Argument for Email

I recently began engaging with a fellow StumbleUpon user, robertpriolo, through the “send message” feature in the interface. Robert, also known as RobDogg, runs How to Rule the World, a blog that allows users to “learn from [RobDogg’s] experiences and share in [his] wealth of knowledge,” which consists mostly of internet marketing and e-commerce concepts.

We began a very interesting dialogue, which soon turned into a more immediate conversation through instant messaging. RobDogg was a little hesitant about the effectiveness and state of today’s email marketing, mentioning that “spam is the biggest concern I have with email marketing.” The conversation got so interesting that I decided to share it with you, to show you that email marketing is effective.

RobDogg: I read that you do emarketing. what field of practice?

Erica: I’m a relatively fresh graduate, currently working in the field of e-marketing. I have begun to educate myself on various forms of internet marketing and have become quite proficient in many areas. However I haven’t yet chosen a niche to focus and specialize in.

I suppose the medium I am most familiar with is email marketing, as I created a full, two day course on email marketing, all the way from the initial research to the final copywriting of the workbook of the course.

You can check out my blog to read more about me and what I do.SpamQuote

RobDogg: Yeah I read your blog. I see a lot on email. I have never had much luck with email marketing. Is there still a market for that stuff?

Erica: Oh there’s definitely still a market for email marketing. Do you receive any email updates/ promotions from a favorite store, or email newsletters (any of which that do NOT run off RSS). If you do, you’re unknowingly participated in email marketing.

Also, if you’ve tried email marketing with Outlook, then you probably would not have as much success as you would if you would try out email marketing with an email campaign management tool, also known as an email service provider (ESP).

Email’s never going away. While the medium exists, why not take advantage of it and market through it?

RobDogg: [I only recieve emails] from very select stores send me email, even then they are annoying and usually end up in the trash.

Erica: Well, you do receive them then. And if you don’t want to receive them, simply opt out with one of the links at the bottom. Nobody wants anything they consider “trash” in their mailbox. Not everyone is the best target for email marketing.

However, it’s not just you. If you’re receiving promotions but are not enjoying your experience, its partly the advertiser’s fault for not personalizing the messages so you get something of value.SpamQuote2

RobDogg: I would say spam is my biggest concern with email. I’ve had to trash many email accounts due to it.

Erica: I totally agree with that, which why the CAN SPAM Act was created in 2003. Email Marketing is NOT spam. Email marketing is legitimate marketers obtaining permission to contact potential or current customers. Spam is simply something that came out of email marketing, similar to how “splogging” grew from the adoption of blogging.

RobDogg: Yeah I know. I was into spam emailing back when it was legit.

Erica: Many people confuse spam with email marketing. It’s a common misconception.

RobDogg: Well, even the ones that I do want to sign up for sometimes take advantage of [my email address] as well.

Erica: how so?

RobDogg: Well, you sign up, you get the occasional email, then they decide to ramp it up and email you every other day. [They] probably hired a more aggressive email marketer.

Erica: Right! Well, in that case, as I mentioned before, the email marketers are not doing a very good job of email marketing.

If at any time you aren’t happy with how an email marketer is treating you, then I would suggest simply opting out. It’s a matter of finding the right fit between the subscriber and the marketer.

RobDogg: Well that’s assuming you signed up for a legit email list, who isn’t going to allow you to unsubscribe or sell your email. I still get about 50 emails a day with no possible way to unsubscribe.

Good ol Gmail and their spam filter.

Erica: If you sign up with a legit marketer, they are required to give you a way to opt out, or unsubscribe, as stated by the CAN SPAM Act of 2003. If they sell your email, or allow third parties to send your emails, then it was stated in the privacy policy or terms of conditions, and it was your error for not reading what you were signing up for. This has certainly happened to me before.

RobDogg: Truly the problem.

Erica: It is important to remember that if you are receiving an email that does NOT give you a way to “opt out” at the bottom of the message, then it’s spam. NOT email marketing.

I encourage anybody that has anything to say about email marketing vs. spam, to begin a dialog in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
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10 thoughts on “Argument for Email

  1. I have found that organizations, often retailers but not limited to them, that I personally have “opted-in” for still greatly abuse e-mail as a tool to market themselves.

    I predict that the majority of broad e-mail marketing by big business, despite the rhetoric about “opt-in” and its helpfulness, will go away and be replaced with something less obtrusive, like RSS. A lot of e-mail marketing is a thinly veiled, untailored advertisement pushing the broad marketing agenda rather than something truly useful or actionable for customers. I would be interested in hearing differently.

  2. I tend to disagree. Email is much more personal than RSS, and when used correctly, email is a very personal medium. With a simple click of a button, email campaign management tools can send out highly personalized emails to each person in your list, including the person’s name, company name, and past purchase history. Marketers can use this information to craft especially relevant messages for the recipients. RSS is a more passive medium, and, in my opinion, can’t even be compared to email in terms of its personal nature.

  3. Good points. I still think that too many marketers are not using the intended intelligence of email campaign tools (and the data they have mined) very well. The line blurs between “especially relevant” messages and “Yet another damn email!.” XM Radio and Apple iTunes regularly blast me with the latter. -Greg

  4. I completely agree with Rob’s frustration over spam. I get 70-100 a day at one of my email addresses, and most have no way to opt out. (Where are the CAN police when you need them?)

    Having said that, you did a great job of explaining that spam is NOT email marketing…it is simply trash. I get a number of emails a day from marketers with something I am (or might be) interested in. Well designed email marketing campaigns benefit both the sender and the receiver. If the marketer matches products and services to my interests, I don’t mind getting an occasional email…and occasionally, I buy!

  5. No question that email marketing is here to stay…anyone who disagrees simply isn’t in tune with where and how money is made every day.

    I think Rob is making a big mistake dismissing email as an opportunity because he personally doesn’t like it. It doesn’t matter whether he likes to be marketed to via email, what matters is how many people DO.

  6. @ Kyle – I think RSS will eventually rule over email. Its a great way to keep privacy and retailers can still have the opportunity to inform reader of new product updates and sales.

    @ gregcross – while i agree email is a lot more personal, i do not think it is effective in the retail medium anymore. Email is great to keep in touch with personal clients if they are servicing your account for a specific need, but email from bestbuy or godaddy are usually worthless with there promotional offer.

    @ Coryan – While I may disagree with the effectiveness of email promotion these day, I will never dismiss an possible stream of income. I will use it for the 1 extra sale every month, and continue to do it until email is completely dead.

  7. Awww, spring love and it’s not even valentines day yet!

    kidding aside, email marketing used to be cuting edge stuff and today people complain it to be old and spammy. Now, connecting through services like stumbleupon and moving it to IM is cutting edge stuff but it will be considered spammy to communicate like that when a better method becomes available.

    Be the first to offer up an even better means of communicating and you’ll be wealthy beyond measure.

    @Erica, creating posts out of IM conversations will get you the “you scare bunny” award, good stuff.

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