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Are Your Spam Blocking Techniques Costing You Customers?
I recently sent an email to a business who had run advertising on my site - it was time for her to renew, so i was emailing a courtest reminder. Seconds later I was greeted with an autoresponder emailing back. No, it wasn't to tell me that "Mary" was out of the office that day. It was essentially telling me that tough luck, Mary was not checking any email from that address because of spam.
Instead, they directed me to use the contact form on her site. And while they did provide a link in the message it was not a link to the contact form for convenience. But rather, it was a link to the home page, where I had to scroll down a few pages of content before I hunted down the tiny "contact information" link on the very last line of the page.
If I was a customer would I have bothered going to this trouble? Probably not. I was pretty turned off by the event, and it reflected on her business poorly. If I had been a customer, she should want me to be able to contact her easily. But instead, she makes the customer jump through hopes just to get ahold of her. She would have lost me as a customer.
But what about the various Spam Blocks program? These are programs that block every single incoming mail message an "unapproved" person sends. Anyone on the unapproved list receives an email back saying that the email message will be deleted within a few days if the sender does not click on a specially coded link.
My first experience with this program was when I sent an email to a woman I was interested in purchasing some products from. Instead of an email reply from her, I got a Spam Blocks email telling me I had to confirm who I was, otherwise my message would be deleted.
Did I click? No, I took my three figure order and went to her competitor instead to place my order. That woman lost my order because I had to prove to her I was a legitimate person before she deemed me worthy enough to even read my email.
So what can you do if you are getting bogged down with spam but want to keep a professional image?
First, use a business email address that is ONLY used for business. Don't sign up for any listservs or newsletters with it, don't enter any sweepstakes or do any other high risk activities with that email.
Second, use an obfuscator to
help hide your email address. Alicorna
has one you can use for free. It will turn firstname.lastname@example.org into :you@exam
Third, use contact forms on your site, but never use them exclusively in place of a real live email address. Some people will never submit a contact form, but will quite happily send an email to the same recipient.
Fourth, use a program such
as MailWasher as a spam maintenance program for your in box. As the name
implies, it will "Wash" your email and send all spam into a
spam folder. The program uses "learning filters" so it can identify
the emails you commonly delete so it can better identify spam. Some email
programs have this kind of feature built in, but MailWasher has the far
superior technology when it comes to identifying between spam and legitimate.
Mailwasher is free for thirty days, and you can then choose a free version
with fewer features, or a paid version with all the perks at only $37.