E-Mail Myths and Realities
The mass audience hates the interruption. E-mail doesn't provide entertainment like radio or TV. It doesn't have information like newspapers and magazines. It does nothing for the consumer but fill up his in-box. Most who are involved in e-mail marketing didn't rise through the ranks of direct marketing. Their vision is narrow, and the work they produce reflects this.
Myth: E-mail is a cheap way to get new customers.
Reality: Acquisition costs are similar to traditional direct mail. E-mail is probably at its end as an acquisition tool, unless direct marketers accept the reality that there is no free lunch. Thousands of companies discovered that sending e-mail is cheap; then they rushed to fill everyone's in-box.
How effective would your direct mail package be if everyone received 200 of pieces of mail a day? E-mail is no more effective than any other medium. It lacks the audience-grabbing capability of TV and the cache of newspapers or magazines. And it doesn't have the ability direct mail has to deliver a well-executed package.
Myth: E-mail is a great way to sell.
Reality: E-mails are sent at a rate of 1.5 billion a day. This number is expected to increase ten-fold in five years—to 15 billion a day. It's a deluge. The only way to effectively use e-mail is to build a relationship with the recipient. Share ideas and offer information more often than you pitch.
Myth: There are rules that regulate the economics of e-mail.
Reality: Cost regulates direct mail, not rules. You can't just dump garbage into the mail because each envelope costs 40 cents to 50 cents.
But sending e-mail is virtually free. There's no economic restriction to regulate what's dumped into the e-mail system. Marketers with bad ideas rapidly go broke with direct mail; in the world of e-mail they can continue to dump millions of poorly conceived e-mails into the system. Ninety-nine percent of all spam would self-destruct if the senders had to pay a minimal amount of money to send it out.