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One of the hardest things to do is email marketing. It requires an understanding of how major mail servers determine if they should fill your inbox with what someone is sending, or block it. Many times you can block it yourself, and many people do.

You have to understand the use of different IP addresses to send from, the concept of “warming up” and domain name, and the time it takes to build your “reputation” to a point where servers will open up and let your mail go through. These are very specific detailed functions of email marketing.

Just as with search engines, email servers, like Gmail, try to provide you with what you are interested in, in the best way possible, and not serve up a bunch of junk mail or SPAM.

This is where the basics of marketing really make a difference, and understanding the aforementioned details of running an email marketing campaign. A few points to consider. If no one opens your emails, that reflects badly on your campaign and the servers are unlikely to continue letting those emails through.

If people label your emails as SPAM, you run the risk of being blocked or blacklisted, which is almost impossible to get around.

So, you need to make sure the email “subject” is in the self-interest of your target market, and the content in the email is interesting, too. That way some people will open it. That reflects favorably on your campaign and the servers know it, and will let more emails through.

Types of Email Campaigns

You have to find email addresses from a reputable company or gather them yourself. This represents two entirely different types of audiences and campaigns.

If you have contacts with people and companies you know or do business with, you can send them through a service like Constant Contact or Mail Chimp. In this case you have to verify that you have an existing connection with them. This is the best approach but it’s not easy to develop a large email database.

The other type of campaign is where you acquire email addresses from a third party. This gets really tricky. Finding a provider for your email list requires research and diligence to see if the email addresses they have are real and current. Companies that run email campaigns have “scrubbers” that will go through the email lists to determine this, but that’s not perfect either.

Email service provides, like Gmail, will always put out fake email addresses, which companies buy and resell without knowing it. These are called email “traps”. When one of those shows up on a Google server, they know it is fake, and they know where it came from. That will usually cause the sending IP address to be blacklisted somewhere, and… you’re done!

The one thing you don’t want to do is use your own domain name for email marketing blasts, especially if you’re using a list from a third party. There is just too much risk. If there are a lot of phony email addresses, or email traps, then your whole domain can be blacklisted affecting everything from your email to your entire web presence. Once that happens, it can make life very difficult.

Email marketing works, but it is about the toughest, most difficult process to go through. If you don’t have experience with email marketing, it’s best to speak to, and get advice from, companies that do.

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