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!

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