In honor of one of the worst Halloween costumes ever, AND one of the most ineffective laws in recent memory, we give you…
On December 16th, 2003, President George W. Bush signed Public Law 108-187 hoping to give some measure of relief to our collective inboxes. Better known as "CAN-SPAM," (get it? Can of Spam or "Let's throw Spam in the Can?"), the law outlined a number of restrictions on mass marketing via electronic mail.
If nothing else, it gave us an awesome nickname for boring legislation along the lines of the BOSS Act (“Better Oversight of Secondary Sales” regulates the resale of tickets stemming from a scalping incident at a Bruce Springsteen concert) or Rep. Pete Stark’s “No Private Contracts to Be Negotiated When the Patient Is Buck Naked Act,” now known as the “Stark Naked Act” (true story!).
The full title of the act is Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing Act of 2003.
Did it work? Did it reduce Spammy emails in our inboxes?
No. Spam did level off and go down, but not because of the law. According to Mashable, between July 2011 and June 2010 unwanted inbox intrusions decreased from over 225 billion per month to around 40 billion (more than 82%!). However, according to these statistics from Cisco, since then volume has roared back to over 400 billion per month.
At least the law required senders to include an authentic "unsubscribe" button in the email.
Internet Service Providers like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T, online email setups from Yahoo or Google, and software packages we installed took the largest bite out of the slabs of irritating email marketing. While the global volume of spam has increased, our email programs have gotten a lot smarter about letting them through.
Now what about the honest internet marketer that wants to send her message out using email as a legitimate way of reaching a lot of people quickly? Email marketing is still a viable lead generation tool, in spite of the fact that a lot of unscrupulous actors have tarnished its reputation.
You spend hours working on enticing subject lines, beautifully worded yet succinct copy and a brilliant call-to-action, but your tin of caviar could well be shot down as an unwanted gelatinous glob of pink "meat" by all those ever-vigilant spam filters. What to do?
Here are some "No-No's"
- Use ALL CAPS anywhere- subject line or body text
- Feature any kind of multimedia
- Forget the alt-text that labels and graphics you do include
- Embed forms. Take clickers to a landing page for that
- Use "Trigger words." You've seen them. Here's a partial list of spam triggers to give you an idea
- Include white text on a white background
- Pack the page with keywords
- Keep sending to addresses that bounce back.
- Attach anything. Use landing pages instead.
And some "Yes, Pleases"
- Maintain your email lists. Weed out addresses that never respond or open emails
- Control for quality addresses by allowing for positive opt-in. None of this "click here if you want to not unsubscribe…" in tiny text at the bottom. It's not polite.
- Get yourself whitelisted by subscribers
- Make your emails worth reading! Give real offers or value in every message
- Make your unsubscribe link and your brick-and-mortar contact info visible in the footer
- Stay consistent with your sender name
- Use the recipient's name in the To: field
- Make your emails short
- Write the date in the email body
- Watch your sender reputation. Check out DNSstuff.com or a similar service to see if there are any potential red flags affecting you as a mail sender
Email Marketing should stay in your arsenal of marketing tools. Don't neglect it in favor of some other more glamorous online marketing practices, because it can net you leads that wouldn't otherwise find. Here at United WebWorks, we specialize in equipping businesses in Savannah GA and beyond with diverse approaches to internet and email marketing.
See how we can help you turn this:
Are You Ready?