Advantages of Email Marketing and issues
Email is the hot new marketing medium. Email has exploded onto the scene as an important e-marketing tool. A large number of companies nowadays use e-mail marketing to reach consumers. Studies have found that most of the consumers with internet access see ads in e-mails at least once a day.
Marketers design enriched email messages – animated, interactive and personalized messages full of streaming audio and video to compete effectively in this email environment. As a result, in ever-larger numbers, email ads are popping onto our computer screens and filling up our email boxes. And they are no longer just the quiet, plain text messages of old. The new breed of e-mail ad is designed to command our attention and so they are loaded, as said earlier, with glitzy features such as animation, interactive links, colour photos, streaming video and personalized audio messages.
But there is a dark side to the exploding use of email marketing. The biggest problem is SPAM. The spam is explained as unsolicited, unwanted commercial email messages that clog up the email boxes. Spam has produced consumer frustration and anger. Email marketers walk a fine line between adding value for consumers and being intrusive. Therefore companies must beware of irritating consumers by sending unwanted email to promote their products. Marketers should ask customers for permission to email marketing and they should tell recipients how to opt in or opt out of email promotions at any time.
Various studies show that spam now accounts for an inbox clogging more than 85% of e-mails sent daily throughout the world. America online blocks more than 2 billion spam messages sent to its subscribers each day.
Despite these dismal statistics, when used properly, email can be the ultimate direct marketing medium. Email facilitates blue-chip marketers such as Amazon.com, Dell and others to send highly targeted, tightly personalized, relationship-building messages to consumers who actually want to receive them, at a cost of a few cents per contact. Email ads can command attention and get customer to act.
However, while carefully designed emails may be effective, and may be welcomed by selected customers, critics argue that most commercial email messages amount to little more than annoying junk mail to the rest of us. They have no customization and no relationship building. Moreover, spam comes from questionable products and investments. Have you seen - most of them are about Viagra and body enhancement products and pornography? So, the impact of spam on consumers and business is alarming. All internet service providers are being inundated with complaints from subscribers. And spam is ruining the rich potential of e-mail for companies that want to use it as a legitimate marketing tool.
So, what can a marketer do? Permission-based email is one solution. Companies can send e-mails only to customers who opt in or grant permission in advance. They can let consumers specially what type of messages they would like to receive. Every message should give customers an easy way to opt out of future messages.
Permission-based email marketing ensures that emails are sent only to customers who want them. Still, marketers must be careful not to abuse the privilege. There is fine line between legitimate emal marketing and spam. Companies that crosses the line will quickly learn that opting out is only a click away for disgruntled customers.