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Sending out e-mails without it looking like SPAM!
Getting a message accross!
Stickymaster




msg:788030
 10:43 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi all, I have a reseller package that I wan't to promote. Basicaly the reseller package is aimed at hosts etc.

How do I send out an e-mail to these companies informing them of my reseller package without it looking or sounding like SPAM.

How should I start off such a letter.

Do I be descrptive?

Do I be concise and to the point, making it brieff?

Any tips, advice or pointers would be really welcome as I have never done this type of promoting before.

Cheers,

Stickymaster.

 

mole




msg:788031
 10:58 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

> without it looking or sounding like SPAM.

If you're sending it to people who haven't asked for it, or haven't opted-in to your mailout, then it's spam.
It doesn't matter what it looks like, how concise or verbose it is.
If they didn't ask for it, you're spamming them.

Where did you get your mailing list from?

mack




msg:788032
 11:05 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

The only real way you can get your message across with out having your own mailing list is to buy space on someone elses list. This is not always cheap but if you chose the right mailing list it can be a very targeted method of getting you message to suitable clients. Sending mail on your own to random addresses or even selected adreses is spamm and i dont think very many people will tolorate this. They might not take any action, but i dont think they will read it either.

Stickymaster




msg:788033
 11:12 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi guys, thanks for your replies.

*If you're sending it to people who haven't asked for it, or haven't opted-in to your mailout, then it's spam.
It doesn't matter what it looks like, how concise or verbose it is.
If they didn't ask for it, you're spamming them.*

All I want to do is send out an e-mail to 20 or so randomly picked companies and inform them of my reseller package. Surely that can not be spam? Surely I can contact someone with a genuine business proposition without it being deemed as SPAM?

Where did you get your mailing list from?

I'm not sending out a mailing list. I just want to offer a few hand picked companies to ask them if they would consider a business proposition.

Cheers,

Stickymaster.


rcjordan




msg:788034
 11:21 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

>Surely that can not be spam?

Spam is in the eye of the inbox owner. My guess is that more than half of them will consider it as spam *IF* it gets beyond their filters in the first place. (You hit three spamwords according to my filter rules in your first sentence, and one more in the second.)

I'd use snailmail for this proposal.

mole




msg:788035
 11:29 pm on Apr 21, 2002 (gmt 0)

There's a couple of big issues that cause trouble when you want to send out e-mails like this: the first one is 'bulk', the second one is 'unsolicited'

Your'e probably OK on (1) - I guess twenty or so is hardly 'bulk' so you aren't going to, say, upset your ISP by sending 20 e-mails.

The other issue is that your target recipients don't want your e-mail - you just wish they did - so it's unsolicited.

No matter how much you want them to hear your message, think about it from their end - how are you going to word the subject?
"A business proposition for just twenty hand-picked partners"
"IMPORTANT NEW RESELLER PACKAGE"
"Please read this proposal"
"Software Widget just released...."

No matter what you say it's going to look like 'spam'

The only things you can do is..........

send it from a real e-mail address which people can reply to.
include a link to a valid and credible looking URL.
Give them a phone number.
Tell them your company name, address and contact details.

bird




msg:788036
 12:29 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

In addition to the above:

Don't send the same message to all of them. Write an individual text for each person you're addressing, with specific references to their site and/or business, and why you selected them as a potential partner.

willtell




msg:788037
 2:08 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Why don't you call them and ask them if you could send them your information. This way people know you are a 'real' company and not just another ripp-off.

Or you could send them some direct mail.

My personal feeling is that all unsolicited email is spam and I will never do business with any company that doesn't go to the effort to at least call.

The return on unsolicited email is so small why waste your time. If you're only sending out 20, why not create a great package that you can send out by regular mail.

Lisa




msg:788038
 2:55 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Indivually send them if it is only 20. Having a name of the person you are trying to reach helps too.

Give you phone number in your sig.

buckworks




msg:788039
 3:23 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

<<Why don't you call them and ask them if you could send them your information. >>

Gaaack! An unsolicited phone call is a LOT more intrusive and inconvenient than an unsolicited email! I would not want a phone call unless I had agreed to receive it, which means the person would have to write to me first.

<<If they didn't ask for it, you're spamming them.>>

I don't agree with this, not if you're sending a letter to each person individually -- a letter which clearly indicates that you have done your homework, explains how you found them and shows how your proposal could fit into and benefit the other person's business. Such a letter might be unsolicited but I certainly wouldn't consider it spam and I doubt if many others would.

<<(You hit three spamwords according to my filter rules in your first sentence, and one more in the second.)>>

Rcjordan, this and a comment you made the other day make me think you have unusually aggressive email filtering. I'd be interested to hear how you set up your filters so as not to lose legitimate business mail, newsletters, etc. along with the supposed spam.

chiyo




msg:788040
 4:03 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Wehn we really want business from people these days we send a letter or a fax! With spam almost killing email, suddenly people are catching on that the extra investment (cost) people put into these other methods, means they may contain more valuable information.

Remove all "marketing speak". Make it a nice formal letter.

I know its more expensive, but it makes you target more efficently. A phone call is good too for follow up.. Did you receive my letter?

All pre-email era common sense of course, but agood letter now has much more chance of being taken seriously. Most people know that SPAM comes to email boxes, and dosent cost the sender hardly anyting. Letters and faxes have a much greater investment by the sender already.

Stickymaster




msg:788041
 10:58 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Hi guys, thanks for all the replies, much appreciated.

I will try to utilise all the advice and suggestions pointed out.

Once again thanks,

Stickymaster.

Crazy_Fool




msg:788042
 11:50 am on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>All I want to do is send out an e-mail to 20 or so randomly picked companies and inform them of my reseller
>package. Surely that can not be spam? Surely I can contact someone with a genuine business proposition without it
>being deemed as SPAM?

please don't randomly select me for your spam.

Mark_A




msg:788043
 12:30 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Imho the answer with all this type of direct marketing work is to spend as much time pre qualifying as possible.

You should know what kind of customer you are seeking and why, you should know which individuals (if one or more) will take the decisions to buy or not to buy your offering and when (budgets wise) this may take place.

If you only have 20 targets, call the companies and ask for the names of the individuals who you really need to speak to, do not be offensive or evasive with the receptionist, ask their name and give them yours. You need their help don't kid yourself their sales people are doing the same sort of thing with their target customers.

If they / the gatekeepers / appear open and receptive ask to speak to the individuals right there are then. If they advise you that that individual does not take calls ask them if they advise you to send an email or a letter to introduce yourself, mention that you were advised by the (named) gatekeeper in the email or letter to use this method to make initial contact.

If you can write to more than one person, (buying group) and tell each that you have written to the other. (this reduces the likelyhood that your communication will go straight to the bin because they may want to speak to the other especially if they are senior before binning it).

A couple of days after they should have received your letter or email call them to follow up and ask if there is any interest.

If there is not you can ask them if it would be ok for you to contact them again in the future and ask them how soon might be appropriate.

You will get some idea from this whether you have any chance or no chance. If you think you have no chance with this individual monitor at a later date because people change and move jobs, a number of my clients are companies whose previous decisions makers pretty much told me to f* off but their replacements have turned out to be so receptive that they are now customers.

There should be an approximate model as to how long it takes to turn interest into business, do not expect more than the model then if / when it happens it will be a pleasent surprise.

Many of my web design customers give me actual business 6 to 12 months after I initiated contact with them and after a number of communications each way during which they have gotten to know

- who I am
- what I do
- why it may be of interest to them.

Hope this helps and wishing you all the best.

Stickymaster




msg:788044
 12:34 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

*please don't randomly select me for your spam.*

That offended me because I don't believe it is spam.

Mark_A thanks for your reply, very informative and true. I shall heed your advice. When I made my post your reply is what I was looking for - thanks. I'm not discounting the other posts but you summed it up perfectly.

Stickymaster.

Travoli




msg:788045
 2:07 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Right on, Mark. If it is 20 e-mails, a phone call is a great way to start a relationship.

bird




msg:788046
 2:36 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

*please don't randomly select me for your spam.*
That offended me because I don't believe it is spam.

The keyword here is "randomly".

You used the two qualifications "randomly picked" and "a few hand picked" in the same post above, which makes me think that you still need to make up your mind about what you actually want to do.

As soon as there is even the slightest hint of randomness in your activities pertaining e-mail, you've already crossed the border to spam. If you hand pick your recipients, and write an individual message to each of them, then it's not.

Crazy_Fool




msg:788047
 2:58 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>As soon as there is even the slightest hint of randomness
>>in your activities pertaining e-mail, you've already
>>crossed the border to spam. If you hand pick your
>>recipients, and write an individual message to each of
>>them, then it's not.

i disagree. any unsolicited commercial email, however worded and regardless of how many emails the sender sends, is spam.

anyone who thinks otherwise is more than welcome to all the spam i get. just give me your email addresses and i'll set the spam filter to automatically forward it.

bird




msg:788048
 3:27 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

any unsolicited commercial email, however worded and regardless of how many emails the sender sends, is spam.

That's not the generally accepted definition.
[spam.abuse.net...]
Spam is flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it.

Of course, if you're a private person, deleting anything that looks even remotely commercial might be a workable strategy.

If you're a business, and simply delete any commercial inquiery that is sent to the contact address listed on your site by people you haven't heard of before, then I'd like to have you as a competitor... ;)

Crazy_Fool




msg:788049
 4:36 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>>That's not the generally accepted definition.
>>http://spam.abuse.net/overview/whatisspam.shtml

no, that is their definition of spam.
spam is spam is spam.
no exceptions.
you can't get around it by sending 20 emails then changing a word and sending another 20 and so on. it's very easy to run a script to send "personalised" spam with the company name (domain name) in the body of the message, ie,
Dear yourdomain.com,
by abuse.net's definition this might not be spam as the same message is never sent twice.

the only organisation with any real strength in the fight against spam is CAUCE and they don't agree with abuse.net's definition either.

quote from [cauce.org...]
The definition of "spam" is a tricky issue, with as many strongly held opinions as many other age old questions such as "the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin" and "chicken versus egg." For example, many define spam as unsolicited electronic mail sent in bulk. Others believe "bulkness" is irrelevent, it's merely a matter of whether the message sent was solicited. Still others debate the importance of whether the message was commercial in nature.

Due to the nature of Internet email technology, each email message, whether it is bulk or not, whether it is solicited or not, whether it is commercial or not, costs the recipient more than it costs the sender in terms of both money and resources. These are facts that make the definition of spam very tricky.

nuff said.

rcjordan




msg:788050
 5:09 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

It is the individual inbox owner that defines what is, or is not, spam. All the definitions in the world won't keep the same email from being perceived as OK, tolerable, or intolerable when viewed by the recipient.

Personally, I have very high "contact privacy" thresholds. For instance, even my snailmail is filtered... only First Class postage gets through the first gauntlet, everything else goes directly into the trash unopened. If you can find my phone number, I wouldn't suggest calling it, as it'll die on the answering machine (take that, whois harvesters). So, you can imagine that my email filters fairly bristle with protective armament. I don't think it's possible to write me an email on anything about a topic like hosting without have my filters shoot it down in flames. So, algorithimically speaking, I see that as spam because I'm typically not interested.

bird




msg:788051
 5:14 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

I'm not completely sure whether we're disagreeing about words or about concepts here.

If we use a very narrow definition of "commercial" that equates to "advertizing", then we're certainly in the same boat.

If we use a broader definition of "commercial" that equates to "pertaining to business matters", then I don't understand your position at all (and the CAUCE citation doesn't support it either).

I was under the impression that stickymaster was trying to craft e-mails of the latter type, even if his own choice of words confused the issue quite a bit. Well, at least I hope for him that this was his plan... ;)

Laisha




msg:788052
 5:21 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

any unsolicited commercial email, however worded and regardless of how many emails the sender sends, is spam.

I agree totally with that definition.

It doesn't matter to me whether you send out 20 or 20,000. The ones that hit my inbox are the ones I am concerned with. Your one makes you one of between 200 and 300 I get every day of my life.

What do I do with unwanted email? I report it all to SpamCop, delete it without reading, and make a mental note of the company that sent it. I will not do business with these senders.

If you want my business, make your "pitch" findable on the net. If I'm interested in a product, I look for it.

My motto: Don't email us. We'll email you. :)

rcjordan




msg:788053
 5:35 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

>use a broader definition of "commercial" that equates to "pertaining to business matters"

I establish what pertains to my business matters on my contact pages and, unless I have a form or instruction on how to approach me about it, then someone is making presumptions about how I like to do business AND -more pointedly- presuming that their transmittal is worth my time to read.

Stickymaster




msg:788054
 6:18 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

*The keyword here is "randomly".

You used the two qualifications "randomly picked" and "a few hand picked" in the same post above, which makes me think that you still need to make up your mind about what you actually want to do.*

Well what I meant was that i will hand pick, but I will randomly hand pick. Does that make sense?!?

*Of course, if you're a private person, deleting anything that looks even remotely commercial might be a workable strategy.

If you're a business, and simply delete any commercial inquiery that is sent to the contact address listed on your site by people you haven't heard of before, then I'd like to have you as a competitor...*

I agree bird.

rcjordan - some valid and noteworthy points.

Crazy_Fool - you are set in your thinking, we could go on all day about the definations of spam. Lets agree to disagree.

Heeding some of the advice, tips and pointers on this thread I will be starting my promotion campaign soon. I will keep you's informed of it's success or faliure.

Thanks all for the replies.

Stickymaster.

seofan




msg:788055
 11:24 pm on Apr 22, 2002 (gmt 0)

Stickymaster, I have been pondering the same scenario.

Although our correspondence would be purely professional and not "list oriented", we still do not want to offend potential clients / partners in business.

Therefore, the concensus was to create a very professional direct mail letter to each individual company. It should show that our company cares enough to put extra effort into our business relationships. Convenient email relationships will then be established after proper contact is made.

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