Lately I've been reading Seth Godin's blog and I think most people should if they are in any marketing capacity. His list of how to send an email has been hitting home lately; I get so much crap email press releases, postcards, and other things from people who didn't do their research, bought my info from a list, or didn't get the memo I unsubscribed from their newsletter blasts a billion years ago. Just today I got a postcard with a note from an expensive recording studio about maybe Elephant Stone working with them in the coming year; they didn't do their research at all. They didn't see Elephant Stone was a small indie label, so them bragging about working with Grammy winners isn't a selling point, it is a turn off. They also failed to see that Elephant Stone hasn't released a single thing in 2+ years. So, this person took time out to write a personal note and spent money on postcards, and it was all for nothing. A total waste of money and time on their end. Wonder how many they mailed out?
It is amazing how many emails I get that are marked "urgent" as a press release (annoying beyond words), that have huge images or attachements, or how many I get that don't blind carbon copy. In fact, I have had my email then taken and gotten blasts from other people I don't know, or care, what their service is all because we were included in a carbon copy together and that's where they snagged it. If you are a gallery, restaurant, record label, designer, anything really, your email and mailing lists are your gold. Don't go flapping them out in the open like that!
Please please please people, don't go poaching email addresses from groups or forums! If you design vinyl toys, that's fine, post about it in the vinyl toy forum. Don't go snagging all the users info who are registered, and then blasting them with an annoying email they never asked for. That's a major bad.
I am of the mind where I am actually embarrassed about sending press releases and newsletters, even to those who ask for them often. Then again I'm not the HI I'M AN ARTIST LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT HOW AWESOME I AM type — I never tell people what I do unless they ask. So, to read that my approaches have been the right ones is a relief. I send emails in small groups or individuals (takes more time, but makes me feel less like an asshole), I don't attach huge files, I am specific as to who they are going to and if it is relevant to that person. I don't collect as many emails as I can from odd places, blast them all and hope that a few stick. I also don't send an email about a show 3 times or more to "remind" people about it. If someone wants to go to an event they will write it down or find the info online — they aren't children. Sadly, many businesses do this. It is an old method, a tired method, and like the recording studio you end up spending more time and money for little in return. Most importantly: you annoyed the crap out of people.