It wasn’t that long ago that the very mention of email marketing in a boardroom would have had the speaker laughed out of the building. There was a time when people stopped writing books about email marketing and colleges stopped teaching email marketing techniques.
It was no longer seen as a viable promotional tool. Spam filters caught everything, and nobody trusted emails from anybody other than close family. Scammers and spammers had ruined it for everybody.
A buzz, however, has been building about email marketing. It has been growing more and more over several years. Here is what the buzz about email marketing is all about.
What Has Changed?
Why is it that email marketing was once a joke, and now it is a legitimate way to promote your business and your products?
What changed was partially due to pioneering legislation set out by Tony Blair in the UK. It was also partly due to more sophisticated email provider technology. Pioneering laws set almost 20 years ago were unenforceable in their day but laid the groundwork for the sophisticated system of internet laws we have today.
The Laws Changed
Under Prime Minister Tony Blair, the UK was the first to set out online communication and marketing laws.
These laws were (mostly) a failure because back in those days they were unenforceable. However, over time, they have been amended and adopted internationally. Eventually, they were enforced along with other important online laws relating to distance selling and online currency conversion.
Email Providers Have Changed
Email providers have also played their part in both identifying spam and blocking spam. Spam filters are getting better and better thanks to an overall prejudice where most emails will end up in your spam folder. Those old tricks to fool spam filters (such as spelling money with a zero “m0ney”) no longer work.
Server and IP blocking are also playing their part.
If you operate from servers that are frequently reported for spamming, then those servers are blacklisted. This means you can set up as many phony email addresses as you like, but you will still be blacklisted. Plus, even when you are blacklisted, the email providers will still allow you to send the emails…they just don’t deliver them to your recipient.
This means that spammers have a harder time figuring out if their emails are getting through.
The only downside to this is that sometimes a legitimate company feels the heat. For example, the company called Patreon has a hard time getting emails delivered. Let’s say you have forgotten your password and you run through Patreon’s email recovery feature. There is a good chance you will not receive a password change email because your email service provider will not deliver emails sent by Patreon’s servers.
In such a case, you have to contact Patreon. You have to tell them you are not receiving your password emails and have them send it from another server. Such inconveniences are the price we pay for keeping spammers at bay.
Double Confirmation Laws Took Effect
There are now international laws introduced under a UK conservative government and approved by the Trump administration that force companies to ask for double confirmation when people offer their emails.
The point is to stop companies profiting from buying email addresses without the approval of the email owner. In other words, if a company legitimately wishes to send marketing emails, you must agree to it twice.
The most common and legally protected double-confirm method is where you give your password to the company on their website. The company emails you, usually asking you to mark their emails as “Not Junk” or “Safe.” There is a link in the email that you must click. You click the link, and that means you have double confirmed.
An additional benefit of this is that it also proves to the sending company that your email address is a real one.
Why Do All These Positive Changes Matter?
These changes in laws, attitudes, and technology have legitimized emails once again. People feel like they have control over their email inbox and so are more willing to open marketing emails. They are even willing to sign up to marketing emails and receive updates via their email address, which was simply not the case as recently as ten years ago.
Is There Really A Buzz?
The buzz is so subtle, you may not have even realized just how popular email marketing is. You probably sift through a great deal of email advertising without realizing it.
For example, do you look at YouTube emails from subscribed channels? They are marketing emails. Do you open the emails from Prager University whenever they say they have a new educational video? Have you signed up for foreign language lessons, and do you open your emails for your “Word of the Day”? These are all examples of email marketing done so well that you do not realize it is happening.
These types of emails arrive and almost feel as natural and welcome as Facebook notifications on your phone. Little do you realize that these are prime examples of email marketing, which is a term that still leaves a bitter taste in some people’s mouths; you have to remember that many people were burned by scammer emails in the past, such as emails claiming they owed money, or emails for medications they didn’t want.
People Are Choosing to Open the Email Marketing Messages They Receive
Since people are receiving emails from websites where they gave their permission, people are more willing to open them. This is especially true when websites use their user’s preferences to create targeted emails.
Steam (the gaming platform) does this by sending notifications about weekend deals, and by sending emails whenever a game on a user’s wishlist is on offer.
ShopTo does this by examining your previous purchases and then sending related offers, such as offering deals on PlayStation 4 controllers to people who have bought PS4 consoles or games from them in the past.
The Obvious Conclusion is to Get on Board with Email Marketing
Even though it seems like the new laws and attitudes towards emails have made a marketer’s job harder, it has actually done the opposite. Laws and new attitudes have lowered people’s defenses. They are more willing to open emails that land in their inbox and junk folders because the ratio of legitimate vs spam messages has achieved an equitable level.
Plus, the quality of email marketers work has improved dramatically. No longer are we seeing slow-loading HTML jumbles for emails. We are seeing sleek, graphically designed, and instantly responsive emails popping up to show us our favorite products and services.
Maybe the old days of you feeding an email service your list of 10,000 email addresses is over, but it has been replaced with a low-impact high hit-rate culture. That is far better for online marketers in the long run (and better for the people receiving the emails).
Are you looking for usable expert advice on email marketing, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), or building revenue through online marketing efforts? If so, Bear Fox Marketing can help.