Pointers on Email Marketing for Adult Traffic Building

Stephen Yagielowicz

Email marketing is a perennially profitable medium for adult website traffic building because it is a “push” rather than a “pull” mechanism for content distribution, sending the desired material from merchant to customer, in lieu of a customer just stumbling upon it.

For example, an adult website operator could hope that a visitor bookmarks a site and returns for later updates and another chance to make a sale — or the operator may email a notification that an update occurred, providing samples and proactively driving traffic.

There are many appropriate opportunities to send an email containing links back to your website, along with direct sales and up-sell offers to boost the bottom line.

Once you have a good list of prospect email addresses, or access to a mailing service that will send your message to its own list, the rest is fairly easy.

Whether a one-time blast, seasonal or special promotion, periodical newsletter or as a response to user actions such as posting to a forum, joining a website or canceling their subscription, there are many appropriate opportunities to send an email containing links back to your website, along with direct sales and up-sell offers to boost the bottom line.

Adult email marketing has taken a bad rap, in that it was historically not the most prevalent form of spam, as many other industry sectors, such as health care products and mortgage refinancing, pumped far more unsolicited commercial email into users inboxes — but porn spam’s offensiveness to many recipients put it on the regulatory front burner.

As a result, laws such as the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act (CANSPAM) were implemented as a means of fighting back, but the global nature of spamming means that many offenders operate far from U.S. lawmakers.

While the law does not prevent adult email marketing, it places prohibitions on some shady practices, such as forging header and sender account information, deceptive subject lines and more. It also requires a valid return address, adherence to user optout requests, and specific “SEXUALLY-EXPLICIT” labeling.

Think of it as a warning sign and a condom for adult email marketing — a potential turnoff for already wary (and advertising weary) consumers — which endure spamming on a regular basis, both at home, and at work…

A report by Internet security company Symantec reveals that the automotive sector, along with the chemical and pharmaceutical, IT services, and retail sectors, receives far more spam than do individual users in the public sector. This workplace exposure must negatively influence these user’s personal views towards unsolicited emails, especially when fraud or other negative consequences result.

‘Businesses are being targeted with emails purporting to originate from the U.S. Better Business Bureau, socially engineered to suggest that a complaint had been filed against the organization,” the report notes.

The details of the complaint [are supposedly] found in the file attachment, which would lead to a PDF file that contains an embedded executable or a URL that leads to the malware.”

Similar scams target users with bogus airline tickets, failed UPS delivery notifications and other attempts to get them to click a link or open a PDF or other file — and they may be very difficult to thwart.

According to Symantec Security Intelligence Manager Paul Wood, server-side polymorphism and other techniques enable attackers to generate a unique strain of malware for each attack, evading detection by traditional anti-virus security software.

“Scripts such as PHP are commonly used on the attacker’s web site to generate the malicious code on-the-fly,” Wood explained. “Like the Greek sea-god, Proteus, the continually transforming nature of these attacks makes them very difficult to recognize and detect using more traditional signature-based defenses.”

The upshot to these trends from many consumers’ perspective is that unsolicited email is not to be trusted; and that anyone seeking to promote adult entertainment offers via email is facing an uphill battle, but it is a war worth waging for operators combining a careful approach with crafty creatives and presenting a deal worth accepting.

There are many other factors involved in running a successful adult email marketing campaign that are well beyond the scope of this article.

For example, consider the value of common mailing list maintenance notifications, such as sign-up and post-cancellation surveys as a way to determine why a customer first decided to become your customer — or why they no longer wish to receive your messages.

This data will take you a long way.

Finally, remember that there is a difference between the legitimate email marketing of adult entertainment to folks that seek this material, and sending indiscriminate spam.