Hello Spam, Didn’t Know You Were Still Here!

Ah! That's nothing!
Ah! That’s nothing!

Let me see… I have collected in about 24 hours time 239 spam messages. That is only in my main email box. True, that includes the incoming emails from a alias email address I can discontinue at any moment and it will slim down the amount of spam drastically. But I am not doing that.

My spam is nicely delivered into the spam folder, and usually doesn’t bother me. I just see that number increase over time but the filtering usually works pretty fine.
But what bothers me is that it is still there. Not on my computer, but spamming is still happening on large scale. And this time I do not blame the cyber-criminals who hope for me to click on a link or run a program that they attached. I am blaming the very legit companies that sell yours and mine email address.

The thing to understand is, that marketing for email is broken. And I am not talking about you and I receiving so much spam, but that it is actually considered spam. I receive so many a day, of which a lot of it is simply real crap. But there are loads of valid companies trying to reach out to an audience. And they pay good money to find new people that might be able to become a paying customer.
Instead, their advertisement is delivered, unseen, in my spam folder that I clean nicely every single day without looking into. I have stopped checking the spam folder the moment I started to trust the filter that is taking care of it.

But there is still not a good alternative for marketing online. The advertising by email is broken, as pointed out, and advertisement in banners on sites is not much better. With filters like AdBlock on browsers, many banners are simply not even shown at all. The user has no idea that there might be good or useful advertising there.

And I am, for one, who loves getting rid of advertisements. They bother me. But by ignoring them this way, the annoyance actually gets worse. Companies need to try harder to get attention from a potential audience or customer base. And since there are not yet good alternatives, more and more money is spent in these broken forms of advertising.

The issue why it is broken in the first place is, in my humble opinion, that we now consider the world our audience. We don’t see the internet as something that is still local. As a company you only see money in reaching out to as many people as possible. And maybe we should see advertising more like a dating site; reaching out to people that are literally within reach. Don’t aim for an audience you cannot reach out to.

But if others don’t play by the rules of aiming for a local audience, why should you? Well, marketing still costs money, and it should. Everyone fell over Facebook when it was revealed that from all the people who liked your page, only 1% will actually see your updates. Unless you paid for promotion, then it was the full reach.
Of course, it is a good way of trying to earn an extra buck, but actually, it also filters out all those millions of companies trying to reach out to everyone. True, it takes the ‘social’ out of the ‘social media’. In social media the migration of information should be regulated by the people themselves. So if someone likes your page, they also should receive the updates you make. But as everything on the web still, advertisement is not yet ready with it’s successful evolution to the web.

And I honestly think that digital marketing is broken; but only for one group; unsolicited marketing. If I did not ask for it, I don’t want to see it.
But there is something there for marketing that is actually wanted. The Facebook approach is not fine-tuned, but actually, it does make sense. For a small company, with no likes yet, it is hard to reach someone. But if you grow big, it makes sense. If you have 10,000 likes, a 100 people will now see your postings, for free. Those people have your updates shown on their pages. And a multitude of their friends will see their pages again. Which still adds up to a nice amount of reach.

And building up to those 10,000 likes? Well, pay up. There is no company in history that experienced totally free advertising in any way. Pay, and grow. No matter if it is Facebook, Google AdWords. It works. Not as fast as you might expect, but it beats print advertising in any way when you are working on the road ahead.

Just, stay away from email advertising to give your product or company a boost out of nothing. That is my advice. But for the rest, just keep in mind, nothing in the world is free.

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