Although e-mail marketing has many benefits, marketers should nonetheless tread carefully.
"Hard work, perseverance, and breaks are what make successes, not gimmicky tricks and grating marketing strategies," complained one irate victim of an untargeted e-mailing campaign in a recent debate on a Net forum. "The real cost in the online world of an untargeted marketing campaign is often the annoyance factor ... and this can have a very negative economic impact," concurred DoubleClick's Court Cunningham.
Instead of launching unsolicited email marketing campaigns willy-nilly, Cunningham advised e-players to be mindful of the consumer's rights. "Consumers are far more receptive to email from merchants with whom they had some sort of an existing relationship," he noted. "Clearly marketers should also take note of a consumer's particular interests when targeting them with an online promotion or offer."
He also advised online merchants to utilise e-mails as a means of engendering customer loyalty instead of bringing about consumer annoyance. "Email is an invaluable method whereby customers can learn about new products, services and promotions ... what's more, a growing number of survey respondents are crediting email communications as a primary reason for loyalty to online merchants, added Cunningham."
He advised prospective email marketers, however, to stay well within the bounds of permission-based mailing. "Consumers are growing increasingly wary of the misuse of personal information online - especially where it concerns SPAM and credit card usage."
"Direct marketers and online merchants should embrace permission-based email as an integral component of their overall marketing plan to effectively drive sales," proclaimed DoubleClick's 2001 Consumer Email study. As an Internet advertising company that has been devoting increased resources to email advertising, DoubleClick's study naturally came out strongly in favour of e-mail marketing. According to Cunningham, general manager of DotMail Technology Solutions at DoubleClick, data from the study showed that an increasing number of Internet users have made online purchases as a result of permission-based email. The study also revealed that companies could use email to drive repeat purchases and encourage impulse buying.
"Email is a highly effective means of communicating with consumers," noted Cunningham, adding the proviso that attempts to market through the medium were only effective under the right set of circumstances. "Because email can be so effective, it is tempting to say, 'I'll just email all the time.'"
Reprinted from sa.internet.com.