Managing your small business e-mail distribution list

Managing an e-mail distribution list for a small business with 20 clients is easy, managing a list with more than 100 clients is not easy. Fortunately, significant improvements have been made to the tools we use to manage and distribute e-mail campaigns to your customers.

The first efforts to deliver e-mail campaigns to customers were pretty straight forward. The general process was to collect a bunch of e-mail addresses in a text file or spreadsheet and simply copy and paste the addresses into the BCC field of your favorite e-mail client.

Eventually, desktop applications emerged allowing businesses to better manage the list in a database and by 1999, Spider Creations was managing and distributing HTML and text e-mails (at the same time) to customers using an online PHP tool tied to a mySQL database. Users could sign up for the list on the client’s website and remove themselves easily.

Although that tool did (almost) everything we could envision we wanted to do, the e-mail spam problem soon made it virtually impossible for a small business to send out bulk e-mail unless they were willing to spend the big dollar fees for a dedicated mail server that could not be associated with any of the thousands of servers who were sending out the junk.

Recently, multiple companies have sprouted up dedicated to ensuring your bulk e-mail got delivered to your customers. Spider Creations is currently using two services, Constant Contact and MailChimp to deliver e-mail for our clients after we have created the campaign.

Both distribution providers have strict rules to ensure distribution lists include members who want to receive e-mail from our clients. These rules exist to ensure our distributors have good relationships with the big-player ISPs and spam filter companies who actually let the mail through to our customers. (Trust me, you don’t want to have to call Cox Communications and ask them why your e-mail is not getting through.)

Along with a good relationship with the ISP, it’s very important you have a quality list with members who want to get e-mail and that your e-mail campaign is of high quality. If as few as three out of your total of 1,000 customers click that Report Spam button, you could have quite an issue to resolve.

Other features of Spider Creations’ e-mail campaign services include:

  • Double opt in lists, have them confirm registration via e-mail,
  • list cleaning (target and remove those from the list who do not open your e-mail),
  • collect first name, last name, e-mail address and more to allow for distribution of personalized e-mails,
  • automatic bounce and e-mail rejection handling,
  • HTML and text e-mail delivery,
  • full reporting on the percentage of customers who viewed and clicked on a link in the campaign e-mail,
  • automatic daily, weekly or monthly e-mails including posts from your RSS feed,
  • create new distribution lists based on who clicked on a specific link, and more.

If you’re interested in getting your e-mail campaigns off the ground, contact us and we’ll get you started. We can take your current distribution list and migrate it to one of our selected vendors depending on your business requirements and help you manage and deliver your campaigns.

Our e-mail distribution service management can be offered combined with our website maintenance program or as a stand-alone service.

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Steve McGough

Steve is the owner of Spider Creations, with a focus on working with micro and small businesses to help improve their Internet presence.