Kevin O'Keefe, whom I admire and respect, has raised doubts about my Oct. 4 post "Who Says E-Newsletters Don't Work?" Kevin, for one, apparently thinks they don't work.
Kevin's comments are marked in brackets.
>>Larry, I am surprised you would inflate the open rate on your email newsletters as a way to show their effectiveness. <<
I didn't "inflate" the open rate on the newsletter. I just reported what the counter code recorded. I would have no reason to exaggerate my stats. That would be dishonest.
>>Open rates for email newsletters can be bogus. The open rate is generally tracked through the use of a tiny invisible graphic that sits on the publisher's server. When a recipient opens the publisher's email, the tiny invisible graphic is downloaded, and each download is detected and marked as an open.<<
The hidden counter code in the Professional Marketing e-newsletter is actually contained on a Web page -- so that a recipient must actually click on a link, taking them to the Web page, before the visit is counted. It is very common for people to forward my e-newsletter, otherwise why would there be more unique visitors than I have subscribers? The total visits are even higher, because after people read one article, they click on a second link on the Web page to read another article.<<
>>Email recipients generally use use the preview feature of their email client. In preview mode, the email will go ahead and grab the invisible tracking graphic and therefore register as having been "opened." The recipient, however, might never have really opened your email, or even glanced at it. The same thing happens when the email newsletter is forwarded.<<
I doubt that the open rates are bogus. Most people have the preview feature of their email turned off as a security measure, because they don't want to inadvertently accept a virus. Based on the responses I get to the newsletter, I'm certain that the numbers are genuine.
>>Email newsletters still play some role in law firm marketing but their role is declining. Large firms using blogs & RSS say the blogs cost less and are having far greater impact than their previous email newsletters.<<
To the contrary, there are articles that say that email newsletters are better than blogs as a marketing technique. See "Why Ezines Still Beat Blogs" dated June 6, 2005 by Christopher Knight at http://emailuniverse.com/ezine-tips/?Why-Ezines-Still-Beat-Blogs&id=1287 .
>>...when was the last time you saw people writing articles on the net referencing someones newsletters?<<
This month's cover story of Law Office Computing is "Read All About It - Effective e-newsletters take the marketing lead." So e-newsletters are still a hot topic. Besides, I still use Listserv technology, one of the oldest communications tools on the Internet, and it is incredibly effective. Just because tool isn't new doesn't mean it doesn't work. Often, just doing the basics is the best approach.