According to recent findings by Symantec, we’ve experienced a dramatic decline in the amount of email spam sent worldwide since August. Some 200 billion spam emails were sent every day in August, dwindling to 50 billion daily in December.
Spam has long been the bane of legitimate email marketing firms, confusing users and making them less receptive to email newsletters they have intentionally signed up to receive. Email marketing is a fast, low-cost way for small businesses to target specific demographic groups and maintain contact with previous customers. By sending out regular, personalized company updates and helpful content, businesses can build a relationship of trust with consumers.
The sharp decline in spam over previous years has many benefits for various digital marketing companies, giving them some breathing room in their campaigns and making it easier to reach consumers with their messages.
Origins of Spam
In the context of the Internet, spam refers specifically to the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately. This is an important distinction that keeps things like email marketing newsletters and unwanted private emails from being considered spam.
The first Internet spam message was sent by Gary Thuerk to 393 people on ARPANET in 1978. From there it spread across the Internet, though the most prevalent form of spam is email spam. In the beginning, spam was mainly used as a way to advertise legitimate products but now it’s being used to scam recipients and infect their computers with viruses in order to add more power to the spammer’s arsenal.
In the early days, spam was spread from single computers, though once ISPs began cracking down on the practice, spammers had to find new ways to spread their unwanted messages. As the volume increased it became increasingly difficult for one centralized system to send out spam messages, so more nefarious means began to emerge.
Spammers began employing viruses to infect recipients’ computers, giving them control over the computer’s email programs. This allowed them to send billions of emails from a decentralized network of computers, ensuring that their spam networks could not easily be stopped. One of the largest spam organizations, SpamIt, was recently shut down after one of the central operators of the company, Igor A. Gusev, fled the company due to an investigation by the company’s home government of Russia. SpamIt runs a massive botnet for sending out its unwanted messages and its shutdown dropped email spam messages by about 20% worldwide.
The definition of spam is narrow, though many people still call legitimate mass emails spam. Due to the prevalence of spam messages, many recipients assume that any form messages or advertisements they receive are unsolicited and report them as such, even if they sign up for the service.
Marketers can overcome this confusion with a few simple strategies. First, they should employ unified branding across their social network accounts, websites, print ads and emails to ensure a strong connection with consumers. If a consumer recognizes the brand immediately, they’re less likely to delete the message.
They should also be made aware that they’re signing up for a newsletter. Sign-ups should not be automatic but the option should be prominently presented so the user knows what to expect.
The “from” field of each email should be instantly recognizable to recipients and the subject line shouldn’t contain any flag words like “deal”, “sale” or “discount” as these words scream spam.
Lastly, personalizing the content of each message will go a long way towards keeping the recipient’s attention and staying out of the SPAM folder. Include the person’s name and indicate that the message is a follow-up to a recent purchase or base the marketing message on their shopping history.
Spam has been steeply declining lately, which makes it easier to stand out as a legitimate marketer, but that doesn’t mean anyone should get lazy and employ shady tactics.
Joseph Baker has worked in the business world for over 15 years, specifically in management. He has led development and management teams, and implemented budget reductions both professionally and as an independent contractor. In his many years of experience within the business world, Joseph went from acclimating corporate America to social marketing trends to developing marketing/management strategies for small business. In addition, he has led strategic planning and systems of implementation for nine organizations, both public and private, and worked extensively with small businesses.
If so, please join over 10,000 people who receive exclusive weekly online business and blogging tips, and get a FREE COPY of my eBook, 10 Steps to Free Website Traffic! Just enter your name and email below:
If you're building a business website these days, you're in luck.
WordPress has revolutionized the ease and power of what a website can do and be. Now you can quickly create a website that is optimized for top search results, and update it yourself whenever you want.
As you'll see in a moment, the SmallBiz Theme is much more than a mere WordPress theme. It's a complete solution for your business web presence including a Website, Blog, Facebook Page and Mobile Website.
Let's take a look at each of these, and how they help you generate new business from the web…Click to continue...
See my disclosure about advertising and affiliate links