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Why no good discussions on email marketing?
As hard as I look...

 9:57 am on Nov 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmmm... surprised that Webmasterworld.com or any other popular e-marketing / web master type forums don't seem to have a good board for discussing email marketing. I'm not talking about spam, I mean ethical opt-in communications.

I'm looking for marketers views on the best list management tools, and the best way to send HTML newsletters.


Corey Bryant

 1:20 pm on Nov 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Becuase I do not really think there are any good email marketing campaigns. I very rarely read anything that I have vene opted in to read. When I apply for something online, I always use that domain name in the email address. This way - it helps to know who is selling my e-mail etc. I think for the most part, we get so much spam that we tend not to even think about getting email that we really want to read.



 2:10 pm on Nov 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Oh, baloney. Lots of people still do very well with honest email marketing (like my company).

There aren't any disscussions because of the fact that you just don't know who is legit and who is not. The owners of the different webmaster boards would rather just avoid the whole messy issue, as there could be legal implications.

Corey Bryant

 5:52 pm on Nov 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I was only giving you my opinion. I do not sign up with any email marketing campaigns - legit or not. Why? Because my e-mail in-box is already overflowing with way too many emails & I spend half my time making sure that I do not delete an important email. 95 times out of 100, I just do ahead and tell my email program to delete emails that go to thatsite@mydomain.com.

True - there might be a few legitimate email businesses out there, but they are being eaten up by spam.



 6:00 pm on Nov 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

I was only giving you my opinion.

And I am giving hard, been there, am there information. Opinions don't mean much in the ecommerce world, hard facts do. The company I work for is making $50K+ (profit) a year on an opt-in, house built email list. And I know many, many companies that do the same. Email marketing is not dead, it's not lost to the masses of spam. If someone asked for your email, they will look for it and buy from it.


 6:29 pm on Nov 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

The company I work for is making $50K+ (profit) a year

Very believable. A group that I just finished an email campaign for will see income of a minimum (i.e. already in the bank) of $30k over the 4 weeks that it runs. It is still possible that it will run to $50k.

And that from a list that only had a tad over 5k names on it.



 12:08 pm on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

My company is another that legitimately uses email marketing, and we've been pretty successful at it.

I've tried numerous times to get discussions going here at WebmasterWorld about best practices, but they just didn't seem to get much interest.

It seems to me the biggest problem is that the average web user is so frustrated over the spam in their inbox they shoot from the hip, blaming everyone else for their problems, and lumping the legit emailers in with the spammers. It would be great to have a system in place that effectively deals with spam, it sure would make my email much more effective.

Even professional webmasters can't decide on what is legitimate email and what is spam, how could the average user ever decide?


 1:51 pm on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

best practices...

let's see if we can get a discussion going here. we send 70k monthly to opt-in lists of buyers from our sites. we send html. about 35% get opened. we manage our own lists and send our own mail from our mailserver. we haven't initiated any white list efforts (but probably should). we get about a 4% conversion. when we send emails we put a 1 second delay between each.

ok, so my pants are down, anybody else?


 11:41 am on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm always curious about how people are able to quote open rates... it's not as though everyone uses HTML email clients, let alone clients that will download tracking images.

As a sidenote, sending email as plain text will improve your delivery rate (i.e. won't trip as many spam filters).


 1:39 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Being kind of a newbie around here, now I understand.

I tried to start another thread, specifically about advertizing an adult product in joke ezines and got no response.
I'm not looking to spam anyone, I'm looking to buy ad space in optin ezines.

Willyb - those are some impressive numbers. Was that a high priced ticket item? The companies own list or bought ad space?


 1:56 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

sending email as plain text will improve your delivery rate

But most likely, that will decrease your response rate, so you really have to wiegh the pro and cons carefully before going all text.

For our company, I would have to post dozens of different stats. Different offers and different list respond differently.

For example, a Free Shipping offer will have a dramatically different open, click and conversion from a save 40% offer.

I think that's why so few people share their stats. Your best performing email may be a middle performing one for me. There can be no universal benchmark except "Are you making money".

it's not as though everyone uses HTML email clients

You can quote open rates because universally, the number of non-html and image blocking is the same. Everyone who emails knows that your "open" rate is probably low due to the missed tracking, but that missed tracking will occur in every mailing, your or someone elses, so therefore the number is still a reliable statistic.


 2:19 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hanna -
Do you work stricktly with your in house list, or do you buy ad space also?

If you do buy - as you say <<<"Are you making money">>> with them?



 2:33 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

Do you work stricktly with your in house list

I have a house list only. We are going to test renting a list in Jan., but it is from a reliable company that can give me very targeted selects, and even then, I am a bit skeptical as to whether it will work. But you have to try these things to find out for sure.

I would not recommend anyone ever just rent/buy a mass list. Rule of thumb is that if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Anyone that is offering 1 million names for 19.95 is NOT offering an opt-in list.

Buying ad space is whole differnt game, IMHO. I would like to test that too in the future, but I have not as of yet.


 2:46 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have been running my opt-in list for over four years and the most frustrating part is what spam has done to make getting my emails delivered into the hands of those who have asked for it.

Every major ISP has arbitrarily blocked me at one point or another. I have complied with every known "white-list" requirements, but still see bounces to emails that I know are legit.

In some cases, Road Runner for instance, I resorted to sending email from my personal earthlink account to all the rr.com members telling them that RR was blocking the email they asked for.

To date, Hotmail sends everything, including purchase confirmation into the "bulk" filter. My understanding is that Hotmail will allow the emails through if I get "bonded" by a selected third party company. However, I have read, that the third party company is founded by ex-Microsoft/Hotmail executives. Go figure.

I have been able to clear AOL's hurdles and have finally seemed to get through Cox, RR and Verizon, but it's been damn frustrating I have had to work so hard to send email to folks who have asked. However, those who upgrade to AOL 9.0 are blocking my emails without knowing it and every week, I get TOS notifications from AOL on people who have signed up and then call me spam, either in ignorance or as their way of unsubscribing.

Yes, there are arguments for and against html vs. text and sending a link to the newsletter vs. sending the info in the email. I personally never read a newsletter that says "go here for our latest". My view is, send in the email or don't bother, but thatís just me.

I would like to see a compiled list of URLís for clearing the email requirements of any/all major ISP, if folks have them. I canít seem to find the one for AOL, but will look for it.



 5:49 pm on Nov 5, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would like to see a compiled list of URLís for clearing the email requirements of any/all major ISP

The ISPs just don't care if the individual emailer gets through, so I doubt you will find such a list.

At this point in the game, you almost have to go through a 3rd party sender. A 3rd party will have personal contacts at all the major ISPs. Their money depends on you getting through, so they spend alot to make sure it happens.

Yes, it is an extra expense, but the amount of money they now charge per email is so low, that you will certainly make it up in the profits from properly delivered email.


 3:02 am on Nov 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Since I am sending my own mail, I have always tried to estimate the open rate by using a unique image and tracking the hits in my logs - this is obviously not very scientific. Now, with xp svc pack 2, images don't load in outlook unless the user clicks the top bar. Another wrinkle. Anybody have some other ways of tracking open rates?

As for getting through the big isp's, I check for occurences of aol, hotmail etc. in my "remove" responses and also amongst those who put in the coupon code and accepted the offer. Obviously this doesn't mean that all aol addresses on my list are getting my mail. There is a procedure where you can get white listed, but they won't publish the procedure anywhere as to how to go about this...

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