What we can learn from SPAM

Spam Remember when the word SPAM meant that meat substitute in a can?  Today, it seems like there is no escape from the relentless barrage of junk e-mail.  

Every day, electronic hucksters offer us investment opportunities, Nigerian fortunes to be shared, PayPal and bank look-alikes who want us to update our credit card information, Canadian pharmaceuticals and enhancements of every variety.

Annoying?  You bet.  Expensive?  Just ask any of the major corporations who have spent millions to build firewalls.  But let’s remember one thing. The odds are against them and yet they keep at it. The spammers wouldn’t keep sending the e-mails if they didn’t work.

What can we learn from their tactics?

Your headline is vital.  In this case, it’s the subject line of the e-mail.  If it isn’t compelling, you’ll get no further.  Tell them why they can’t afford to stop reading.

Brevity works.  You don’t need to pack every fact into each effort.  One key message per marketing piece should be your rule of thumb.

Frequency is critical.  Sending just one piece is a waste of money and time.  On average, it takes 8-13 impressions to really catch someone’s attention.  So don’t stop short.

Know your audience’s heart.  Headlines like “we won’t say no to your loan request” and “be the man she wants you to be” play on the recipient’s deepest emotions – fear, worry, insecurities.

It’s not about you.  SPAM e-mails never wax on about their company’s history or tout their depth of industry knowledge.  They cut to the chase and talk about their product and what it will do for the recipient.

Naturally, I am not endorsing you start sending out SPAM.  But there’s no reason we can’t borrow from their techniques.  Just remember, use your knowledge for good, not evil!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

6 comments on “What we can learn from SPAM

  1. Kamy Larkin (formerly Herbst) says:

    I wasn’t sure what to expect from the title of this entry but I like it!
    Great food for thought. I’m not typically a “cut to the chase type person” but it helps put me in the mind set.
    Thank you!

  2. Yes I like this post. however, I would say it could be looked at as spammers have learned from good marketing techniques. We all know that sending an email with your ‘about us’ copy as your opening statement is not going to catch anyone’s attention.

  3. I liked the point about Know Your Audience’s heart. Two books I like on that subject are: Lovemarks and HotButton Marketing.

  4. Tracy says:

    Interesting “food” for thought. Thanks.

  5. Thomas,

    Agreed….both excellent books. You would probably also enjoy Joe Calloway’s Category of One. Brilliant.


  6. Kamy,

    Did you think I was going to start advocating for SPAM?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *