title:Help, My Inbox is a Flood Zone! Online Event Planning and Strategic Email Response author:Dina Giolitto source_url:http://www.articlecity.com/articles/online_business/article_3589.shtml date_saved:2007-07-25 12:30:15 category:online_business article:

The idea of starting your own online event seemed harmless enough. You thought, oh, I’ll just create a little website where computer geeks can have an online Technology Convention, or Animal Lovers can have a Pet Parade, or Donut Officials can swap recipes at the Donut Hole, or… (fill in your own idea and niche market here).
And then what happened? Word spread. Emails starting coming in. And then emails starting POURING IN. And now? You can’t get a lick of “real work” done because you’re inundated with emails from folks who want to know more, more, more.
HOW are you supposed to be a skilled Event Commandier if no one can find you under that mountainous pile of overdue correspondence? Solution: Employ Strategic Email Response.
Here are a few tips to protect you from the email deluge and keep you on top of your online promotion game.
1. Divide and Conquer. Can you separate your email correspondents into specific classifications? For example, if you’re running an online event, you might quickly figure out that Active Participants and Volunteers counts as one grouping, and Passive Spectators and Prospects counts as another. In the world of email communication, never the ‘twain shall meet.
2. Stockpile Your Email Arsenal. Basically, I’m saying pre-write the emails. If you’ve carefully planned your event from A to Z, then you know at which stages you want to send out alerts, revive the group’s enthusiasm, get them to click those links, announce time-sensitive developments or send out notes of appreciation. Write your standard email reply ahead of time so you can grab and send as needed.
3. Employ List Management. There are several well-known email list managers out there that you can use to track open rates and send targeted campaigns. Three off the top of my head: ConstantContact.com, AWeber.com, KickStartCart.com (also has an e-commerce feature built in). Several of these comes with a free trial that can really come in handy if your event is scheduled to run its course in less than three months’ time.
4. Spiff it Up with HTML. There’s something about an HTML layout that reduces your reply rate. If you send a very small group of people a customized HTML-designed email, you can expect that most members of the group will NOT write back. I have a theory that HTML feels less personal and therefore doesn’t elicit a private response, but who knows. At any rate, it cuts down on meaningless banter while building your brand with a graphic template. So DO make HTML part of your email campaign effort!
5. Hit Forward. Over the course of your online promotional effort, you will find that new recruits enter the fold daily. You’ll want to get them up to speed on certain email announcements, while side-stepping other limited time only notifications that no longer apply. Just sort your emails by date or subjectmatter, and then hit FORWARD. Delete the extra gobbeldygook, insert the new address, remove the FW: and send. Oh– and give the email a quick scan for “other people’s names” so you don’t accidentally address the wrong person!
All of this may seem like extra work. But if you’re still relatively small and you’re using an online event promotion to expand your network of contacts and get to know other folks in your field a bit more intimately, then you’ll want to be available to personally handle email inquiries whenever possible. You know these marketers who dump you on a list, send you whatever the latest email was and expect you to jump on the Happy People Brigade? Do you respond to those guys? My guess is THAT’S A BIG NO.
Want to witness event planning live in action? Please join me and my marketing friends for the First Annual Web Content Awareness Day, scheduled to launch on February 9, 2006 at http://WebContentAwarenessDay.com.
Sneak Peek: Visit the Countdown to Web Content Awareness Day Blog and learn how you can ride our wave of high web traffic!
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Copyright 2006 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

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