In a recent report, eMarketer wrote that, "... e-mail marketing's slow demise continue to be premature, as a new eMarketer report shows that nearly three-fourths of US online advertisers used e-mail marketing in 2004." They go on to state this other very impressive statistic, "Projections from eMarketer show that e-mail volume in the US will rise from over 2 trillion message this year -- personal, commercial and spam -- to nearly 2.7 trillion by 2007."
That's a lot of marketers sending a lot e-mail. And while a large part of the effort goes to writing and designing an e-mail that is engaging, informative, and has a call to action, there are a myriad of technical issues that need to be dealt with. I received my first introductions to e-mail marketing recently when I managed a couple of projects that included e-mail campaigns.
Unfortunately with the first project I didn't get involved until the copy had been written and some technical issues were decided. What struck me about the project when it was first described was that we were putting together what looked like a phishing attempt. The e-mail that had been crafted asked users to go to a site where the URL didn't match the company that sent the e-mail. On this site, users would be prompted to enter their account information and credit card number. That's pretty much the definition of phishing except in our case the e-mail and site were legitimate. Sadly the deal was done and the e-mail was going to go out regardless of my concerns. The silver lining is that the e-mail should offer some insight in to whether our users are paying attention to the recent news about phishing i.e. if a lot of users click through then we can say that phishing is not top of mind.
The second project involved more traditional e-mail marketing. The copy and design were promotional in nature and the links pointed to a well-branded URL with an order form. And yet there will still many little interesting issues to deal with. Things like too many "click heres" which could trigger spam filters; subject lines that were too long to be displayed in some e-mail clients; and how to immediately remind the user that they asked for such e-mails without detracting from the sell copy.
These two projects were a good introduction and I hope to work on more e-mail marketing campaigns in the future.