Learning Marketing from Email Spammers

A little Gem from DoshDosh:

Imagine you’re a email spammer. Your strategy is to send out thousands of unsolicited emails everyday hoping that some unassuming individual will purchase your product or inadvertently get infected by your malware/virus, so you can phish for credit card and banking details.

So here’s the situation. You’re dealing with millions of people whom you don’t know. You might not even know their age and gender, the basic demographic yardsticks. You can data mine email archives on a zombie computer to create personalized and convincing email messages but you’re always going to be dealing with a barrier of not-enough-trust.

You don’t know the audience well. So how do you increase the chance that they’ll even open up your email and clickthrough on the links within it? By treading on common ground and leading with the familiar. People might not know who you are but they know Angelina Jolie, who incidentally is the most popular celebrity name used by email spammers.

2.28% of all emails sent in July 2008 contained her name in the subject field. As a personality famous worldwide, she’s an alluring referential point spammers use to breach the walls of unsavvy targets. The familiar is powerful. That’s why you’ll see domain urls that are almost identical to official institutions or receive emails that use the addresses of people you know.

But that’s not all, spammers also love to use current events as bait. Events like political elections, conflicts between nations and major sports events like the Olympics are all fodder used to hook unassuming users into clicking on links or videos loaded with Trojan viruses.

When you want to get someone to do something, you need to arouse their interest first. You might not know every single person who reads your site, but that’s fine. Because you do know what they are generally familiar with. Use those references to bridge the gap and connect.

Every single blog post or salesletter you write can be filled with comparisons, analogies, metaphors, name-drops, references and citations that make your offer/idea more vivid. More familiar. More enticing. So focus on getting your audience interested first, because if they tune out right from the start, they’ll never absorb your pitch or give you a second chance.

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