Does your company use an email marketing service? Why not? It is easy! There are several different service providers, but few that are totally free and considered a best pick by the Business Daily News. Recently Mailchimp was selected as the 2018 Best pick for free email management system and part of the 2019 100 Top Software Products making it a great option for the small business owner on a tight budget.
A mailing list system can do many things beyond just collecting addresses. Mailchimp, for instance, will help track recipient permissions which will reduce the amount of undeliverables or spam blocks. It also provides a host of reports, design templates, prevent duplicates, and some basic text design options.
MailChimp's Forever Free plan allows up to 2,000 subscribers and a 12,000 email send cap per month. The free option provides access to all of MailChimp's design and list-building tools, automation options, and a host of reports. Most systems will also export data in a number of different formats. Anything over that and there is a small fee ranging from $30 to $150 per month.
Building a list – Many systems try to help reduce SPAM email by urging list builders to get permission for using an email address. Sometimes it is implied permission through the collection of business cards and sign-up sheets. Using a sign up list at an event is a great way to get connected with a lot of people fast especially if you indicate on the sign-up that the addresses will never be sold or shared. Even then SPAM, unwanted emails, still continue.
Leveraging your information -- An email list would not be very effective without an email address, and if one adds a bit more information, it can be a critical marketing tool for your company. Some of the ‘essential’ information could include first and last names, and zip code.
Let’s say you would like to generate a custom thank you letter to your customers. The mailing list with a zip code, for instance, could allow you to focus an electronic marketing campaign on a geographic area. The list could facilitate sharing information such as a coupon, sale, or event with the people most likely to attend.
According to a 2004 report by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft founder Bill Gates received four million emails per year, most of them spam. One can't hardly imagine what that might mean today!
Generally, the more information the list contains, the more ways that it can be used to focus your marketing efforts. For instance, including information such as gender, age, income, family composition, and preferences would make it possible to target a campaign at customers living in a particular area with children and a dog, for instance. Finally, these databases could also store behavioral information such as if the customer is a coupon user, likes to eat out, is a repeat or long-term supporter, or are very important to your business.
Managing your resource--In the ‘old days’ organizations would sell or 'rent' their mailing lists as a way to earn money. Consumers were then bombarded with email from companies they had never done business with. Email spam has steadily grown since those days nearly 90 percent of the mail delivered in 2014. The practice of selling and renting mailing lists is prohibited by law (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN-SPAM_Act_of_2003 for more information).
The email term ‘spam’ comes from an immensely popular 1970 Monty Python sketch in which Spam is ubiquitous, unavoidable, and repetitive. What an amazing peak into our future, eh? 
In 2009, the estimated cost of spam to business was around $130 billion. This is quite a jump from the first email spam message sent in 1978 by Gary Thuerk to 600 people. Legal remedies were created by nearly every country, and even in many states. Legal definitions vary a bit, with no ‘silver bullet’ solution for control in site. You can find Oregon’s ‘Requirement to develop safeguards for personal information’ at https://www.oregonlaws.org/ors/646A.622.
According to a 2014 report by Cyberoam, there are an average of 54 billion spam messages sent every day. In the end we should all feel quite lucky at the relatively few spam messages that we get. According to a 2004 report by Steve Ballmer, Microsoft founder Bill Gates received four million emails per year, most of them spam.
South Coast Development Council, Inc. uses Mailchimp to help distribute and manage our email lists. We are sharing this information (but not our lists!) in support of better business practices and business retention and expansion activities. Effective use of email can help expand even tiny businesses. Having a dependable and free tool creates opportunities for use and abuse to everyone. Use it with care!
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