Bloggers: ‘Email Marketing is Dead’

Matt O'Conner
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Email may no longer be an effective marketing tool due to rapidly decreasing open rates, spam-blocking software and legal issues, according to blogging advocates at the 2005 Blog Business Summit in Seattle, Wash.

“Email marketing is dead,” said Chris Pirillo, keynote speaker at the event. “Conversion rates are decreasing, blacklists continue to grow and we have to pay for white-listing services.”

While Pirillo and others in the blogging community undoubtedly have an agenda -- to push adoption of blogs as marketing tools -- there are plenty of statistics to back up their claims.

According to the Q3 2004 Email Trend Report from online marketing services firm DoubleClick, 65.7 percent of business emails never get opened. And online-marketing resource site reports that AOL blocks more than 75 percent of emails from ever reaching its members.

Scott Frangos, managing partner at web-development company, said marketers would be better served to explore emerging RSS technology.

RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, enables webmasters to insert news and press releases from other websites onto theirs. Typically, RSS provides abridged versions of web content from another site along with a link to the full version on the original site.

“Unfortunately, most marketers still don’t understand RSS or how to use RSS news feeds to substantially improve their bottom line,” said Rok Hranstnik, author of the book, “Unleash the Marketing & Publishing Power of RSS." “Businesses can actually start publishing and marketing with RSS today with minimal, if any, costs or investment whatsoever.”

According to Hranstnik, RSS feeds have several advantages over email because they are delivered to people who have been pre-qualified as showing an interest in the subject matter and can help improve search engine rankings through content syndication and linking.

“You may think at first that this method of e-marketing is not as front-line as flat-out advertisement,” Frangos said. “But that doesn’t mean it’s less effective. Ask any business person who uses public relations techniques to build their business — it works.”