Opt-In E-Mail Industry Now Closed to Outsiders?

by Bryant Valentine
Clickbooth Director of Email Marketing

Many e-mail marketers will remember a time not so long ago, when one could do very minimal work and reap huge rewards. Three years ago an aspiring entrepreneur with some opt-in lists, a mailing platform and minimal technical knowledge could load a campaign, send to their list and just sit back and watch the sales and leads roll in. While today the industry is thriving more than ever and the sales are still coming in, the barrier to entry has definitely been raised.

What has changed for these aspiring individuals and companies? So many are coming and going with just a small percentage actually making it. Some even barely surviving. Some key factors contribute to this. While I would never claim that the following is the be all end all, there are undeniable facts that exist.

When looking at the mechanism of email marketing, it can be broken down into key components. Without all of these components in place, there will be failure, or a success so moderate that some will throw in the towel just to be done with the headache.

Email marketing requires opt-in lists. As simple as it may sound, without a list of opted-in addresses, your future business will be done before it ever really began. When email marketing started, opt-in lists were not a hurdle into the industry. Now lists are a prized possession that is given out to those that are able to produce maximum deliverability, with a high ROI, and little to no complaints. List managers are now an elite group that scrutinizes the details of every applicant.

After you’ve received your opt-in list, there is another hurdle. Unlike the days of ole, one cannot load up a list and just hit send. Careful preparation of data has to be taken on many different levels. Knowing who to send to in your list and who to avoid is a critical aspect that some have overlooked and paid for dearly. With the proper connections and due diligence an email marketer will be able to attain DNE and history lists that will assure they are delivering to the right people.

So here stands your future email marketer, armed with an opt-in list that has been cleaned and ready to send. All that is left is to send to the addresses in the list and simply watch the leads pour in. However, this is where many find the next barrier awaiting them.

Email delivery is not as simple as loading your data and campaigns into a mailing platform and just hitting send. To be quite honest, the technical know-how that your top email marketers possess is a skill that will elude most. We could talk about IP’s, Hosting, ISP relations, etc. for hours on end, because each contains their own set of hurdles and barriers. It needs to be simply stated in the facts. Your top email marketers are ones that can deliver to addresses that some of our top Fortune 500 companies cannot even reach.. The constant tweaking of their skill has made email marketing an art form.

There is not a one size fits all, or simple method, that will guarantee the email marketer hits their target. Delivering to the inbox is a systematic process that requires years of practice and understanding of each ISP. You’re welcome to one ISP is a simple rejection to another, none of which touches on the constant flux and changing requirements that are taking place on a daily and sometimes even hourly basis.

A novice email marketer today has been able to garner data that is clean and ready to send through wonderful connections, hard work, and a technical know-how that exists in less than half. They have acquired enough knowledge through trial and error and are able to achieve a deliverability rate that, while not great, is acceptable and profitable.

So here come the sales and leads. Actually not so fast! Our new found email marketer has accomplished more than most, but he/she still has the most critical barrier to overcome. While they are using double opted-n lists, and following all CAN SPAM laws, there is so much more that exists to ensure safety and legitimacy. Our fresh email marketer is after all not the “vijaggra” or replica “rollexx” emailer that has plagued many inboxes and junk folders around the world. Our newly born marketer now has to use all resources available to ensure that everything they send out is compliant, and within the boundaries that the advertiser, network, federal, state, and local laws have set fourth. An oversight here could not only forfeit any and all of their revenue, but also carry legal consequences. Case in point being that a majority of email marketers now have legal advisors on staff.

The simple fact remains that for an aspiring entrepreneur, there is much more involved than what meets the eye. While not all has been covered, some may also say that this is not even the tip of the iceberg for new email marketers. Connections to the right people in the industry, technical know-how and comprehension of compliance and federal laws, are all barriers that a new email marketer must face. The days of the Wild West where anyone and everyone could get in and make a name for themselves are gone. We are now in an industry that is becoming harder, and more regulated by the day.

Your new email marketer faces challenges and barriers of entries that did not exist a mere three years ago. While all these challenges can be met with the right information, we are still moving forward at a blazing speed. One which some will enter and keep up with, while others currently marketing will not be able to and will simply fall by the wayside. Some may argue that this is not a fair system. While the challenges that one faces are large and sometimes seem insurmountable, it is also a system that has helped clean up our industry. It is a systematic set of barriers that have allowed true email marketers success, while weeding out the simple churn and burn marketer that is in it for a quick buck. Outsiders here are accepted and come through the doors on a daily basis. The only difference on our end is that email marketing no longer accepts all applicants. This is an elite group that is in it for the long haul. The real question then posed is: Do you have what it takes to enter the world of email marketing?

Questions or Comments? Contact Bryant@clickbooth.com

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