Ryan Allis

Ryan Allis is the CEO and co-founder of iContact, a leading on-demand email marketing service. As CEO, he's managed iContact from its start in July 2003 to its current size with more than 90 employees and 25,000 customers worldwide. In 2005, Ryan was named by BusinessWeek as one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25." Ryan is also the author book Zero to One Million: How I Built a Company To $1 Million in Sales and How You Can Too, published by McGraw-Hill. As an email marketing expert, Ryan will provide guidance in his blog posts on how to enhance and improve your online marketing campaigns.

For the past century, traditional advertising was all about grabbing the customer’s attention. The flashier the advertisement, the better. Advertisers created flashy billboards and catchy jingles so their product would stay in our memories. But with current technologies like TiVo and DVR, we’re less likely to pay attention to a ton of advertisements.

How have ad agencies fixed this problem? Well, they’ve had to rethink their strategy. Advertisements have a new rule: we, as consumers, will pay attention if they provide value for us. Internet TV usually makes us watch a 30 second commercial to get to the goodies. I personally don’t mind the ads as long as I know the show is on its way.

The same holds true with email. As long as you give your customers value, they’ll pay attention to your ads. When I send an email, I wrap the most important content around my company logo. I include links to my company’s website in the message. But I’m always sure to provide content that my readers want. I recommend sending messages that give your customers relevant content. I personally love it when a company lets me know about a good sale or a new product.

Ultimately, if we want our ads to grow our business, we have to provide premium content to our customers. It’s about a pleasant experience, not about selling.

However, spam mail breaks this new rule. Next time, I’ll explain why spam is ignored and how to avoid falling into this trap.

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