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As these professionals in advertising, marketing, and other industries started to realize the potential of the Internet, articles started appearing in various trade publications. There was a shortage of market research on this new tool. Everyone wanted to know what works, what fails, and what others are doing. Slowly, these early adapters started forming groups. Being online, they formed online discussion groups. These online groups were centered on specific topics, such as advertising and marketing. The early groups formed on a system known as Usenet (more in Chapter 3). Then other groups started forming through e-mail. They've been getting stronger and more popular with more robust software to automate them ever since You can use these lists in three major ways:
1. Education. You can learn a great deal from the archived and current discussions that take place on these lists. Not only can you ask specific questions, those questions will be answered by people in your target market, by peers who have the same responsibilities as you, and by professionals with years of hands-on experience.
2. Publicity. Your participation on these lists is great publicity for you, primarily, and for your company, secondarily. The more you ask questions, answer others' questions, and let people know who you are and what you do, the more you'll find that prospects come to you to learn more. In the next chapter, we'll go into detail about how to get involved for publicity purposes.
3. Community. There's a great online community of professionals who are willing to share information, pass along leads for new business, and give you advice on your practices. Becoming a part of this community provides you with a safety net in case you stumble. In the true spirit of community, discussion lists are there for support as well.
But What Exactly is a Discussion List?
A discussion list is actually a redistribution tool, as shown in Figure 2.1, through which an e-mail message is sent to one address and then is automatically forwarded, via e-mail, to all the people who are subscribed to that address. This is done in one of two ways: post-by-post or digest. Post-by-post, as the name indicates, means that recipients get each e-mail from the other members individually. Digest means that they are all compiled, one after another, and sent out according to a schedule, such as once per day or once per week. Discussion list digests tend to look like a note that is passed from person to person, with each person adding his or her two cents' worth at the end. Conceptually, what is taking place is like a virtual forum for conversation.
The following example is taken from an actual discussion list, "We, Are Business Women Connected". This particular issue has six active participants and three topics. The current discussions (called "threads") are about a member's new product called Angel Babies, merchant accounts in the United Kingdom, and a request for help finding an old post. While the conversation goes back and forth via post-by-post e-mail for some members, those posts are compiled into a digest at once for other members. What results, for digest members, is an actual conversation going back and forth or a question that is asked and answered by the time the digest version is created. A ">" character indicates a message from a previous day that is being responded to by the current message. The digest ended up looking like this (notice the helpful table of contents):
Subject: BWC Digest PM 13 May 99
Message 1: B WC: Angelbabies from Phyllis Schockner
Message 2: B WC: Angelbabies from Debbie Randolph
Message 3: Re: B WC: Merchant accounts for the UK? from Yvette Hernandez
Posted August 6, 2000
Marketing With E-Mail is a quick reading that broadens your horizon by giving you a concise, to the point overview of the different tools available to market a company and its products/ services through e-mail. Permission marketing is the mantra of Marketing With E-Mail and her author, Shannon Kinnard. E-mail marketing, though important, is not a stand-alone communication channel. By offering your prospects and customers multiple response paths, you increase the probability that they will respond to your product offering. In addition, both Marketing With E-Mail and the companion web site refer to many resources that you can explore to get additional insights into that new field of marketing. Shannon Kinnard, however, does not cover the economics of e-mail marketing thoroughly. Case studies are not usually backed up by any in-depth financial analysis that should definitely convince you that investing in e-mail marketing provides a sensible return on investment and positively influences customer lifetime value. Hopefully, Shannon Kinnard will further share her (financial) expertise with you in the second edition of Marketing With E-Mail that will be released soon.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 19, 2000
Marketing with E-mail is a great guide on how to use e-mail to market your prodcut and/or service on the Web. It discussed various options such as newsletters, newsgroups, opt-in e-mail services, etc. Excellent step-by-step guide on how to use e-mail to enhance your business.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.