Is Email Marketing Dead?

dollar_sign.jpgMany people say email marketing is dead. It's easy to agree with this idea.

Spam and the spam filters it has given rise to make it harder than ever to get your email delivered.

It's even hard to receive email we want. How many times have you been frustrated because a friend, co-worker, or relative was supposed to send you an email that never arrived… only to discover that email in your “junk mail” or “spam” folder?

Here’s the good news: the death of email marketing has been greatly exaggerated.

Even though deliverability rates are lower than ever, email marketing still works, and is still responsible for many millions of dollars worth of sales. It can work for you as well.

3 Keys to Successful Email Marketing

First of all, keep a clean double opt-in email list. What this means: if someone signs up to receive email from you, you need to get them to confirm that they actually want to receive the email. Most email marketing providers, (like aweber and 1ShoppingCart) automatically require people to double opt-in to any email list. In some cases the “double opt-in” feature is optional… but I think it's the best way to manage your email list. Single opt-in (no confirmation required) may yield bigger subscriber numbers (it does), but that list will be less responsive to your offers.

Secondly, educate your customers on how to white-list or authorize your emails to get through to their inbox. Usually this is just a case of having them put your email address into their address book; if they use a service like Spam Arrest they'll have to go to the actual website and authorize your email address. Teach them how to do that, either using text and illustrations or with screen capture video.

The third key to successful email marketing is about boosting response rates to your messages. How do you do this? Make sure you send relevant and expected content to your list. Emailing your list frequently will get your emails through more readily and get you a lot fewer spam complaints. Why? Because if you send frequently people are going to do one of two things: they’re either going to read your email or unsubscribe. If you email them less frequently, you run the risk that they will forget who you are or even forget that they subscribed to your list… and that will generate spam complaints.

Use these keys to successful email marketing and watch your list numbers and response rates grow. Long live email marketing!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • The List Building Industry.

    Yes, there has evolved an entire cottage industy from list building.

    If you google “list building” in quotes you’ll see that there are 988,000 pages with that specific phrase on them.

    Squeeze pages, joint ventures, viral marketing, newsletters, blogs, social networking, article marketing it’s all about the list.

    – planting the seeds to collect emails
    – careful feeding and watering of your growing list
    – harvesting repeated bounties from the list

    Every thing you write should lead the reader into taking an action, to make the sale or some other part of the sales funnel such as list building.

    The money is in your list,
    always has been and always will be.
    We do need to be more dilligent with our lists.

  • Cheryl Antier

    You know Ray, you make a good point – and thanks for the tips that will help us make sure our emails get delivered. You just reminded me that I’ve been meaning to do #2 on the list for a while now…

    I’d like to add something to what you brought up based on what I’ve been seeing recently with new clients:

    No matter what type of marketing you’re doing – whether it’s email, direct mail, telemarketing – a lot of business owners are “putting all their marketing eggs in one basket” so to speak. I’ve got 3 new clients right now that have each only been using one or two marketing methods.

    And that’s really leaving money on the table, don’t you think?

    Here’s a list that I came up with earlier this week, that I’ve added to a Marketing and Sales self-assessment that all my new clients get…if anyone can think of other methods that should be on this list, feel free to add them:

    •Direct Mail Advertising
    •Internet Marketing/Advertising
    •Email Marketing (including autoresponders, ezines and articles that you send to your list)
    •Advertising (List current locations)
    •Telephone Marketing
    •Direct Sales
    •Strategic Alliances or Joint Ventures
    •Up-selling or cross-selling existing customers/clients
    •Referral Systems and/or Loyalty Programs
    •PR (including radio/television/newspaper interviews and stories, online press releases, speaking engagements, articles, etc.)

    In conclusion, whatever methods you’re using, make sure that you’re using it in the most effective way, so that you’re reaching the people you want to reach, and then track the effectiveness. If something isn’t working, change it. I like email marketing because it’s quick, it’s easy and it’s inexpensive. But I have 5 other methods of reaching prospective clients too – and 3 of them mean that I don’t have to go looking for new clients, they call me.

  • Alex Cohen

    I’ve seen some email marketers head off the spam complaints ahead of time. They add a statement like this to their email:

    “This ADVERTISEMENT is fully compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. If you prefer not to be contacted by me again, simply click the URL provided below.”

    • Ray Edwards

      I think anything referring to “CAN-SPAM Act of 2003” is probably not going to help you.

      I don’t want to plant the idea in anyone’s head that they should think of me and my products in connection to the CAN-SPAM act… do you?


  • Steve

    Hi Ray,

    I’ve been studying one of the most financially successful opt-in/salesletter combo’s (DoubleYourDating $20-$30million/year)… To the best of my knowledge he’s using single opt-in. I’m confused at why so many IM’ers hold up this site’s IM methods as good, but he’s only using single opt-in.

    I’d appreciate your comments on the pro’s/con’s of his method that’s generating so much money.


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  • Hello Ray,

    I can tell you definitely that email is not dead. It’s become the bulk of my business in the investment newsletter field.

    So if I could add a fourth key to email success, this would be it: Be fanatical about testing—and most important–learn from your results.

    You see, because I’ve been blessed to work with top direct marketers in the country for the past 20 years, I’ve been privy to the test results of thousands of split-run, head–to-head email and direct mail copywriting tests.

    As a result, I’ve been able to use the science to craft messages that not only better target what our prospects want but also result in higher responses and orders.

    Because of email, I can now get into my customer’s head in nearly real time! No more waiting 21 days. I’ll know in 48 hours when all the orders are in.

    Frankly, this testing–even more than gut instinct–is to me the new holy grail of profitable email copywriting.

    As I always said, I’ve never been the best copywriter.

    I just knew what to write about. Testing not only tells me exactly what to write about but also takes the guess work out of determining what my next package should be.

    All good wishes for a successful 2008,

    Doug D’Anna

    PS I’ve written a report that details a few of the things I’ve learned over the past 20 years. Ray, your blog readers are welcome receive a free copy of it if they like. It’s called 7 Proven Profit Trigger for Email Copywriters.

    It covers things like how I pretest sales messages, create the right sales appeal, and numerous ways to increase the selling power of your email messages.

    Here’s the link to check it out.

  • Email marketing is way cheaper than media investments such as direct mail or printed newsletters…also information can be distributed to a wider range of specific, potential customers…with all these plus points on its side “the death of email marketing” has indeed been greatly exaggerated…the tips you’ve provided sound really helpful…thanks a lot.

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