Friday, October 19, 2007

Anyone ever call you a Junk Mail Queen?

Don't pretend like you don't know what I'm talking about! You know -- think back to the holidays last year when your Aunt Rachel came up to you and said, "Now what is it you're doing these days, dear? Are you still responsible for all of that (insert proper expletive) junk mail in my mailbox?"

Uh-huh. That's what us Direct Marketing types get all of the time. Well, a new study has just been done by Commtouch (as reported by DM News). And guess what . . . this holiday season you'll be blamed for Junk e-mail. Yep, Commtouch's study reports that spam has now reached a whopping 95% of all email sent . . . 95%! The article reports that Commtouch's "report, entitled 'Email Threats Trend Report for the third quarter of 2007,' found that as image spam declined, new kinds of attachment spam such as PDF and Excel spam increased. Pharmaceuticals and sexual enhancers were the most popular spam topics, at 30% and 23%, respectively."

Good grief! And, that's not all. Not only are we getting these annoying emails, but the other types of spam use"zombie botnets," which is a consumer’s unknowing home computer that has been infected, to send the spam.

No wonder e-mail marketing still has such a bad name. It's not right. Here's the deal: When you use e-mail effectively, this is one of the best and cost-efficient channels available in our multi-channel toolboxes. E-mail marketing can be used to supplement direct mail or telemarketing campaigns or it can be used on its own. Either way, we've seen this channel respond beautifully when deployed correctly.

So, as direct marketers how do we compete against the 95% of messages that are Spam? We think that there are definitely some best practices to follow when considering an e-mail marketing campaign:

  • Templates: As you design your creative, the use of templates is key. This creates familiarity and emphasizes your colors and branding. You need to keep your messages fresh, however.
  • Personalization: This is a proven best practice. Using personalization can increase response rates 4-6%. People tend to read the message when it looks as though it was created specifically for them.
  • Drive traffic to your website: By utilizing your website, the customer can learn more about your offerings. However, ensure that they end up on a landing page that is relevant to the message.
  • Unsubscribe button: Follow the tenets of CAN SPAM to allow those who do not wish to hear from you to unsubscribe easily. This is not only important -- it's the law.
For more on how to create successful e-mail marketing campaigns, take a look at our white paper on the subject.

And, as the holidays approach, start planning your elevator speech for your family. It'll make it much easier to deal with post-holiday-dinner decongestion.


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