Marketing Review

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Spam Vs Permission Based Email

If you grew up in the 1970s, and were a fan of the British Comedy Troupe Monty Python, you might have a fond recollection when someone mentions the word spam. However, if you work on the Internet or have an ecommerce based business, or even if you’re just an occasional user, the word spam has nothing but a bad ring to it.

Simply put, spam is all that annoying junk email you find in your inbox. It’s about the same message sent to thousands of people. The common characteristic of spam is that it’s sent in bulk. Unfortunately, this irritating form of communication is on the rise.

Statistics show that there were 50 billion unwanted email messages sent out in 2005 and that number has grown to 90 billion today. The worldwide productivity cost of spam is in the billions.

For the business owner who bases their enterprise on the Web, there are more customer friendly alternatives. The term permission marketing (which includes emails) refers to a method of online marketing where a business owner asks permission directly from a prospect to email them with information about a product or service.

This concept follows two main principles. The first is obvious. You market through email only to customers that have specifically requested information from you.

Second, you must give away something in order to get the customer’s email address. This creates an atmosphere where the shopper is more likely to read your email since they have an incentive to do so. There are several specific ways to get a customer to join an online mailing list.

Make it easy for them. Place a sign-up box on your homepage or on every page of your online store.

Ask people if they want to join your mailing list whenever they contact you by telephone or by email through your online store. If you operate a brick and mortar store, have your sales clerks ask customers for their email address as they check out.

Run some kind of contest whereby customers get a chance to win something by joining your online mailing list. Almost everyone loves the thrill of a contest and the possibility of winning something.

Have a pop up screen that appears on your customer’s screen when they visit your online store, that invites them to your mailing list.

Place several sign up boxes at strategic locations throughout your site.

You may also want to elicit the help of a firm that specializes in permission based email marketing to help you. Some of these online brokerage houses have data bases on millions of customers who have agreed to have their email addresses added to lists.

Also, these brokers are usually experts at creating the kind of ‘call to action’ incentives that draw people in.

Even the weather plays a part in helping the online economy. Statistics show that the residents of the colder US states and Canadian provinces were the most likely to shop online during the winter months.

Create a great plan, track how your email campaigns perform, improve, repeat. Always remember that your campaigns should be focused around what your customer wants not what you think will “work well”.

If you haven’t figured it out by now – my goal here is not to show you how to become a legitimate spammer because there really is no legitimacy in spamming people.

The goal is tell you that there are better strategies for reaching your customer with permission based email marketing that offer return on ROI then untargeted spamming.

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