E-mail marketers figure that once a list member has opted-in that this means that their readers will read and value their e-mail marketing letters. Well, this is not always the case.

According to blogger Stefan Eyram, “BACN” is a marketing e-mail that many readers agreed to receive, but is not immediately read, if at all. It’s not spam, exactly, because they agreed to it. These messages are only mildly interesting and are not urgent. They idle in the in-box or in a file folder like a magazine stack on the living room coffee table.

The reader might have opted-in to list on an auto parts supplier’s e-mail list and agreed to accept e-mails about sales and promotions. In practice, virtually all the mailings have been for promotions have been for auto parts that the reader did not need or desire. Yet, there is a chance something relevant might come along, so the reader does not immediately delete the e-mail.

Thus, there is a fine line between BACN and SPAM. The danger is that the sender will keep sending the less than relevant messages until the reader opts-out. The risk is that the reader will one day declare this a nuisance and hit the spam button. Too many spam complaints and the sender will be black-listed and develop the reputation as a spammer.

For example, six months ago I bought a used red Corvette and I was quite excited. I immediately purchased a new set of fancy floor mats from an internet auto parts store. Since that purchase, I have received weekly e-mails about auto parts that are totally irrelevant to me such as monster tires for off-road trucks. Initially I hesitated to delete theses messages since my purchase experience was good, but I now have little hope that any of the future messages will be relevant.

What this means to the sender is that they must continue to ask their list for additional or new preferences. Just because someone opted-in one year ago does not mean that they have the same interest today. Also, a periodic campaign to ask members to opt-in again might help improve your list quality and help the sender avoid the spam button.

Beware of assuming that your messages are relevant since BACN can quickly change into SPAM.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.

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