CAN-Spam makes the Michigan and Utah Child Protection invalid, as of right now it does not. Any business with a presence in the USA needs to follow these laws. This law does not just apply to businesses in Michigan and Utah, it effects all businesses with a presence in any of the 50 US states.

The only way the Michigan and Utah Child Protection laws will be invalidated are if law suits occur and the outcome of the court cases invalidate the laws. Or if the federal government passes a new law invalidating the Michigan and Utah laws or otherwise supersedes these laws.

In addition to hearing this reality at the teleseminar I also read that a spokesperson for the Direct Marketing Association said that while the new laws may in fact be pre-empted by CAN-SPAM, "for anyone marketing legal products who might need to be careful about not reaching minors, scrubbing against the [Utah and Michigan child protection] registries makes sense."

4) Emailing to customers and double confirmed subscribers is not a defense.

Should you email to an address that is on the registry, even if the address belongs to a customer who purchased from you or is an address which double confirmed their subscription, you are potentially liable. You have to chėck the address against the registry before sending an email to be sure.

5) It is expected that non-Michigan and non-Utah parents will register their children on these states lists.

While the non-Michigan and non-Utah parents are free to register addresses, these parents have no lėgal ground to sue you should you email forbidden material to one of these registered addresses.

6) Email Service Providers (ESP) are potentially liable as well.

While the laws say that ESPs are not liable, it is still very possible that if you are an ESP you could be sued.

How?

A parent who is upset about an email that was received may choose to go after every party involved in the sending of that email. The thinking being that the ESP may have deeper pockets to pay the fines than the actual sender. Only through law suits will precedent be set to either uphold that ESPs are not liable or that yes, in fact, ESPs are liable.

As a result of this fact, you may see ESPs changing their terms of service. ESPs are likely going to tell customers to scrub their lists. ESP are also going to require that their customers have to indemnify them, paying all lėgal fees in a law suit.

Unfortunately the new Michigan and Utah Child Protection laws make email marketing a much riskier endeavor for all parties involved.

You are going to have to decide how your business will respond.

Of course, you may choose to not run your list against the States' Do Not Email registries, thinking that your content will not bother anyone and the likelihood of a suit is minimal.

However, if your are promoting any potentially "forbidden" material, I would think twice about doing nothing. The categories that are the most dangerous are: alcohol, tobacco, pornography or obscene material, gambling, lotteries, drugs (pharmaceuticals, prescription drugs - illegal or not), vehicle sales, fireworks, firearms. You'll also want to be very careful if you offer matchmaking or dating services, financial services - loans, credit cards, bank accounts and travel services - car rentals, airplane tickets, hotels, etc..

You might ask, what do we intend to do with DEMC?

We are going to change.

As of August 1st the layout of DEMC E-Magazine is going to look dramatically different.

Over the course of the next 2 weeks we are also going to email our older subscribers asking them to reconfirm their subscription. Any one who does not confirm will not receive DEMC E-Magazine after the 1st of August. So if you receive an email requesting confirmation please respond.

Our goal is to shrink the size of the DEMC subscriber base and focus on our most responsive readers. With a smaller list, should we believe the content of an issue is potentially dangerous, the cost to scrub the list prior to emailing will be more affordable.

In addition, our SendFree autoresponder service is going to change. We will be eliminating the ad exchange portion of the service completely. The ad exchange is now too much of a liability.

The SendFree terms of service are going to change to reflect the need for members to use the Michigan and Utah registries. And we'll be adding in the ability for members to export their database lists in order to scrub their email addresses.

We also are looking into setting up SendFree to automatically check every address for our customers prior to adding it to their autoresponder database. [If this is a service you'd be interested in let us know with a quick email to - scrub the at sign sendfree.com and we'll keep you informed.]

I disagree with these new state laws. Frankly I see them as an email tax, plain and simple. Still I am taking them seriously. I do not want to be the guinea pig fighting out a court battle.

You need to decide how your business will handle the laws. And, if changes are necessary, make the adjustments now so you are ready for August 1st.

Abbie Drew
DEMC Editor
mail@demc2.com


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2.

Marketing Insights:

* Exclusive *

"14 Keys to Writing Effective E-Mail Copy"
By Aran S. Kay
http://www.professionalcopy.ca

Internet Direct Mail (IDM) and Traditional Direct Mail (TDM) both have the same goals in mind. They are to generate leads or orders.

However, marketers need to respect that online media and print media present different hurdles in achieving this goal. Some of these hurdles will require that copy be written differently for each media. And some not.

Here is a list of 14 things you should remember when writing copy for Internet Direct Mail. And how each one relates to Traditional Direct Mail.

1. FROM and SUBJECT are very important. During the anthrax scare in America, these two items became very important in TDM because any given envelope could contain a deadly poison. And while this fear has passed for TDM, it is still very present in IDM. That's because any given e-mail could contain a computer virus. Prospects are more apt to simply delete a message they are unsure of nowadays than risk opening it and ruining their computer.

Here are a couple of tips to solve this problem:

-FROM line should display someone the readers will trust

-for house lists, the prospect has presumably bought from the company before and would trust them. So include some companyidentifier: "FROM: Macromedia FLASH Team"

-SUBJECT line should be treated like envelope teaser copy. You have to give the prospect some reason to open the e-mail to see what is inside. "SUBJECT: Try The New Update For Your Macromedia Product!"

2. Your first paragraph or two should contain a mini- version of your whole e-mail. So instead of carefully spreading out your 4 P's (Promise, Picture, Proof, Push) or AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action), you should try to get all these elements in early. Online users have little patience in general and they need to know your whole offer fast.

3. For readers willing to spend the time to read every word of your e-mail (God bless them), you can expand on your opening later. Just remember that less people will read right to the end than will scan your first couple of paragraphs. So include all your best stuff up front.

4. Avoid using "hard-sell" techniques in IDM. These tend to produce poor results. Readers on the internet expect to see information. The information can be on the benefits of your product and how to order, but the tone must remain helpful. If it's slick, your email will be trashed.

5. You should include multiple response options for your prospects. But ALWAYS remember to have a web-based response mechanism. Many online users prefer to keep the entire transaction online. That way the user keeps control and does not have to worry about more salės talk or being upsold when they call in.

6. Limit the amount of click throughs in your IDM piece. Usually only the first 2 or 3 get used. The rest are ignored.

7. Premiums still work online. Maybe even better. You have the Opportunity online to animate your premiums in action or even make them interactive. Try this out and see how it effects your results.

8. Sweepstakes work great online. This is because it is usually much easier for the prospect to quickly fill out their information on online than to fill out a paper-based application and then have to mail it.

9. Avoid the word FREE in the subject line. FREE is too blatantly promotional a word for people to bother opening your e-mail. Besides that, many online users now employ "spam filters" which work to screen out unwanted mail. FREE is often a work that these filters pick up and then they'll delete your message before it ever reaches the prospect's inbox.

10. A headline is a headline is a headline. Start your email off with one that will draw your reader into the package. Try to make it different from your SUBJECT line. Your best benefit up front usually does the trick. Injecting a news feel and some self-interest doesn't hurt either.

11. ALWAYS include an removal statement! The only thing more powerful than good will towards your company is ill will. Don't make any prospect feel like they've been spammed. Include an un-subscribe or remove statement at the end of your e-mail.

12. For once, shorter is better. In TDM, we all know that long copy generally works better. But in IDM, brevity is the key. If some of your prospects require more information before they make a purchasing decision, include a click-through to an expanded version of your e- mail.

13. Remember in IDM, you can use viral marketing techniques. This is not possible with TDM as you cannot tell a prospect to make 10 copies of your message and then pass them on to neighbors and friends. But in IDM, make sure the prospect understands that your fantastic deal is not exclusive to them. They should pass on this message to others they think would be interested.

14. Online users prefer free trials or bill me later offers to money-back guarantees. While online transactions are rising every day. Some prospects are still wary about sending their crėdit card info over the internet. They would much rather just send their shipping info. Try the product for a while. And then choose their payment option when the time comes.

###
Aran Kay is a marketing consultant and freelance copywriter with experience working for Nintendo, Direct Energy, Kellogg's and more. He has written numerous marketing articles and includes a selection of them on his web site. http://www.ProfessionalCopy.ca is also your source for "The 52 Best Marketing Web Sites." It's a great resource and yours FREE just for visiting his web site.


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3.

Feature Article:

* Exclusive *

"How To Combat Affiliate Saturation"
By: Dermot Hogan

It's no secret, the most popular affiliate programs are that way for a reason. They are usually a quality product that sells well.

The problem with this for the new affiliate is that they see links for these products everywhere. How will they get traffic to their links with all that competition?

There is a simple solution to this problem. Instead of trying to find a way around it, use it to your advantage.

Most people will not buy the first time they are exposed to a product and likely if they went through a affiliate link will not remember the url to the product. So target these people with your advertising. You can do this very cost effectively on the pay per click search engines. Most people don't bid on the terms this group is searching.

Take Marlon Sander's course "The Amazing Formula". It is very popular and Marlon is a very well known marketer. On overture there were over 400 searches a month for "The Amazing Formula", but the top bid is only 5 cents. The people searching for this have likely been exposed to this product at least once. They are likely already considering buying this product.

However you should not advertise your direct link for the affiliate program. Instead write a review or testimonial for the product. Then weave your special offer link (explained below) throughout it. Even better would be to create a free report and offer it by email on the same page.

Side Note:
Make sure the affiliate program you choose gives credit to the last affiliate link clicked. Some programs like Clickbank only give credit to the first affiliate link clicked.

The next thing you need to do is make a special offer to your potential prospects. Since they have been already exposed to other affiliates, you should give them a reason to buy from you. Offer them a bonus if they purchase through your affiliate link. This should be something related to the product like an ebook you wrote or bought rights too.

Look at it from your prospects point of view. Who would you buy from, a person who wrote an honest review and gave them a bonus incentive, or someone who just threw up a banner.

###
New, Unorthodox, and Sometimes Even Strange Ways to Grow Your Internet Business- Subscribe to Dermot Hogan's ezine The Twisted Marketing Report at
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4.

~/~ SOHO Help Desk ~\~
http://www.demc.com


"10 Keyword Success Tips"

Today's SOHO Help Desk reviews how to find keywords to improve your Search Engine promotions.

If you have a valuable tip, promotional idea, question or answers you would like included in an upcoming issue of DEMC, all you have to do is submit it by email to - mailto:helpdesk@demc2.com

=== 10 Keyword Success Tips ===

More on Keywords
By S. Housley

Keywords are the heart to effective Internet searches. Whether optimizing a web site or searching for a hard-to-find item, consider tapping resources to locate a variety of keywords. Identify keywords and phrases that are relevant to the products, services, or information you are promoting or searching for.

1) Synonyms
Use a thesaurus to find terms that are related to a primary keyword. Searching on a synonym will often bring up different Internet search results. A thesaurus groups words that are similar in meaning. Usually, you reach for a thesaurus when you have a word in mind and you are looking for a similar term. Keep in mind that no two words mean exactly the same thing. We turn to a thesaurus to find different, more expressive ways of speaking and writing, this is particularly important when related to keywords.

WebReference - http://thesaurus.reference.com/
Merriam-Webster - http://www.m-w.com

2) Singular and Plurals
Using the plural form of a word in many of the search engines, may result in a different batch of search results, than a search using the word's singular form. It is important that websites be optimized for both singular and plural forms of critically important keywords or phrases.

3) Meta Tags
Look at competitor or similar web sites meta tags to determine if you have overlooked any obvious keywords or phrases. This is very easy to do, simply view the source of the web page and look for a tag in the header that says [meta name="keywords" content=].

4) Conjugate Verbs
Conjugating verbs in keyword phrases will also vary search results. Epitomize a variety of pages for critical past, future and present tense keyword phrases.

5) Qualifiers
Use qualifiers to vary the meaning of a search phrase or keyword and bring additional results. Qualifiers usually are adjectives or adverbs that helps modify and limit the extent of the meaning of a noun or pronoun, while an adverb helps modify a verb in a similar way.

6) Abbreviations & Acronyms
Abbreviations and acronyms should be employed in a variety of forms. Extend abbreviations and acronyms to full word phrases to encompass as many possible combinations as possible.

7) Misspellings
A significant number of searches conducted each day are misspelled. Include common misspellings in the meta tags of optimized pages to capture any traffic that is mistyped or misspelled.

8) Shake it Up
Mix up the order of keywords in phrases to encompass a broad range keyword phrases. Keyword phrase word order variations can be a great source for new keyword phrases.

9) Hyphenate
Consider hyphenating search terms, as this is likely an area competitors are unlikely to venture. The hyphenated term could score well in search engines.

10) Determining Keywords

Additional Resource for Determining Keywords -
http://www.small-business-software.net/determining-keywords.htm

Optimizing a site for a variety of keywords will give your site the advantage of being found by relevant searchers. The extra keywords could result in increased profits from customers who might not have otherwise located your web site.

About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage http://www.notepage.net a wireless text messaging software company.


======================

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