Filtering Out Success
....Is your Spam FILTER Costing You Money and Clients?
More and more companies and individuals are adding mail filters... victims of the software companies that convince them that filtering out spam is more important than customer or business info (did you ever notice that "spam filters" are promoted/marketed with spam? Ironic?).
Most of these filters are SO sensitive that an e-Zine, or Newsletter, can't get though (EarthLink and Embarqmail are guilty of this even at "med" spam settings).
According to a recent study by Lyris... over 10% of opt-in mail is blocked... meaning one in 10 of the emails you WANT to get... you don't.
Why is this?
For one reason because mail servers are saving THEMSELVES money by "nuking" your mail rather than letting it sit in your mailbox taking up their storage space. They don't care how reliable their mail filters are, because if it costs you money, you'll probably never even know. They have no incentive to NOT block your mail.
Why are filters so unreliable?
In my opinion, because spam filters are designed by 20-something keyboard jockeys. "Tech" people who are not business people and don't have the slightest clue about what is required to be successful in business. They design filters to identify "spam" through words like "mortgage," "free," "opportunity," "money" etc. This means if you work in the financial or mortgage industry you probably get a LOT of your email blocked and never know it. These people also think that anything that "sells" something is somehow "bad" and they want to protect you from being "sold" something. After all, they know we can't be trusted to make these decisions for ourselves.
Now, you may think that one in 10 may not sound that bad at first. But what if someone broke into your REAL mail box and took out 10% of the mail in there. Not only would it annoy you, but it would be a federal offense.
And consider that the emails you missed out on could have had valuable business information... information you need to make money, such as leads to potential new clients, ideas for business strategies or promotions, "intel" on what your competitors are doing, etc.
Some filters are even programmed so that if one piece of mail from an address is ever designated as "spam" ...then no other, FUTURE eMails from that eMail address will get through either!
This means that the sender can't even contact you with a personal note to inform you of the situation.
Example: The City of Casselberry's mail filter blocks all mail I send to their employees that are our Connections members.... their filter thinks our newsletter is "spam" now and won't allow any mail from my eMail address through their mail server. This is despite the fact they want us to promote the cities events in the SAME EMAIL NEWSLETTER THEY ARE BLOCKING!
If I have a question about an event they have submitted to me... I can't find out by eMailing the person who sent it AND, because I don't have time to make phone calls to verify info, this means that some of the cities events never make it to the web site. They lost the opportunity for publicity and wasted the time of the person who submitted the event.
How can your spam, or email, filter cost YOU money?
According to a recent study... businesses LOSE 30% of their potential NEW business because they simply don't respond quickly enough, or are too hard to reach. Reasons cited included email filters, voice mail systems and other technology layers that made it hard for a potential customer to contact a business.
Information is crucial in the business world. I heard from one of our Real Estate Agent members that they are involved in a legal situation right now because their real estate company's spam filter was blocking info from their vendors (such as the mortgage company they worked with). They missed a vital piece of information and it cost their customer a higher interest rate and more points because they didn't get this info in time and should have. Now that agent is being asked to pay the buyer more than their commission... to make up for the mistake. Whether they have to pay it or not remains to be seen BUT, at the least, the filter cost them the good will and referrals they would have had from this client, made them look unprofessional and gave their company a "black eye."
Another member works in the event business. When she is looking for a vendor... someone to buy or rent products or services from, she often sends a group eMail requesting bids to the vendors on her email list. How many of those vendors are losing the opportunity to get her jobs because of their mail filters?
On the flip side, one of my friends signed up for a "lead service" at $99 a month. After a number of months she cancelled it because she wasn't getting leads. Later she found out that her mail filter was putting them in her SPAM filter and blocking some all together. She fixed it, but it cost her over $300 before she found that out AND she estimates that if she had been able to nail just 2-3 of the leads that they had sent her, she could have made from $30-50K in additional profits that year.
It makes you wonder how many other situations exist where important info doesn't get through... an opportunity that would have led to a sale or new customer, etc. ...all because someone wants to save the 60 seconds, or so, it takes to hand filter out their real spam.
How much opportunity could be lost every day?
Who knows? ...You can't count what you don't have!
In other words, you cannot see down the road not taken.
Is "spam" REALLY such a big problem?
I do NOT use any kind of mail filter. None. Seriously. Not even a "spam folder" system.
I send out the Connections Groups newsletter to over 23,000 people every week (plus my eMail is all over this web site) ... and I STILL don't have a big spam problem. I used to change my eMail address once a year... (and use a separate one for online purchases and interactions), but lately, because of the *"can spam" laws I have found that I've been able to use the same eMail address for 3 years... and it still never takes me more than a minute or two to filter out my real spam BY HAND.
Unless you have access to a filter that you can custom program.... think whether using a spam filter AT ALL is worth the risk of missing a new client opportunity (how much IS one new client worth to you? What is the LTV, Lifetime Value, of your average client?), alienating another business professional by bouncing their mail OR losing the ability to stay in touch with your fellow business folk.
Another thought on the matter... I just saved over $150 on a purchase I had to make... thanks to "spam." It just goes to show...
"One man's spam is
another man's filet mignon!"
By: Sue Copening, Exec Director
*"can spam" laws - Spam laws require companies to put an "unsubscribe" option in all bulk emails... and to remove someone within 10 days if they request it. There is a hefty fine for non-compliance. Since the law has gone into effect there has been a drastic reduction in spam from most countries... especially US companies. Recent research shows a reduction in spam of over 80% in the last few years. Do you hear that from the companies that sell "spam filters" though? Of course not! Though I did see an ad from one recently that used that statistic as part of their marketing. They quoted this statistic... but in such a way that they made it sound like the reduction was because of their filter. They actually took credit for eliminating over 80% of spam.... basically pretending they had blocked all this spam ...spam that wasn't even being sent because of the new laws!