Tuesday, March 20, 2007

E-mail marketing Becoming Less Effective?

I opened up my email box this morning and while my Bulk or Spam folder had the typical 100's of messages, ones that I empty out everyday, my inbox had a few messages from people that looked like my friends or colleagues. They had real names, some that I thought could even be familiar. They even had real subject lines, lines that I would use, some were replies, some were forwards, but they were REAL. Or so I thought. Upon opening them I noticed the hocking of the latest penny stock, a Nigerian refugee in need, pharmaceutical drugs that I could get for dirt cheap, or getting a free Ipod in exchange for answering a few surveys. The latest spammers have gotten good, they've mixed and matched my friend's first and last names (or real names that look like my friends), they've been able to come up with subject lines that are fairly common (like "Hey!"), and somehow they've been able to penetrate my inbox (I don't know if its that gibberish that combines Charles Dickens with Webster's Dictionary.)

I'd say that 8 out of every 10 messages I receive are spam. In fact spam takes up so much of my time, that newsletters I actually subscribe to have become victim to the spam attack. If the newsletter doesn't have a compelling subject line, I'll simply check it off with the rest of the spam and zap it as Spam. Now unfortunately, the spam comes back since they just create another meaningless email xjaljafado@akfklj.ru but the newsletter's legitimate email now gets filtered.

So, what does this mean? I think that there is so much content out there now that pushing content is tougher than ever. Sure, very few people unsubscribe, but then again, very few people check their spam folders. Pulling content however, could possibly be a better option. I think because of spam the newsletter is falling away in favor of the blog. Readers are more forgiving if a few posts are not relevant to them because they can just skip over them, as opposed to being construed as intrusive in their email boxes. Unfortunately on my little Motorola non PDA phone, I can't pull up my RSS reader there, but then again, who wants to sort through Viagara, Nigerian, and Free MacBook Pro emails on your 3 inch cell phone screen?

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