In 2006 businesses spent nearly $400 million on email marketing. This figure is staggering, yet it proves just how important online businesses believe email marketing to be.
Most marketing experts would likely rank Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategies as the number one marketing mechanism for online businesses. However, it is email marketing that comes in second. The reason this marketing technique is so highly touted is because it doesn’t wait for business to trickle in. Email marketing takes your message directly to the people providing a sense of immediacy and purpose.
SEO strategies are essential for the long term viability of your marketing strategy, but for the most significant return on investment (ROI) email marketing has consistently held an edge over other marketing strategies such as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising or banner advertising.
Email lists that are organically grown typically hold the greatest ROI, but some online businesses have found a modicum of success using rented or purchased lists, but there is always a price.
The reason many businesses look for lists that have already been compiled by third parities is because they can begin to market immediately. The problem many encounter with this strategy is that many of those on the email list may not be very happy with their private information being made available to the highest bidder. Recipients may also be hostile to any overtures from unknown companies.
You will discover that the best response you receive will be a direct result of interacting with existing, satisfied customers. They are the ones who already have an affinity for your product and do not tend to view your emails as unwanted material or spam.
The propagation of spam has made email marketing a bit more of a challenge for online businesses, which has placed a greater emphasis on trust, worthwhile correspondence and value for the existing customer.
Another reason purchased or rented lists are suspect with recipients is that legitimate email delivery is either personal or opt-in. If recipients have not signed up for the email in question they will not likely be excited to receive it. These unhappy recipients can (and often will) report your email as spam and you could be blocked from being able to send future emails – not just to the recipient who reported you, but also to any others that may be using the email service provider (e.g. Yahoo, MSN, etc.).
The value of email marketing is well noted and it can be tempting to take shortcuts from which to glean potential customers. In the end you may be gambling with your potential to send email to customers in the future if hostile recipients view your company email as spam.