Targeted Email Advertising Campaigns - Do They Really Work?

Michael Mould
 


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As a normal course of online business, we all want to increase our website traffic with buyers looking for our products, but none of us wants to increase our traffic just for the sake of using up our bandwidth. So, many businesses fall victim to the slick advertising of “targeted" email campaigns claiming they have lists of opt-in customers looking for products like ours. Do you really believe these con men? How many people do you know that put their email addresses on lists asking to be sent information about a specific type of product if and when some clown with a list of email addresses happens to come across that specific product? I get at least a half dozen emails every day trying to push Viagra and Cialis on me and I sure didn't ask for information about products of this nature. I also get Hoodia advertisements that I never asked for. Did you know that the company that holds all of the patents for Hoodia as a weight loss product has not completed their testing of the product and doesn't expect to complete it for at least two more years? All the products claiming to have Hoodia in them haven't enough Hoodia in them to aid in the weight loss of a field mouse, but they get away with their claims since they are sold as dietary supplements and not as prescription weight loss aids. Just another scam on the market.

Most consumers are intelligent enough to find the products and services they want when they want them and don't want their email addresses used to push a hundred unsolicited products on them every day. I for one will go out of my way not to buy any product that I get unsolicited email advertisements about. I guess the spam email of this nature is really not much different than the invasive pharmaceutical advertising on TV. I know that a few months ago, my father kept a log for two weeks of every pill pushing advertisement he saw on TV. Then, when he went to see his doctor, he gave his doctor the list. His doctor asked, “What is this, " to which my father replied, “It is a list of all the prescription medications that said I should ask my doctor if they were right for me. " His doctor got a kick out of it, and so did I, but in two weeks, he wrote down 79 different prescription medications advertised on the TV channels he watched, and he doesn't watch that much TV!

Over the past few years I have become increasingly irritated by the spam email I get, and I decided to challenge the ones advertising “targeted" email campaigns. I decided that if they really were legitimate, the entrepreneurs behind them would be willing to accept a challenge that wouldn't cost them a thing to prove. I told every one of them to go ahead and launch an email campaign targeting customers of products similar to mine, with a promise from me that if I saw both an increase in my sales and website traffic, I would pay them for their campaign and use their service for future campaigns as well. Not one of them stepped up to the challenge or even bothered to reply to my email. They all “guarantee" increased website traffic and sales; some even offer money-back guarantees, but getting a refund can be a lot harder than paying after they have demonstrated legitimacy. When was the last time you paid for your car to be serviced in advance? Are you expected to pay your utilities in advance? How about your doctor, dentist, or bank loan? The point is, any legitimate service company, particularly one with no real monetary investment like the holder of a list of email addresses, should be willing to prove their claims without you providing a credit card number for them to charge to.

A few years ago, I actually paid to have a “targeted" email campaign run, and emails were sent to 3,000,000 recipients. I had no idea that 1% of the entire U. S. population was interested in this particular product, but I was assured they were opt-in customers that requested to be sent information about products of this nature. In retrospect and after having been conned, I realize that statistically, there is absolutely no way they could have “targeted" anything but a list of email addresses of unsuspecting customers. I did get an increase in website traffic, but not in sales. In fact, I got about 20 more visitors than normal over a one-week period, which is statistically just noise and cannot be attributed to the email campaign at all.

People, these email campaigns are nothing but scams. The con men behind them are exactly what makes consumers suspicious of Internet marketing and they are preying on your desire to get your website traffic and sales up and they deliver nothing but empty promises. The next time you get one of these emails suggesting that their “targeted" email campaign will boost your sales, ask them to put their money where their mouth is and prove it BEFORE you pay anything.

Michael E. Mould is the author of “Online Bookselling: A Practical Guide with Detailed Explanations and Insightful Tips, " [Paperback ISBN 1427600708, CD-ROM ISBN 1599714876] and developer of “Bookkeeping for Booksellers, " [CD ISBN 1427600694] a 19 sheet linked and tabbed Excel Workbook designed to assist online booksellers with the calculation of their in-state retail sales tax obligations and the preparation of their Schedule C tax forms. “Bookkeeping for Booksellers" also provides 55 integrated graphs to visually show an online bookseller just how their business is performing. If you would like to learn more about online bookselling, please visit: http://www.online-bookselling.com or send Mike an email at: mike@online-bookselling.com

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