Creating Effective E-Newsletters:Key Administrative Items

By James V. D’Ambrosio

(This is the third in a series focusing on e-newsletters)

Once you have a solid distribution list, you need to ensure your publication arrives without error and in professional form. That’s where e-mail marketing software comes in, allowing users to do far more than send publications — you can create a personalized greeting, schedule a distribution time, and measure key metrics: bounce-and open-rates, click-throughs, the number of ‘unsubscribers’ and more. Two popular applications are ConstantContact and IContact. The work associated with an e-newsletter does not end after it’s sent. Conversely, there are a number of items you should monitor while planning and writing your next issue. 

One is improving deliverability rates. Research indicates that spam is now rampant, comprising more than 95 percent of all e-mails according to some sources. In fact, AOL says it filters more than 2.7 billion spam e-mails daily. To reduce the possibility that your publication is classified as spam, ask recipients to add your sending e-mail address to their address books. This is important, as increasing numbers of Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) are blocking delivery of all e-mails not approved in advance by recipients. To avoid this, send an e-mail notice to subscribers telling them that by doing so there will be no interruption in receiving regular scheduled newsletters.

All nonprofits distributing e-mail newsletters should be familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) effective January 1, 2004. Some key provisions of the legislation include: a) senders must remove all unsubscribe requests within 10 business days; b) commercial e-mail must display the physical postal address of the sender; and c) any unsolicited e-mails must clearly identify that it is an advertising message and contain a prominent notice giving the recipient(s) the opportunity to decline future e-mails from you.

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