Some call it newsletters, e-mail marketing, direct onlinemarketing, but we all know it as SPAM, the necessary evil for every wannabe 21st century marketer. So for those of us wanting to get clients to read mass emails, here are 10 tips to transform that SPAM into a positive ROI marketing tool:

1- DON’T TRY to mass communicate via your personal email client (outlook, hotmail, gmail, etc.), not even if you are sending to a small list. For technical (IT) reasons this just won’t work! Instead, hire an E-mail marketing firm (ConstantContact, iContact, MailChimp, etc.), which is the only way your emails will hit inboxes.

2- Grow your list organically! Ask for emails at every brand touch-point. Collect emails by adding a “join our mailing” button on every page of your website and on your Facebook, MySpace and Twitter pages, plus guest books on physical touch-points also help.

3- Focus on repeat customers! Focus your attention on building a premium list of high frequency customers. People who bought from you are more likely to buy again and read your spam!

4- Include an UNSUBSCRIBE button on every communication. You don’t want irrelevant names on your list that will drive up your cost of conversion; the name of the game here is "Less is More!"

5- Add a “JOIN OUR LIST” and a “FORWARD TO A FRIEND” buttons on all your on-line communications, including your corporate emails.

6- Create a SING-UP page or widget, make the process as simple as possible – request only necessary information. Most relevant data-mining and segmentation can be done with name, age, sex, zip code. Don’t forget to set up a nice auto-response welcome letter. I strongly suggest you attach a discount coupon to the welcome letter if you are in the retail/service industry.

7- Several email clients and Smartphones restrict images (blocked content). Therefore, aside from having a plain text version of your email make sure to include in the e-mail’s html code a brief description of the art/image you are attaching in your communication, i.e. product name & price.

8- What is the best time to send mass e-mail? According to several Internet researches, the best open rates can be achieved if communication is send mid-week (Tuesday-Thursday) around lunchtime. Given the different US time zones, try 10am-3pm.

9- Subject Lines will make or break your campaign! To avoid being picked up by spam filters, don’t use more than 30-40 characters or 5-8 words, NO CAPS, no spelling errors, avoid the words “free” and “guaranteed” at all costs, and never include $, %, !!! or ? signs.

10- Given that is harder to read text on a monitor than off a magazine page, the content of your e-mail marketing communication needs to be on average 50% less than its printed version. Article summaries with a “read more” link can do wonders for your click-through-rates (CTR).

Hope this helps, and feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.