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Is Email Marketing a Thing of the Past?

Is email marketing a waste of time and money by Dovell BonnetEmail flyers and advertisements largely replaced paper flyers, just as online news blogs and sites are largely replacing traditional newspapers. However, email marketing is becoming less effective each passing day because people are so bombarded with spam in their email boxes that they simply are not responding as readily to blandishments to signup for free newsletters or to click on links in emails from people or companies that they have never heard of, no matter how enticing the offer.

Internet security or the lack there of, has made users suspicious and distrustful to all unsolicited emails. Let’s first take the argument from the personal perspective. We all have been hit with spam in our email accounts. We may have also experiences are own email address being hijacked by email spoofers. All with the intent to get the recipient to click a link or open a file to start the process of identity theft.

Attacks have gotten worst and more lascivious with the phishing and pharming emails that look like they are coming from Amazon.com, USPS, FedEx, eBay, Apple, Microsoft, and other respected companies only to discover that the links are to sites that grab your personal information, inject virus and/or to be the first step to breaking into your personal computer. One can’t even “unsubscribe” for fear that the link is bogus.

Sure, the “security experts” will tell you to buy their anti-virus and anti-spam software. Install a firewall on your computer. Keep all you programs updated with the latest patch. Give sage advice about not opening emails from people you don’t know. However, I am beginning to think these “experts” like all the attacks and breaches since it sells more of their products and services. Now I am not saying that you shouldn’t get security software and a firewall, but after all these years where users are bombarded with new attacks one has to wonder, who’s in control and do the software companies really care?

So, back to my point about email marketing. If you hate these emails and have become as suspicious as I have, why would you as a business owner utilize cold contact email campaigns in your own marketing plan and budget? The buying of email lists, monthly service fees, generating newsletters, and other old style self promotions is not worth the money. The very people you are trying to contact will delete all your messages. If you didn’t know yourself, would you ever open the marketing emails you send out?

Today, business marketing is more about people coming to your site or blog to read and learn about you and your products. People want to build a trust and rapport with you, and not be sold a product. The day’s of TV pitchmen may be going away.

People will trust sites that their friends know so the social networking campaign is important. You also want to develop RSS feeds, eZines, Twitter feeds, etc. The time and effort to integrate all this together requires a new type of marketing person. Be sure you get someone who knows what they are doing and not just repeating the buzz words.

Next, having a customer subscriber to an email newsletter to get the latest promotions and information may also become a waste of time and money. Instead, have a “member’s only” area that they sign up for where discounts and promotions are determined by the frequency of their visits.

As a security expert who constantly reviews different products, I review I’m still amazed at how software companies disregard the protection of a user’s data and personal information by treating it as an afterthought. Furthermore, as our internet usage moves more to a cloud based system, security of both the back end and front end has to Job 1.

In conclusion, instead of Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware) or Caveat Venditor (let the seller beware) today’s phrase is “Caveat Computis Usor” (let the computer user beware).