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October 29, 2009

The REAL Death Of Email Marketing

For online marketers who have been around for a while, it’s no secret that email marketing “is not what it use to be!”

For many online marketers, conversions rates are a mere fraction of what they use to be. At the same time, there are a few marketers that I’ve chatted with who have experienced no significant drop in conversions. These are all marketers who have built incredible subscriber loyalty over the years.

For many online marketers, the biggest problem is email deliverability. Their email is simply not getting through. Email is being filtered so heavily today that often less than 20% of a large ezine mailing gets delivered.

There are things you can do to improve your email deliverability, such as run it through a spam checker prior to sending it out. Top mailing list management systems, such as , have built in systems that allow you to grade an email against the Spam Assassin database prior to sending it. If your email scores higher than a 2, I personally would revise it to lower the score.

I’ve talked to friends over a year ago, who often confided in me that they sometimes sent out emails and got absolutely NO response. They wondered if anyone even received the emails or read them.

Many savvy marketers also realized that a business totally dependent upon email was not a very solid business. They realized that what they really needed was a database that contained not only names and email addresses, but physical mailing addresses. That way, if something dramatic ever did happen in the world of email, they could just shift their marketing to direct mail, and still be in business. This is one of the reasons that you started seeing some online marketers offering loss leaders on CD or DVD. It gave them the perfect tool (excuse) to build out their databases. They knew that email could someday go the way of fax broadcasts.

Some of my in-the-know friends have also shared with me that many ISP’s now monitor things such as email delivery rates, bounce rates, and open rates. They use readily available data, and if a given ISP or third party list host had a dismal record, they may block ALL email from that source.

That’s pretty scary. I was also told that a few well-known list management providers were having emails coming off their servers BLOCKED, or “black holed.”

If ISPs are tapping into database that reveal which mail servers send out a lot of mail that has very low open rates, for example, and blocking email from those servers, that does very well spell the slow death of some email marketers… unless they move their list to other platforms.

Ok, so I just painted a pretty dismal picture for some marketers.

When I was in the military, my bosses always told me that they wanted the truth from me. They insisted that I not “sugar-coat” the facts. However, they also told me not to bring them problems, without also bringing them viable solutions.

Solutions to the email deliverability issue are out there. For example, paid “sender verification” is one that is often suggested.

One that I’ve looked at many times over the years is some type of direct-to-desktop solution. That’s one where your subscribers install tools that allow your communications to tap into technologies not even dependent upon email.

The objection always brought up when discussing direct-to- desktop applications, is that there’s only so much desktop real-estate, so a person can only subscribe to so many of these independent channels.

Another solution that I like very much is building your list on a hosted platform, so that communications take place within the system.

A good example of this can be seen on the social networking site Sokule, pronounced “so cool.” The Sokule community is built on a platform that looks and feels a lot like Twitter, except that it’s built for marketers, so you are encouraged to market on the platform. In fact, there are several built-in features that allow members to monetize their community membership.

While members of many social networking communities tend to de-emphasize getting lots of followers, Sokule is different. Sokule seems to encourage you to get as many followers (called “trackers”) as you can in two ways:

  1. They have a quasi-currency, called “sokens” that you can offer to other members to reward them for following you. You earn these sokens, and then you offer them to community members as a reward for following you. In a way, you can buy followers.
  2. They allow upgraded members to direct message ALL of their followers a maximum of once every three day. That means that in a very real way, when you build a following on Sokule, you ARE building a list.

When you set up your Sokule account, you enter three of your areas of interest. This allows others to search the database for members with like interest, whom they can then track (follow). In theory, this means that when you send out a direct message, your message should be going to people interested in the same topic.

Just as with an email list, you need to respect your trackers on Sokule, and provide genuine value to the relationship.

To check out Sokule, visit my profile page at:

There you can see how you can personalize your profile and monetize it. The links that you’ll notice on the left side of the page are to five of my pet websites. There are also links on the left side of the page that promote Clickbank products. Those links are coded with MY Clickbank ID.

My old military bosses would be proud of me today. Yes, I came bearing bad news. Email marketing as it once was is dying an agonizing death. However, I also did as my old bosses taught me and presented you with a viable, proven solution.

In future articles, I’ll share with you some more solutions to “the email problem.” For now, check out Sokule. Sign up for a free account and take it for a test drive. It’s quicker to do that at:” The key to survival in business, just as it was for me in the military is to be aware of and adapt to changing circumstances. That’s something you’re now ready to do.

Willie Crawford has been marketing online for 13 years, and used article marketing most of that time (writing over 1500 articles). His favorite tools for automatically distributing his articles, videos, podcasts, and press releases is the automated submission site: