Email lessons learned the hard way: an entrepreneur’s route to dotmailer

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing” – Socrates
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them” - Aristotle

I have always been a big believer in the idea that we know far less than we think, and we have to learn by doing. When it comes to email marketing and being an entrepreneur, both are truisms.

Knowing what we know and what we don’t know is a great starting place for learning.  Applying that knowledge by doing is the best way to get to where you need to go, step-by-step.  But let’s be clear, it will be a bumpy ride.

The challenge for most of us is we don’t know what we don’t know. We start with assumptions and ideas, no matter our experience. It’s our mistakes that reveal the gaps in our knowledge.

When it comes to email this can be a dangerous thing.  Getting email wrong can have serious consequences for online reputations and the ability to get emails through to people we are looking to engage with.

As the Founder & CEO of CommunicationsMatchTM, a global matching search engine that connects companies with communications professionals, during the development stage of the site my programmers built in an email platform from a reputable company that frankly did not work.

When we sent out our first emails, bouncebacks were huge. Very few emails got through and we triggered SPAM blockers. Our first experience clearly revealed what we did not know.

In the rush to launch, we’d made some fundamental mistakes. We relied on pop email accounts, we did not have language about ways to unsubscribe, used a support@ email address, and we pushed out too many emails for the platform we had.

For experts in email marketing – these are rookie mistakes.  But you have to learn to become an expert. And when you are an expert, you need to remember that until you had these experiences, you didn’t know. Remember that.

So we had to go back to square one. All our implicit assumptions about email marketing were wrong. The challenge of getting it right was all too apparent, and the need for the right partners and solutions clear.  We sought out experts who could guide us through the process and read as much as we could about what we would need to do to make our email program work.

We implemented Outlook 365 email, built in personal email addresses for our sends and ultimately engaged dotmailer as a professional provider with the expertise and platform to ensure email delivery into inboxes, not SPAM boxes.

The results were night and day – email both through our site and marketing gets delivered. Given the time and effort spent creating campaigns and developing materials, there can now be a ROI on email. If the emails don’t get through then there is none.

By definition, entrepreneurs are persistent and resilient. We learn by doing and where we can, we share to help others avoid the same mistakes.

And here’s the takeaway: do not underestimate email. Know what you don’t know and find the right partners to ensure that your email has the best chance of getting through. It is the most powerful tool in the marketing tool box – when it arrives in an inbox.

One final point. What you send really matters.

In addition to the right email platform provider, most businesses will need communications partners to develop content that will resonate. I invite you to check out With 4,500 listed companies and professionals listed on our site, companies can search for communications services providers by industry and communications expertise… and for email marketers and content developers in particular.

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