Not everyone with a computer will end up starting an online business, but most of us with computers have email addresses that we check frequently. There’s one thing that almost everyone can agree on when it comes to email: we hate spam!
Spam, or unsolicited email as it is known, is not only annoying, it can be outright dangerous. Many people send viruses out in spam mail. You click on a link thinking you’re winning a free subscription to Sports Illustrated, the next thing you know you’re infected with malware.
Spam is also a way that some overzealous businesspeople hope to get traffic to their sites. If you have an online business, take care not to employ spamming as a tactic. It does more harm than good.
Essentially, spam can hurt a small Internet business in two ways. The first, as mentioned above, has to do with what you’re sending out. The second is what people are sending you.
If you’re operating multiple websites, with landing pages, order forms and the like, you probably have multiple email addresses for each product you’re selling. You have to sort through the muck and, if you don’t notice it, the aforementioned viruses can creep in and take hold should you inadvertently click a link.
First up, let’s talk about how sending spam to advertise your business will hurt your credibility. Look, everyone is well aware that it’s a tough market to advertise in. Even if you have an original product, that doesn’t necessarily mean the traffic will flow in nonstop.
In fact, the more “original” your product is, the more obscure you will be unless can you successfully advertise. It’s better to blend into the fold with a popular product than to never be noticed as original – at least in the business world. So you will have to work to advertise, but spam should never enter the equation.
Mass emailing is a legitimate marketing technique, but this is done by compiling lists of people who may be interested in your product. If you’re sending unsolicited emails to people within the niche, that’s one thing. But to send emails to every Tom, Dick and Harry will spell bad news for your business.
All it takes is a few motivated individuals, disgusted enough with your tactics to smear your name all over the ‘Net. By going to social networking sites, rip-off report, and other business blogs and sites, a few people can easily put the word out and shatter your business hopes, drastically decreasing your traffic.
As for keeping spam out of your business, you will need to install the best anti-spam filters you can find. Viruses are carefully disguised today, and something you think is innocent can easily damage you. Even with your software, you still want to pay very close attention to any mail you’re opening. If you don’t know who it’s from or if it looks out of the ordinary, you can just discard it or scan it for viruses. It may have slipped through the filters.
Never click any links that someone gives you. If you have employees, make sure you develop an email policy and let your employees know not to go opening strange mail without a subject and start clicking links. It’s a recipe for disaster.