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You’ve Got Mail


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Is E-Mail marketing worth it?

EMAIL MARKETING IS THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL subject in the
Internet world now and is linked with a more controversial
subject of Internet security and Privacy rights. This article is
not about trying to show the advantages of email marketing or
email based CRM solutions, but to render a situation which will
make you think about finding ways to make your campaign
successful. This article will also assist you to address your
strategy based on your specific consumer/product environment and
needs.

As you start your week on Monday, rested and ready for another
busy and challenging week of action, the first thing that
crosses your day is 84 un-invited emails and you begin to wonder
how on earth did your email address make it on all those lists,
unknown to you. And forcefully, you begin to unsubscribe each
list until you hit one that really gets your attention: “Dear
Mike, Thank you again for being a loyal mobile Customer. To
reward you we are offering you 10% off of your next cell phone
bill. Please visit a specific website and enter this pin number:
45658, and the discount will be effective.” You go to the
website, excited at the idea that someone does appreciate your
business and you get 10% off of a cell phone bill.

What comes to mind when you think about your email? Email is for
communication among your co-workers, a quick note to a family
member, and probably JUNK MAIL. As a marketer, it is a necessity
to ensure that none of your potential or existing consumers ever
gets the impression they are getting junk email from you.

The challenge How do you effectively use your database of email
addresses without upsetting anyone, and, as importantly,
maximize your return for your marketing efforts? How and when do
you decide that email Marketing should be a serious and vital
part of your Internet marketing efforts? Most likely you have
been a victim of these email phenomena as your consumers are.

Brand Dilution After looking at many headlines such as “Spam
Becomes Public Enemy #1″ in numerous trade publications, many
marketers are wondering if it’s a good idea to keep a distance
from email marketing for a while. For many years, email has
allowed advertisers to reach consumers directly. They could
inexpensively incite immediate customer response. Now, media
planners’ attitudes toward email marketing are changing. The
word is around to distance marketers from the controversy
surrounding Spam. It’s difficult trying to defend this marketing
method to clients. Above all, we’re concerned with the effect
renting email lists might have on clients we represent along
with the potential customer.Some Web users see the enemy in
every email marketing message, whether they gave permissions to
Opt-In or not. Unwanted email is unwanted email, it’s dumped in
the Deleted Items folder regularly. Most email software now
includes tools to eliminate Spam or unwanted emails. With these
billions of messages and deep-seated resentment toward this
sleazy online marketing practice, consumers have a new email
mantra: Delete first, ask questions later. Spam not only results
in poor campaign results, but also creates a negative perception
for a clients’ brand.

Does this dismal state of affairs mean we should abandon email
marketing until the Spam problem is over, once and for all?
email has a lot to offer. Marketers can’t afford to turn their
backs on a medium with so much proven potential and reach.

Is there still hope for email-based customer communications? Are
there ways to reach clients’ target markets via email without
putting their brands at risk?

Blended Threats One in every 212 emails sent in 2002 contained a
computer virus, and one in 12 emails was recognized as
unsolicited Spam, according to email security firm MessageLabs
in its annual report on mass mailing email security threats,
including virus and Spam activity. The company says one of the
most worrying trends is that spammers are deploying techniques
traditionally used by virus writers, making Spam much more
difficult to detect and eliminate.

One of the most notable trends seen now is the increased use of
Spam emails that are attached with viruses. The virus-to-email
ratio grew worse during 2002-2003, mainly because many home
users and small businesses don’t keep their security up to date,
the report notes.

Although viruses caused the most immediate damage to corporate
networks in 2002, the threat of Spam is rising, as well. In
November-2002, this surge peaked, with one in three emails
identified as Spam. MessageLabs predicts that Spam will continue
its exponential growth into 2003 – 2004.

The Players and the Terrain One of my co-workers, Robert, was
watching me opt-out from a Spam email list, and he said, “Don’t
do that, you are about to confirm that your email address is
valid and you will get more Junk email” that makes me really
think, how wild is the world?

Let us first recognize the two forces in the cyber-land between
the lobbyists for the Direct Marketing Association and other
advertising entities that want spamming to continue, and
Internet advocates who want spamming to cease. Some of the
advertising folks are willing to secede from their forced
occupation, agreeing that a recipient might have the right to
“opt out” from getting Spam. Internet advocates say this
continues to put the cost on ISPs and individuals. Many want to
return to the days when Spam was what Hormel meant it to be:
canned meat.

On a good note, in response to the growing anti-spam movement,
legislators have taken action. Their efforts are reflected in
the several anti-spam laws being considered in state and federal
legislative committees. Several of these laws will affect
telemarketing and email marketing efforts with nationally
recognized Do-Not-Call lists and stiff penalties against
unsolicited emails. These impending laws have many marketers
concerned. Their fear is that the proposed legislation will be
far reaching and bring an end to legitimate marketing campaigns.

Legitimate marketers should not fear this legislation. These
laws will ultimately help increase the effectiveness of
marketing campaigns and will help increase the response rate to
marketer’s emails.

Finally, Walking the Line Between email and Spam How do you
differentiate your message from everyone else’s? It might be
tempting to add bells and whistles to get emails noticed.
Meanwhile, users find themselves facing a lot of choices in
their in-boxes each day, with more to come. Jupiter recently
predicted that by 2005, the average U.S. online consumer would
get as many as 950 email messages—every day.

Getting people to say “yes” to marketing emails and then getting
them the messages that are most likely to make them buy is a
thriving industry of its own. On one end of the spectrum are
tailored email newsletters that deliver news, information or
other content that people have specifically requested, together
with advertising messages. Way over on the other side of the
line is where you’ll find unsolicited bulk email full of
annoying, hard-sell pitches.

Somewhere in between is the random email from a Web merchant you
bought from long ago, reminding you that an online buying
opportunity still exists on its site. Now there goes the
challenge of showing how good marketing skills you have, if you
can walk that line.

By Yatin Patel Published in http://www.siliconindia.com
September 2003

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  • Posted On May 21, 2006
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