Advantages and Disadvantages of Internet Marketing

By | February 24, 2017
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Aford Infocom is your one-stop permission email marketing resource, bringing together several features of interest to both email marketers and resource owners.

As well as our search engine placement services, we can assist you with many other marketing strategies such as banner adverts, e-mail marketing campaigns, rich media products, affiliate programs, link generation and viral marketing campaigns.

What good is a beautifully designed website, if no body knows about it?

Every case is individual and not all marketing strategies will suit everyone. There is a massive difference in budget requirements between the various options available.

Our best suggestion would be for you to contact our e-marketing specialist, who will be happy to discuss the various options available to you.

E-mail marketing is a form of direct marketing which uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience. In its broadest sense, every e-mail sent to a potential or current customer could be considered e-mail marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to:

* Sending e-mails with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or old customers and to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.

* Sending e-mails with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing old customers to buy something immediately.

* Adding advertisements in e-mails sent by other companies to their customers.

* Emails that are being sent on the Internet (Email did and does exist outside the Internet, Network Email, FIDO etc.)

Advantages

E-mail marketing (on the Internet) is popular with companies because:

* Compared to other media investments such as direct mail or printed newsletters, it is less expensive.

* Return on investment has proven to be high when done properly.

* It is instant, as opposed to a mailed advertisement, an e-mail arrives in a few seconds or minutes.

* It lets the advertiser “push” the message to its audience, as opposed to a website that waits for customers to come in.

* It is easy to track. An advertiser can track users via web bugs, bounce messages, un-subscribes, read-receipts, click-throughs, etc. These can be used to measure open rates, positive or negative responses, corrolate sales with marketing.

* Advertisers can reach substantial numbers of e-mail subscribers who have opted in (consented) to receive e-mail communications on subjects of interest to them

* When most people switch on their computer the first thing they do is check their e-mail.

* Specific types of interaction with messages can trigger other messages to be automatically delivered.

Disadvantages

Many companies use e-mail marketing to communicate with existing customers, but many other companies send unsolicited bulk e-mail, also known as spam.

Illicit e-mail marketing antedates legitimate e-mail marketing, since on the early Internet (see Arpanet) it was not permitted to use the medium for commercial purposes. As a result, marketers attempting to establish themselves as legitimate businesses in e-mail marketing have had an uphill battle, hampered also by criminal spam operations billing themselves as legitimate.

It is frequently difficult for observers to distinguish between legitimate and spam e-mail marketing. First off, spammers attempt to represent themselves as legitimate operators, obfuscating the issue. Second, direct-marketing political groups such as the U.S. Direct Marketing Association (DMA) have pressured legislatures to legalize activities which many Internet operators consider to be spamming, such as the sending of “opt-out” unsolicited commercial e-mail. Third, the sheer volume of spam e-mail has led some users to mistake legitimate commercial e-mail (for instance, a mailing list to which the user subscribed) for spam — especially when the two have a similar appearance, as when messages include HTML and flashy graphics.

Due to the volume of spam e-mail on the Internet, spam filters are essential to most users. Some marketers report that legitimate commercial e-mails frequently get caught by filters, and hidden; however, it is somewhat less common for e-mail users to complain that spam filters block legitimate mail.

Companies considering an e-mail marketing program must make sure that their program does not violate spam laws such as the United States’ CAN-SPAM Act, the European Privacy & Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 or their Internet provider’s acceptable use policy. Even if a company follows the law, if Internet mail administrators find that it is sending spam it is likely to be listed in blacklists such as SPEWS.

E-mail marketing terms

Auto-responders

Automatic replies sent by the e-mail software of the recipient after receipt of an e-mail.

Bounce messages

e-mail sent back to the server that originally sent the e-mail.

Bounce rate

Ratio of bounced e-mails to total e-mails sent.

Bulk, bulking

Terms used by spammers to refer to their line of work. Mostly synonymous with spam or UCE.

Call to action

Words in the e-mail that entice recipients to do something.

Click-through

The action of clicking on a link.

Click-through rate (CTR)

Ratio of click-throughs to total e-mails sent.

Commercial e-mail

Any e-mail sent for commercial purpose; for instance, an advertisement to buy a product or service, an order confirmation from an online store, or a paid subscription periodical delivered by e-mail. Commercial e-mail is not synonymous with spam; see unsolicited commercial e-mail below.

Demographic

Characteristic of a group of e-mail recipients.

Double opt-in

A term coined by spammers to refer to the normal operation of secure electronic mailing list software. A new subscriber first gives his/her address to the list software (for instance, on a Web page) and then confirms subscription after receiving an e-mail asking if it was really him/her. This ensures that no person can subscribe someone else out of malice or error. The intention of the term “double opt-in” is to make it appear that the confirmation is a duplication of effort; and thus, to justify not confirming subscriptions. Mail system administrators and non-spam mailing list operators refer to confirmed subscription or closed-loop opt-in.

Double opt-out

Same as Opt-In, but the recipient unsubscribes instead of subscribes. Borderline spam operations frequently make it difficult to unsubscribe from lists, in order to keep their lists large. Hard-core spam operations make it impossible — they treat opt-out requests as confirmations that the address works and is read.

E-mail Blast

An e-mail sent to multiple recipients, intended to inform them of announcements, events or changes. A variety of methods can be used to send the same e-mail to multiple recipients: for example: using options within an e-mail program, using the mail merge option within a word processing program, or using a commercial e-mail list programs.

Express consent

A recipient agrees actively to subscribe by checking a box on a web form, paper form or by telephone. A recipient not unchecking a box is not express consent.

False positives

E-mail that is not spam but is labeled spam by a spam filter of the recipient. Note that e-mail marketers may have different opinions of what is “spam” than e-mail recipients.

Format

E-mails can be sent in plain text, HTML, or Microsoft’s rich text format.

Hard bounce

Bounced e-mail that could never get through because the e-mail address doesn’t exist or the domain doesn’t exist.

List broker

Reseller of lists of e-mail addresses.

List building

Process of generating a list of e-mail addresses for use in e-mail campaigns.

List host

Web service that provides tools to manage large e-mail address databases and to distribute large quantities of e-mails.

List manager

Owner or operator of opt-in e-mail newsletters or databases. Also software used to maintain a mailing list.

Look and feel

Appearance, layout, design, functions & anything not directly related to the actual message on an e-mail.

Open rate

E-mail open rate measures the ratio of e-mails “opened” to the number sent or “delivered.” The ratio is calculated in various ways, the most popular is: e-mails delivered (sent – hard bounces) /unique opens.

Opt-in

The action of agreeing to receive e-mails from a particular company, group of companies or associated companies, by subscribing to an e-mail list.

Opt-out

A mailing list which transmits e-mails to people who have not subscribed and lets them “opt-out” from the list. The subscribers’ e-mail addresses may be harvested from the web, USENET, or other mailing lists. ISP policies and some regions’ laws consider this equivalent to spamming.

Personalization

The use of technology and customer information to tailor e-mails between a business and each individual customer. Using information previously obtained about the customer, the e-mail is altered to fit that customer’s stated needs as well as needs perceived by the business based on the available customer information, for the purpose of better serving the customer by anticipating needs, making the interaction efficient and satisfying for both parties and building a relationship that encourages the customer to return for subsequent purchases.

Privacy

The Privacy Act of 1974, Public Law 93-579, safeguards privacy through creating four procedural rights in personal data. It requires government agencies to show an individual any records kept on him/her; also requires agencies to follow “fair information practices” when gathering and handling personal data. It places restrictions on how agencies can share an individual’s data with other people and agencies and also lets individuals sue the government for violating its provisions.

Rental list

A mailing list that can only be used once or for a limited time. The user of the list pays the owner of the list less money than if he/she would have bought the list outright. Note that this term is usually used for lists generated by address harvesting or other means; the investment made by the list creator does not correlate with the permission of the e-mail recipients. Many firms who “rent” or “buy” a list face spam complaints afterward from persons who never subscribed.

Segmentation (or Targeting)

The use of previously gathered information to send e-mails of a particular offer to a subset of the list.

Soft bounce

A soft bounce is an e-mail that gets as far as the recipient’s mail server but is bounced back undelivered before it gets to the intended recipient. it might occur because the recipient’s inbox is full. A soft bounce message may be deliverable at another time or may be forwarded manually by the network administrator in charge of redirecting mail on the recipient’s domain. On the other hand, a hard bounce is an e-mail message that has been returned to the sender because the recipient’s address is invalid.

Spam or UBE (Unsolicited Bulk e-mail)

From the sender’s point-of-view, spam is a form of bulk mail, often sent to a list obtained by companies that specialize in creating e-mail distribution lists. To the receiver, it usually seems like junk e-mail. Spam is equivalent to unsolicited telemarketing calls except that the user pays for part of the message since everyone shares the cost of maintaining the Internet. Spammers typically send a piece of e-mail to a distribution list in the millions, expecting that only a tiny number of readers will respond to their offer. The term spam is said to derive from a famous Monty Python sketch (“Well, we have Spam, tomato & Spam, egg & Spam, Egg, bacon & Spam…”) that was current when spam first began arriving on the Internet. SPAM is a trademarked Hormel meat product that was well-known in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II.

Spam filter

Software that is usually installed in the users e-mail client, with the purpose of avoiding spam e-mail to get into the client’s inbox or at least to be flagged as such.

Subject line

It is one of the most important issues in e-mail marketing. The better the subject line of an e-mail, the better probability of being opened by the recipient.

Targeting (or segmentation)

Sending e-mails to a subset of a mailing list based on a specific filter, trying to improve CTR and/or open ratios.

Tracking

The act of reporting CTR, open ratios, bounces, etc.

Trigger based messaging

Triggering a message based on an event or interaction with a previous message. Popular for customers who request more information

Unique click

During a particular period, a visitor to a website could click several times on a particular link, but during that period it is counted only as one and considered a unique visitor.

Unsolicited commercial e-mail (UCE)

The subset of e-mail spam that is also commercial, usually of an advertising nature, sent at the expense of the recipient without his or her permission. Sending UCE is an offense against all major ISPs’ terms of service, and is a crime in some jurisdictions.

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