3 Things To Avoid When Emailing Your List

3 Things To Avoid When Emailing Your List

When you decide to have an opt-in list, it is not just a matter of sending your subscribers your promotional newsletters or catalogs.  There are many things to consider in avoiding many complications.  While there are so many ways you can make people subscribe to your list, there are also some things you must do to avoid subscribers from wanting to get off of your list. 

Aside from that, you also want to avoid any problems with the law and your internet service provider.  There are many laws and rules that are designed to help protect the privacy of the internet users from spamming and unwanted mails. With the popularity of the electronic mail as a medium for marketing because of the low cost, many company’s have seized the opportunity and have flooded many people’s e-mail accounts with promotional mail.

But, with an opt-in list, you avoid this annoyance because people subscribe to the list; they want to receive the newsletters and promotional materials.  They have consented to being on the list by subscribing themselves, just don’t forget to put an unsubscribe feature (everytime) in your opt-in list so you avoid any confusion.  There may be times when an email account was provided when the real owner didn’t want to subscribe.

It is essential that you keep your list clean and manageable.  Arrange it by using the many tools and technologies available for your opt-in list.  Don’t worry; your investment in this marketing strategy is well worth it with all the coverage you will get which will likely be converted into sales then to profit.

Keep yourself and your business out of trouble and potential run-ins with the law and the Internet Service Providers.  Keep your operation legit and clean.  Your reputation as a legitimate businessperson and a legitimate site depends on your being a straight and true marketing strategist.  As a tip, here are three things to avoid when emailing your list.

1) Take notice of your unsuccessful sends. These are the e-mails that bounce.  Bounced emails, also known as undeliverable messages, are those messages that, for whatever reason, were not successfully received by the intended recipient.

There are bounces that happen or occur because the server was busy at that time but can still be delivered at another time.  There are also bounces because the inbox of the recipient is full at that time.  There are those bounce messages that are simply undeliverable forever.  The reason for this is that it may be an invalid email address, a misspelled email address, or an email address that was abandoned and erased already.

Manage your list by putting markings on those that bounce.  Erase an email account from your list so you have accurate statistics and records as to how many are actually receiving your mail.  You may also want to check the spellings of your email addresses in your list.  One common mistake is when an N instead of an M is placed in the .com area.

2) Always provide an unsubscribe feature on your site and an unsubscribe link in your e-mails.  When someone in your list files a request to be unsubscribed, always take that request seriously.  If you don’t take them off your list and keep sending them your e-mails, you are now sending them spam mail.

When you are reported as a spammer, you and your business can get into a lot of trouble.  You can be reported to the authorities and maybe blacklisted by many Internet Service Providers.  You will lose a lot of subscribers this way and many more potential subscribers.

3) Do not provide pornographic or shocking and disturbing content in your newsletters.  It is hard to decipher the age of the recipient and many complaints may stem from these.  Controversial issues also are to be avoided to not be branded by your subscribers.  Stick to the nature of your site and business.

Always remember these tips so you can have a healthy relationship with your subscribers as well as staying within the boundaries of what is allowed in sending e-mails to an opt-in list.

Until next time…

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Boiling Like Frogs

Since completing my recent whirl-wind conference schedule, I have been battling a severe throat infection that just won’t go away.  I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve been actually SICK in the past ten years, but this has been one of them!  Started today on a more potent antibiotic… so hopefully this will be short-lived now.


Wanted to (last week) send you this article… but just didn’t have the fortitude to type it all out… (still don’t to be perfectly honest)… but here goes anyway….  I will post a follow up to this article tomorrow… so please take the time to read both… as both go hand in hand for what I am recommending everyone take action on at this time.


You must have heard the story about the frog that sits in a pot of water that is gradually heated. The process is slow and the frog doesn’t notice as the temperature inches up, even when it gets quite hot. Finally, it is too late and the frog is boiled.  Well, we are all frogs in the computer security pot and it is getting awfully hot.


The manufacture and application of malware is no longer the province of script kiddies, thrill-seeking hackers, and occasional malcontents. It has passed into the hands of professionals who are in it for the same reason as bank robbers- money. These people are in the full-time business of removing your wallet. They are located all over the world and are almost impossible to prosecute (if they are ever caught). Not only do they use sophisticated programming but like other types of con men they are masters of psychology and social engineering.


It isn’t just individuals who seem to be ignoring the rising heat. Institutions like banks have been shameful in their neglect of basic security practices. It’s the old story of human behavior when faced with an unpleasant prospect. They hope it’ll go away and they won’t have to actually confront the situation. Security is too much work. Security is inconvenient. Security is unpleasant. Security costs too much.


Well, the problem is not going away. It’s only going to get worse; there are too many easy pickings for the international gangs.  The statistics that get reported are very discouraging. There’s no way of knowing the true numbers but various studies show that maybe 10 to 20 percent of PCs (or more) contain malware. Much of this is some form of Trojan horse that makes the unwitting owners of the infected zombie computer part of “botnet” rings. Even a small number of infected machines is a problem. The Internet is like a giant organism with low resistance and a few infected machines rapidly multiply their numbers.


In my opinion, this is a situation that is rapidly getting out-of-hand. It’s a mess that gets more complicated by the day. You are supposed to have a vast collection of software to guard you. You need a firewall. You need anti-virus, anti-Trojan, anti-spam, anti-phishing, anti-spyware. And of course, all of these programs don’t always play well together. Yes, you can get suites but so far there is no suite without at least one or more inferior components. All these things running in the background result in a big hit to system performance. Next, you need constant security updates for all of this. And you also need security fixes for all kinds of other applications. You need to update Windows. You need to update your browser. You need to update Microsoft Office. You need to update Flash, You need to update Java. And so on. Then there is the problem that not everybody bothers to update. The software companies are trying to make the updating as automatic as they can but the statistics on the results are not good.


Everyone gets “patch fatigue”. We’re numbed by the constant drumbeat about new malware. Even businesses with full-time IT staff have a hard time keeping up. The fact is, even with constant updating, systems are still vulnerable to so-called “zero-day” and undocumented exploits.


Moreover, it’s not just the PC that is a problem. People are becoming more and more connected. Cell phones, iPods, Blackberrys, and other similar instruments are ubiquitous. The criminals are not neglecting these fresh pastures.


I could go on and on with the lamentations and hand-wringing but all that becomes a bit boring.  Let’s look at possible answers.  We have to begin with the sad fact that our fellow human beings are not to be trusted. Most of us are basically decent and responsible people who do not steal or enjoy vandalizing other people’s computers. We would prefer to be able to use the Internet in a spirit of community and trust. Unfortunately, there are always hoodlums, charlatans and sociopaths waiting to take advantage of our trust. So we have to stop believing everything we read on the Internet. We have to treat all emails as possibly suspicious and never click on any links they contain. We have to regard unfamiliar Websites as potentially dangerous. We must test anything we download before we install it to see if it is malware. We have to trust less and verify more!


Also, there is no getting around the fact we must give up a lot of convenience. There is a clear trade-off between ease-of-use and security. Locked doors are less convenient to use than open doors. For example, online operations like banking will have to involve longer procedures. Security can be tedious but we must learn to live with computers that are harder to use. Reports on the Web about the annoyances of the new security features in Windows upcoming release of Vista illustrate that point.


Some people (usually officials who want headlines) suggest that more laws are the answer to the security problem so they urge or pass laws against Internet fraud. These efforts are so pathetic that I have to wonder how seriously the law-makers really take them. There are plenty of laws against fraud already. Does anyone really believe they are going to deter the gangs in places like Uzbekistan, and Iran, and Russia? However, if the legislators want to pass laws, there is a very important way they could help. Let them make fiduciary institutions like banks more responsible for security breaches. At present these institutions are woefully inadequate in guarding your personal data or in guarding against phishing. (There are some exceptions like Bank of America and Vanguard.)


If your identity is stolen, the burden is on you, not the bank. Let the legislators pass laws making the banks, stock brokers, etc. responsible for losses due to identity theft. Make them responsible for safeguarding your personal information. Make the institutions liable and then you’ll see a lot more security. Of course, this will cost money and make things like online banking less convenient but it has to be done. As long as it is really easy to steal somebody’s account information, thieves will thrive. As of now, institutions haven’t the incentive to do much about it.


I also believe the current notion that the PC should be an all-purpose machine with the same basic type being used by everybody from grannies doing email to big businesses with large applications is fatally flawed. Microsoft, Intel and Dell have a big investment in this model so we are probably stuck with it for a while but it makes no sense. A whole lot of the people who use computers at home simply don’t need the power and flexibility of the current PC and they are completely unprepared to do many of the security measures that these systems require. I deal with a lot of ordinary people who have little understanding of Windows and no interest in learning details about how a PC operates. They want something that works like their other appliances. They want to turn the PC on, do some email, surf a little and that’s it. The needs of this large section of the PC users could easily be met with a machine that is a lot safer and easier to use than the present PC type. It would also be cheaper and that’s the rub; there’s no money in selling a box with limited functions. Unfortunately, these average users are the very people who are the biggest security problem.


What about the defenses right there on our own PC? Can we improve them? Previously, I’ve written about “Do We Need a Paradigm Shift in Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware Protection?”, where I suggested that the reactive approach with anti-everything software was clearly not working. The solutions mentioned in the previous article included using virtual machines and I think that may be the best practical solution.


There are various ways to configure your Internet browser to make your computer safer but that’s a subject that involves technical details and will have to wait for another time. Meanwhile, don’t let the scalawags out there ruin your enjoyment of the wonderful world of the Internet.


Tomorrow… I will continue this thread with a suggestive measure you can take now to help with your spam dilemma, which in turn will solve many other dilemmas for you as well.


Until then….




Care to comment on this article?  Your comments are welcomed below….



Watch Out for Phishing Scams

This is just a reminder to be on your guard at all times for Phishing Scams that try to bait you in to giving information about yourself or your security.


One that seems to never stop is the Pay Pal scam.  (No wonder.. look how many Pay Pal accounts there are worldwide!)  It looks something like this:


Your Billing Information! 


Dear PayPal Member,
It has come to our attention that your PayPal Billing Information records are out of date. That requires you to update the Billing Information.
Failure to update your records will result in account termination. Please update your records within 24 hours. Once you have updated your account records, your PayPal session will not be interrupted and will continue as normal. Failure to update will result in cancellation of service, Terms of Service (TOS) violations or future billing problems.
You must click the link below and enter your login information on the following page to confirm your Billing Information records.
You can also confirm your Billing Information by logging into your PayPal account at http://Don’tClickTheseLinks!

Thank you for using PayPal!
The PayPal Team


Just use common sense folks, and remember, Pay Pal, eBaby, nor any bank, will EVER ask you to update your account via email.



We have just been notified of technical issues related to any domain on the AOL service. This includes such mail domains as aol.com, cs.com, and netscape.net.


Here is the notice we received:


“AOL has informed us that they are experiencing issues that are affecting their ability to accept and deliver email to the AOL domains (aol.com, netscape.net and cs.com). They have asked that we notify our clients of the problem and request that you suppress sending email to AOL until they have resolved the issue.


If you try to send email to AOL during this time you may experience TEMPFAILS or non-responsive AOL MTAs.


AOL has not provided us with an estimated time for this issue to be resolved but we are monitoring the situation closely and will send out an update when we have more information.”


We have gone one step further and checked with our contacts at AOL. The AOL postmaster has confirmed what we were informed of, and requested as well that we desist mailing their accounts until such time that their service has recovered from the technical issues they are experiencing.


We were also furnished with this article, telling us the nature of the issue:



Please note that this issue may cause missing mail to AOL, and is in no way under our control. The problem is solely at their end, and we will ensure that you are kept up to date.


This also includes any newsletter subscribers we are sending to over these next couple of days with your June Newsletters…  those at AOL “Probably Will Not Receive” this month’s issue.