If a target shooter aims center and the results are left of the target, that informs them about their scope settings.

Failure always points the way to success if there is enough data, and we read that data correctly.

And with spam, there is lots of data.

Spam—also referred to as junk email—is unsolicited messages sent in bulk by email.

Spam is mostly failure. The message failed to reach the intended target, was identified as “not useful or wanted” and thrust in the digital garbage pail.

The odds are against them and yet they keep at it. The spammers wouldn’t keep sending the emails if they didn’t work.

Some of it gets through, gets clicked on, and gets responded to.

What Can Digital Marketers Learn from Spam’s Successes and Failures?

The headline is critically important

It’s the subject line of the email: If it isn’t compelling, you’ll get no further. Tell them why they must continue reading. For whatever success the spammer is getting, they owe much of it to their compelling headline.

Brevity Works

You don’t need to pack every fact into each effort. One key message per marketing piece should be your rule-of-thumb. Keep it simple.

Frequency Is Critical

Sending just one piece is a waste of money and time. On average, it takes 8-13 impressions to really catch someone’s attention. Don’t stop short.

Know Your Audience

Headlines must be compelling but they must speak to your demographic to be successful.

It’s Not about You.

Spam emails never talk about their company’s history or tout their depth of industry knowledge. They cut to the chase and talk about their product or service and what it will do for the recipient.

Here Are a Few Tips to Go the Opposite Way of the Spammer:

Give Them Something New

When your ad looks like every ad that’s gone before, you immediately label yourself as low value. Your “Exclusive Offer” isn’t as exclusive as you think.

Standing out in marketing isn’t just useful, it’s essential.

Be Believable

It’s lovely to think that you can “Solve my IRS debt problems instantly.” I’d really like to think that too. But, if I have debt problems, chances are I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out how to fix them. If there is a way to make them disappear, then I would have found it by now. The people I trust would have told me already.

Good marketers never underestimate their audience. Value propositions have to be powerful, but relatable.

Speak to What your Customers Really Want

Things like personal growth, a sense of belonging, peace, and security. Reducing your customers to their most base emotions is tawdry and not the basis for a long-term relationship.

Don’t Look Cheap

No spelling mistakes, no icons, no polyester.

These basic principles of imitating what the spammers do well and avoiding their pitfalls will go a long way toward getting your emails opened and responded to.

A global team of digerati with offices in Washington, D.C. and Southern California, we provide digital strategy, digital marketing, web design, and creative for brands you know and nonprofits you love.

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