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Master mass marketing with basic email etiquette

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BY ROBIN FOLLETTE

It happens to all of us. We sit down to sift through email, deleting the junk mail, flagging the important pieces and reading our favorites first.
And there it is, the email that was mass sent to multiple recipients. Every time a recipient hits “reply all” you’ll get that email again. Your risk of spam and viruses just increased. Your email address has been shared with strangers. When it happens too often it’s enough to make anyone want to hit “unsubscribe.”
Our press releases, book reviews and other media documents are an important part of our communication within the industry. These tips will help you manage the email aspect of your business without creating unnecessary headaches and losing potential clients, customers and contacts.
1. You’ve rented the list of email addresses from an organization of which you’re a member. It’s a great idea. You know everyone on the email list shares a common interest. You can introduce yourself, send a press release and otherwise communicate with the members. What should you do first? Read the guidelines for using the list.
2. Always “bcc” the email addresses. Everyone belongs to the same organization but most are not friends or even acquaintances. Using the “To:” line shares private email addresses. If one member forwards that email to someone outside the organization, they’ve shared those addresses with strangers. Sharing email addresses in this manner increases the risk of spam and viruses.
Sharing emails in the “To:” line provides the email addresses to people who might not have not paid for the right to use the list. It also allows people to accidentally hit “reply all,” flooding inboxes and sometime sharing information not intended for the whole group. If someone forgets to use “bcc” you should not hit “reply all” when you respond.
3. If you forget to use “bcc,” own the mistake. We forget, we get busy and accidents happen. Apologize quickly and sincerely to anyone who complains. Don’t argue or make excuses to those who point out the error.
4. Don’t sneak unpaid use of a membership list. Administrators will remember your personal and business names. You want to protect your ability to use the list in the future.
5. Email is often the first impression you’ll make. Always be professional. Use appropriate greetings and closings. Spell check. Make your signature relevant to your email.
6. Resize photos. Outdoor writers might be reading from places so remote there’s little signal to download email. Clearly label your photos. PIC000123456 looks like spam. “Maine Moose Hunt” or “Kayaking Utah” is eye catching.
7. Send photos as attachments rather than inline. This keeps photos from being sent back and forth in replies.
If you’re having an unusual number of email problems you can create an email address specifically for membership lists. It’s fairly easy to change that address when necessary. Keep a list of which organizations need the new address.
Make the most of the membership list. The contacts are invaluable as friendships and business relationships are formed. Use the list, and use it wisely. ♦

—Robin Follette has been homesteading in the woods of Maine for over 25 years. She hunts, fishes, gardens, forages and raises most of her family’s food. She is a Hooked On Fishing – Not On Drugs instructor and leads outdoor skills workshops. http://robinfollette.com.

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