Monday, January 29, 2007

Is Email Marketing Dying?

By Sean Kenaston

In 2006, 40% of all email sent throughout the world was considered SPAM. This begs the question, “Will my email get to my subscribers?”

Every day it gets harder to determine if an email is legitimate; users find it difficult to distinguish between legitimate emails and spam. Spammers continue to find clever ways to bypass email filters and as a result the filters increasingly block valid emails in a desperate attempt to keep up. Many marketers find filters frequently catch their commercial emails.

The sheer volume of spam people receive has also created other problems. People will often mistake valid commercial emails, from mailing lists they’ve subscribed to, as spam and thus the email never gets opened. As this trend continues, some experts predict email will no longer be a useful marketing tool.

What can you do to avoid being marked as spam?

The best thing you can do is limit as many factors that may cause your email to be flagged as spam as possible:

* If you’re not doing so already, use a double opt-in mailing list. This will ensure they do in fact want to receive emails from you, plus they will recognize your name, which prevents any emails you send from being mistaken as spam.
* Once a subscriber has signed up to the mailing list, display a message on the website that tells them to add your email address to their white list to prevent it from being flagged as spam.
* Send your email as plain text. Avoid HTML emails as those tend to get picked up by the filters a lot more than plain text.
* Avoid using high threat key words such as ‘Free’, ‘Discount’, ‘Offer’, and ‘Money’ in your subject line as well as the email body. Most spammers these days are smart enough not to use these, but filters will still pick up on them and consider your email suspicious. If you need to use these types of keywords, you can space them out like ‘F r e e’, or include separating characters like ‘O-f-f-e-r’.

Will people abandon email for another electronic medium?

It’s difficult to tell where email marketing will be a year from now. In 2004, Bill Gates predicted there would be an end to all spam by 2006. Well, I don’t need to tell you that the exact opposite has occurred – there is more spam today than ever before, and there is no sign it will be letting up any time soon. It will only continue to get harder to find ways around the problem.

The good news is email marketing has already stood its ground. When blogs and podcasts emerged, many believed they would replace email as the dominant marketing media, but it did not happen. Yes, people embraced blogs and podcasts, but they still subscribed to mailing lists as they had before, despite the spam.

Email is still a strong marketing media and every indication shows that it will remain useful in the years to come. Unless everyone in the world suddenly decides to stop using email, there will always be a way to reach subscribers on the web this way.

About the Author:

Sean Kenaston is an Associate Editor at Ratings Hub - the first and only ad and affiliate link free site that provides 100% user-based reviews of various Internet marketing products and services. It is absolutely free and it’s the only place on the Internet offering completely unbiased feedback on products used by every type of marketer, from beginner to guru and everyone in between. Please visit www.ratingshub.no-nonsense-marketing.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Sean_Kenaston

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