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Sunday, December 21, 2008

You can get the most out of email marketing by tailoring to target

A recent study by a team of computer scientists at the University of California looked at the response rates and profitability of professional spammers.

By hacking into the Storm network, which has control of over one million home PCs, to send out junk e-mail, the researchers took control of 75,869 hijacked machines to conduct their own fake spam campaigns.

The researchers used two popular ploys used by spammers, first offering a fake pharmacy site and, secondly, offering a Viagra-style remedy to boost libido. It seems the only way to measure spam is to become a spammer.

‘‘After 26 days, and almost 350 million e-mail messages, only 28 sales resulted,” said the research paper. That means a response rate of one in 12,500,000 people take up the offer of the scam, giving the fraudsters a conversion rate of less than 0.00001 per cent.

These response rates would seem to suggest ham-fisted spammers, but once you consider the scale on which some of the scams operate, it is clear that, in this case, quantity wins out over quality. The researchers estimate that the controllers of a network the size of Storm are still bringing in about $7,000 a day or $3.5 million over a year.

There are two lessons that marketers can learn. First, it is important that the intended consumer response is defined at the planning stage of a campaign - what do you want the consumer to do? It could be just seeing your brand and its message, perhaps a click through from a banner ad, an opening of an e-mail, time taken to read or watch a piece of content related to your brand, an opt-in to receive more information.

Each response should be given a relative weighting so that an overall value can be assigned to any campaign. This rarely happens, but is not difficult to do. Web and e-mail analytical tools, such as Google analytics, will provide a certain amount of information, but more qualitative methods - such as simply asking users and customers their opinion on the campaign - will provide more meaningful insights to their response.

So the second consideration is that people will respond only if they believe there is something in it for them, so brands must clearly define the consumer benefit attached to any response. What will they get in return for clicking, watching or registering?

Furthermore, by adding a level of personalisation to the communication can increase the likelihood of a response.

Aghreni Technologies is a provider of customer centric, ROI driven online marketing (direct email and mobile marketing) solutions and services to Indian clients. It has many years of working with leading global companies and clients in email marketing and lead generation.

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