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French Version

Who are these people?

"You have 4 new messages", says your mailbox. As you anxiously press the 'inbox' link to see who among your dear friends or business colleagues has sent you a note...

"You have 4 new messages", says your mailbox. As you anxiously press the 'inbox' link to see who among your dear friends or business colleagues has sent you a note, you realize that none of the emails received are of any importance at all. They are, to use the classic term, junk mail. The question is who are these people who send you all these messages which you rarely, if ever, read.
Although email is expected to be a core marketing tool in the future, it's effectiveness is governed by some principles.

For starters, it's got to an opt-in based tool, meaning that you place a request to receive information about a product, not the other way round by which product information is enforced upon you. If you've asked for it, then you'll read it. I, for example, subscribe to a number of IT industry and market newsletters, which I enjoy reading every time they're dropped into my mailbox. The only problem is that I've also got daily newsletters about 'personal finance', 'your dream vacation' and so on that I never requested. Why? Well, because email marketers share addresses, and it's just a fact of life you have to live with.

If there's something you would like to receive by email, then signing-up for it will certainly mean that you'll receive other, many other, thing you don't want.

Another basic principle of email marketing success is frequency; because you can only tolerate a certain amount of promotional email messages, within a given period of time.

Although every customer has a different tolerance level, email marketers claim that once every two weeks is just about right, to ensure that the customer isn't infuriated by the 'email shot' and to increase the likelihood of the customer actually reading it.

And that is where the final principal of successful email campaigns comes in. To further enhance the possibility that the email will be read, the subject line of the message has to offer a 'very attractive proposition, addressing a particular interest or need of yours.

A good email marketer would be able to determine that you are among the 'highly interested' segments of the product being offered, and therefore only need a simple incentive like the allure of a special offer or something free to read the email and achieve the promotional goals of the seller.

The only problem is that most of 'these people' who flood you mailbox don't understand, or bother to apply any of the principles above and therefore are wasting their time, and yours, not mention the waste of space in your mailbox.

It's already time-consuming to handle the chain-letters, and jokes forwarded by your friends, let alone promotional email shots for products and services you don't even want to hear of. Irritating people isn't, by any means, the right way to sell them your product; and now that local and regional advertisers are getting in on the 'email marketing game' you can expect to experience even more irritation in bilingual (Arabic-English) form.

One day, email marketing will be used in the right way, and it will actually be a 'pleasure' to receive product information and 'special offer' updates, but it's going to be a while before you can enjoy that perfect cyber-world. Only then will email marketing truly achieve the goals of both the seller and the customer.

Zeid Nasser
The Star

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