Its 2005—-Bulk Email is Dead

Its 2005—-Bulk Email is Dead

A typical day at the inbox

Today, I received 374 emails total.

A pretty light day considering some days I get more than 1,000.

To clarify what they were35 were for business, 4 were personal in character, 11 were from groups I asked to get information from like Neiman Marcus and Urban Outfitters, VH1, and a PR Newsletter.

The balance of 324 was unsolicited (UCEunsolicited commercial email)in other words spam.

If I extrapolate the UCE I’ve gotten in the last six hours alone, I find I must be missing something about myself on some spiritual level..

I am a balding, fat man with a small penis that doesn’t work. I am in debt.

I am looking for a lower interest rate on my mortgage while at the same time making thousands of dollars with no effort on my part in the privacy of my own home–filling out surveys, stuffing envelopes and not selling something that miraculously sells itself.

already better, I can be a travel agent without wrinkles; acquire a college degree while waiting for my 1500 improvement to show up in my bank account; I can restore my credit rating legally while watching my free satellite TV and munching on my drugs sent courtesy of an offshore pharmacy that has a doctor who will write me a prescription… HMMM…definitely something to consider. NOT.

I’ve also discovered that I am a chief candidate to help an African Prince move funds into the US. He trusts me. All I have to do is give him my bank account information.

The problem is that I am a woman who doesn’t suffer those ills.

Someone thinks I do…There is something wrong with this picture.

The future of bulk email and why it is likely to keep dead

Now, you might be asking why I, who was dubbed the “Spam Queen”

in the “Wall Street Journal” three years ago, am already bothering to say anything about email?

Just to set the record straight, I have never advocated spam or sending spam.

One reporter said to me, “Some people consider all bulk email as spam. What do you have to say about that?” to which I replied, “Then I guess you’d call me the spam queen,” as a joke.

In our sound byte media world, one editor turned this little quip into a buzzword and I became known almost immediately, all over the world, as representing what everyone, including myself, hates about email.

The media as usual emphasized sensationalism and missed the point.

I am not complaining because my marketing business skyrocketed as a consequence.

At that time I advocated email as a very effective medium for small business, which because of its low cost lets small businesses level the playing field against big corporations.

At no small personal risk, I visited the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, DC, and spoke my peace about small businesses and not throwing out the baby with the bathwater before already the very term spam could be legally agreed upon and defined to the satisfaction of marketers, ISPs and the government jointly.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the US economy, and entrepreneurs with their dreams are what have made the US the economic powerhouse it nevertheless is today.

Email that is sent to people who WANT to receive it, and that is in accordance with their preferences, nevertheless gets a high response. It allows many small businesses to get ahead. I didn’t want to see big corporations or the government take over email and bar entry, filter, and extort everyone else while nevertheless sending their own advertising messages freely.

And then came the CanSpam act, which I and many other authentic marketers welcomed, because it had a great potential of getting rid of the noise while keeping the signal.

As it turned out, the opposite happened. Email filters from ISP’s now block a large amount of authentic messages, which they call “false positives”.

Marketers can’t send the text they would like to send to their subscribers, so they have to resort to filter tricking tactics such as spelling the information spam as [email protected]@@M so that they can get past the filters that were intended for another purpose thoroughly.

In a climate like this, authentic companies that had been diligently following best practices, and keeping their lists clean for years, suddenly did not want to stay in business with ambiguities in the law and the possible litigation that might be later to already if all the rules WERE followed, so many companies just folded.

However the people that continue to send email illegally did not fold.

Often times sending from outside the US borders, they stepped up their operations already more, to the point that there is almost no truly authentic bulk email left.

In other words, the signal has become lost in the noise.

The simplicity is this — bulk commercial email has gotten to the point where it isn’t effective. We just don’t do it anymore. What’s the point? It doesn’t get a response, and we found people are overloaded with advertising messages and no longer willing to receive more, especially in their inbox, unless they specifically asked for it.

As a marketing specialized, the only thing that should count for you at the end of the day is effectiveness. Bulk commercial email has turned into the above, a bunch of unprofessional, ineffective scams.

In other words, Spam is a fourletter information.

authentic marketers are staying away in droves and it’s easy to see why. First of all let’s look at some facts. In the United States, it is legal to send unsolicited commercial email. The CAN SPAM act allows for this. You have to provide a way to optout and not hide who you are, and a few more simple but ethical rules.

Although it is legal, there isn’t an internet service provider in the United States who will allow you to send unsolicited commercial email.

Larger mailers have optin information from lists they buy which imply consent but those lists aren’t originated from the mailer, but from other submailers–you get a free thing or access to a particular site and the user checks a box that it is okay to get information from their “affiliates and partners.”

The “affiliates and partners” they are referring to are those who pay for the email addresses and optin information.

These guys are sending you mail legally, but the fact is, they are not getting into your email box for the most part. Blocking, filtering, and doing it the “legal” way bulk wise, is just not working.

Not to mention, there is no way to prove that the recipients opted in or are willing to get the message since they opted in at someone else’s site, not yours.

The response rate is pathetic and when that mail does get by, you have many disgruntled individuals who never remember opting in, so in their view, the mail is unsolicited. The only way to get email into inboxes en masse is by not following the rules, so the only messages getting by are the scams, including the pornographic, illegal, and objectionable.

It is ironic that the very thing people want to rail against, they are getting more of in the aftermath of CanSpam.

So where does that leave us?

What can a small businessperson do to get their message out, and not break their bank?

How to market effectively in the new internet wave

If you are a small businessperson, there are 3 alternatives that you should consider, which are described in this next section:

What is effective you might ask? (Ask away, it’s kind of the point here..)

1) First party offers that impart some value additional (a tip; some information, something the consumer is interested in.)

Lets say John Q. Consumer gave his email address for a newsletter, or for more information on a particular subject, or to play a game.

Chances are he probably would not be angered to get an email from your company especially since he asked for you to contact him. He would recognize your domain name since he spent enough time on your site to truly ask the info.

Additionally, your internet service provider would not shut you down for violations and you’d start to build a small but effective list of people who are truly interested in what you, as a business owner, have to say.

This has been effective since the beginning of the internet. The only problem is, how do you reach people the first time, to get them to your site?

How do you find a target market for your products that is likely to be interested in what you have to offer and sign up for your newsletter, visit your site, and hopefully buy your stuff?

Is there anything less costly than television, radio, and (ugh!) banner ads?

Yes there is. Drum roll please…..Search Engine Marketing. If you write good ads, and compete with the right keywords, people who are already searching for an answer to a question, doing research, comparison shopping will go to a search engine and kind in their parameters.

If you know how to market well, only people who are interested will go to your site.

If you have a web site that is powerful and you are offering a value additional, they will ask for more information or sign up for your newsletter, or get your free download.

Now, getting to this point can sometimes take a little time, but if you are persistent, and know how to interpret your statistics, you can do this. If you want the consequence without the learning curve, hire a Search Engine Marketing Firm.

So the new tools for small businesspeople to stampede traffic to their websites in 2005 and beyond are going to be:

1) Search Engine Marketing

2) Publicity, including press releases that provide meaningful news

3) Providing quality content and expert commentary for radio, TV, and internet hubs in your field

You can be successful on the internet and these tools help to establish you as an expert in your field, in addition as attract the very people who are looking for your product or service at the same time.

These are the tools of a new form of marketing, which people are calling “In Touch” Marketing, or “intelligent marketing” and is one way to cut by and truly get you the most possible business, at the lowest possible cost, with laser precise targeting. In future articles I will teach you how to use them with deadly accuracyn.

This is the new way for small businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed in 2005 and beyond.

Remember, you heard it here first 🙂

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