Recently I've received a spate of email newsletters sent through a regular email client such as Outlook. The emails of the recipients were simply pasted into the To: or Bcc: fields.
Mostly they were from people I'd met at networking meetings (who had added me to their lists without my permission).
I hope that they were from people who are fairly new in business and are still learning how to behave online.
I also hope they learn quickly that doing it this way does not create a professional image in the minds of their recipients.
There are many services that distribute email newsletters and other information to a list: Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, iContact, aweber and lots of others.
Here's why you should use one of them rather than sending out bulk email through your regular email account.
1. You'll look professional
Most of these services have ready-to-go designed templates. Or you can have your designer match your newsletter to your business logo and colors so that your image is consistent across all media.
2. It's easy to subscribe
Put a sign-up box on your website and people can sign themselves up, without any action from you. This leads to permission-based marketing: by signing up they are giving you permission to contact them.
2. It's easy to unsubscribe
And yes, people WILL unsubscribe. It's automated and they can unsubscribe themselves so you don't have to be involved. It's all registered as well, so if there are any disputes, it's easy to track who did what.
3. You can track results
You can see who's doing what with your emails: opening, forwarding, clicking on links. With this information you'll know what's working well and what not so well so you can make decisions about what to include in future editions.
4. Low cost
You can send an email to many people at once without cutting, pasting or sorting email addresses. Your investment of time and energy is small.
5. Easy list management
You can segment your lists and customize your emails to the recipient. For example, you can send an email only to people who signed up for a teleclass, or only to current clients, or only to past clients. Your marketing will be more targeted and your emails more relevant to the recipients.
6. Keep your email list private
Only the recipient's name appears at the top of the email. Other email addresses are not visible so you can't unintentionally broadcast everyone's information.
7. Comply with the CAN-SPAM regulations.
That's the law that went into effect in 2004 in the USA to make spam illegal and protect consumers from unwanted emails.
Reputable providers have the legal requirements of CAN-SPAM build into their systems so you don't have to worry about compliance.
There's an old saying 'how you do anything is how you do everything.' Whether you like it or not, people will draw general conclusions about you based on how you act in specific situations. Using an email distribution service is one easy way to create a positive, professional impression. And that's what you want.
Copyright 2013 Maggie Dennison. All rights reserved.
Maggie Dennison helps independent professionals and owners of small businesses speak and write so that their ideal clients know why they need them.
More info on her website at http://www.MyMarketingMessage.com