I’ve recently been asked to carry out some e-mail marketing by a client, but it seems that the e-mail marketing market is a circle of contradictions!
My client is a small business & cannot afford the exorbitant charges that Google Adwords now runs up in order to attract business to their website. They are in a particular sector of the market & only want to target the construction sector. After some research into data lists I chose to purchase 3000 B2B e-mail addresses for construction sector companies in just three local counties. The company I purchased from claims to be a member of the Direct Marketing Association as well as several other bodies & assured me that all the addresses were opt in.
Because most web hosts restrict the amount of recipients you can send an e-mail to, to between 30 & 50, it’s necessary to use an e-mail marketing company in order to send the e-mails. However, most of them will not let you use purchased data or 3rd party lists! Their answer is:
“We will design a form for your website, which people can then go to in order to sign up for your emails”. But hang on; isn’t this absolutely useless if people are not aware of your company?! If they’ve been to your website to sign up for a newsletter, then they already know about your company & what service you provide! Yes, I can certainly tell them about the latest offers if they sign up for a newsletter, but it’s useless when the main purpose of this marketing is to make other businesses aware that this company exists & what it does!
I’m bombarded by spam all day, every day, but whilst I’m constantly filtering out Viagra ads & web design offers from India, it appears that legitimate UK businesses are prevented from e-mailing relevant, targeted companies. Surely e-mailing companies to make them aware of your service is no different to sending out a postal mailshot, or cold calling by phone. It simply makes another company aware of what you do & that you exist, when you can’t afford to pay thousands for Google Adwords!
Whilst I hate SPAM as much as the next person, if the marketing is targeted & relevant, I don’t mind the 10 seconds it takes me to decide if it’s something I require. I’ve found out about a number of things that I’ve then purchased, or services I’ve used, because I received the e-mail equivalent of a cold call. These are products/services I would never have been aware of if they hadn’t told me about them & I certainly wouldn’t have gone looking for them, because I didn’t know they existed!!!! In fact, I’m much more likely to take up an offer sent via e-mail than if someone phones me, because I like the opportunity for further research & the chance to decide in my own time, rather than being pressured on the phone!
However, it appears that we’ve become so obsessed about SPAM in the UK, that you are prevented from e-mail marketing companies unless they have already visited your site & signed up to receive marketing from you………..surely this defeats the main point of e-mail marketing…………getting NEW customers.
Of course these restrictions for UK businesses don’t stop the REAL SPAM – the endless “enlarge your penis” & “buy from this Chinese wholesaler” botnet type junk mail that is the real bane of my life………oh yes, because they don’t follow the UK rules!