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It's Not Spam! Here's How to Use Email to Market Directly–and Cheaply–to Customers

By Patrick P. Stafford (

Regardless of what you're trying to market or how clever your sales pitch, you can't sell a product or service without first finding prospective clients. You obviously need more than just a computer, operating software and a well-working email program. All these tools will get you started, and a well-designed Web site may facilitate getting listed on major search engines and classified sites. But as any experienced salesperson will tell you: direct marketing is the key to financial success, especially for operating a viable business on the Internet.

To approach direct marketing as a novice or even as a long-term Net user, you must first accept the golden rule of online promotion: personal contact. No contact is more direct or personal than meeting prospective customers via email. This brings us to the topic at hand: how to obtain the email addresses of prospective customers and how to do so without spamming or spending an arm and a leg. Actually, you can do both simultaneously...and without spending a single penny! Here's how:

Every time you receive an email from someone (through a submission service or from another source), keep a copy of the sender's email address. After you have collected a decent amount of email addresses, you can start sending your promo letter to them to promote your site. But how to collect hundreds, even thousands of email addresses becomes the real question!

Well, no doubt you have heard of numerous online services that will submit your URL (Web site) to various search engines, classified and FFA (Free For All) sites, opt-in groups and other Web pages for a nominal and sometimes not-so-nominal fee. Promotions Pro and Submit One Thousand are two such companies that will send your URL to thousands of sites for a small fee. Unfortunately, after a while these and other submission services can get pretty expensive since you have to pay them over and over to submit your URL on a regular basis. And the email
responses you receive from using these services are often limited and will add few names to your list of email addresses.

But what if you could obtain thousands of email addresses to add to your client base and whom you can contact and advertise your business as often as you wish? Well, you can. And it's quite simple and doesn't, as mentioned earlier, involve spamming or having to pay one single red

There are more than two dozen companies on the Internet today offering free submission services to anybody who needs to advertise his or her business or personal Web site. And regardless of the size or nature of the product or service you need to advertise, you can use these free submission companies as often as you wish, sometimes even on a daily basis. Most of all, many of these companies submit to FFA sites that, after receiving your advertisement, will respond almost immediately. This means you will receive literally thousands of email responses from individuals who have received your free URL submission. It is here, for example, where you can really begin to collect and compile your own list of email addresses. But remember,
both fee and for free submission services only submit general information about your business; direct marketing allows you to fine-tune and personalize your advertisement and to contact potential customers directly, just as the term implies.

To start, simply copy the email address from each email response you receive and paste it into your Notepad or other word processing program (I keep mine in an folder in my email program). You can maintain your ever-increasing list of email addresses until such time you are ready to
send your personal (and hopefully dynamic) advertisement to each email address you have collected.

You should understand that this does not constitute spam because when you receive an email from any individual–even if it is an automated response via a fee or for free submission service–you are entitled to return the favor. Therefore, responding to anyone who has contacted you, even on a frequent basis (unless they demand you stop contacting
them), is not spam.

Of course, it is not only polite, but also a good idea to have in each email you send out a courteous disclaimer such as, ``I am sending you this message because we are either on the same opt-in list, email group listing or I have received an email from you in the
past and am answering you herewith." Another simple disclaimer you can use is: ``This is not Spam! This email is in response to one you recently sent me. Removal instructions are below."

Abraham Lincoln once commented, when referring to technology and new inventions, ``The problem is not the use of a bad thing, but the abuse of a good thing." Obtaining the email addresses of potential customers through the methods outlined above is neither. In essence, you
are simply keeping a record of people who have contacted you first, and in the process utilizing an innovative system of direct marketing.

If you visit, you will see what I mean. Listed on this site are dozens of free submission services that will submit your URL, which will elicit almost the same number of email responses directly to you. If you consider at this point the tens of thousands of individual email addresses you can receive and collect free of charge, you will appreciate the enormous opportunity this system offers.

Just remember when you use these free submission services, that you are only submitting your URL and a very short description of your business. It is later, after you have created and collected a quality list of email addresses that you begin the real work of advertising and
promoting your business to your ever-growing list of potential customers. What is even better, you can promote your business and send your email advertisements to the same individuals on a regular basis, and even market other products or services you have.

Obtaining email addresses and the names of potential customers through the use of fee or for free submission services is not only honest and legal, but a sure-fire way of increasing business and achieving financial success over the Internet. Lincoln may have been right about the use and abuse of a bad or good thing, and his comments can even relate to the issue of spamming on the Internet. But rest assured you can promote your business honestly and without worry of spamming, and perhaps earn a fortune in the process using the system outlined herein.

Mark Twain said it quite well when he remarked: ``Honesty is the best policy–when there is money in it." And respecting this adage will help you achieve financial success on the Internet.

Patrick P. Stafford lives in Grants Pass, Ore., with his wife Liane and novelist father Elsan
Stafford.  Patrick writes regularly for, Neighborhood America, Amateur Chef Magazine and and has sold many poems, articles and editorial pieces to magazines and periodicals over the last 27 years.  Patrick also operates a freelance writing/editing and resume service, which can be accessed at:




Submission Services

Here are a number of fee and free submission services. Check them out, and start submitting your URL and compiling a viable list of email addresses now. You won't be disappointed.


For a Fee
Promotions Pro–
Platinum Marketing–

For Free
SmallBizFFA– online supercenter–
Wizard Marketing Network–




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