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BizReport : Email Marketing : January 08, 2010

Study: Consumers clicking on weight loss email spam

Yet another reason for legitimate email marketers to be diligent about their white hat practices: a recent study found that weight loss email spam shows high sales rates. Consumers, apparently, are still being sucked into the spam trap when it comes to a better body, and legitimate email marketers could suffer by the association.

by Kristina Knight

smajpg.jpgThe study, conducted by Associate Professor at Brooklyn College Joshua Fogel and former student Sam Shlivko found that nearly 20% of consumers with 'weight issues' purchased products from email spam messages and more than 40% of those with 'weight issues' at least opened the spam emails.

The news is especially disheartening for pharma and weight loss marketers with legitimate products who are trying to help consumers. With consumers responding to so many spam messages, many of which are hawking products that don't work or that can even be harmful, the legitimate marketers are seeing decreases in lead building.

What's more, overall email spam rates continue to plunder the email landscape. According to a recent MessageLabs report the average spam rate in 2009 was 88%, a 6% increase (year over year) with malware variants increasing by 23%.

What can legitimate marketers do to engage consumers with real messages and offers?

First, don't forget your white-hat practices. Although consumers are opening spam messages, seeing authenticated messages in their inboxes does increase open and click through rates which should, in turn, decrease the number of spam messages being opened.

Second, keep your list up to date and periodically send a survey asking what new information, products or services readers are interested in; this keep the legitimate marketer 'on the radar' of the consumers.

Finally, do your best to create subject lines that are informative and not likely to be caught by spam filters so that emails land in inboxes rather than junk folders.

The study was published in the Southern Medical Journal.

Tags: email marketing, email message, Joshua Fogel, MessageLabs, Southern Medical Journal, spam filters, spam rates, spam trends

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