Oh boy, the massive influx of spam is creating a sea-change in consumers' attitudes about email. Even a year ago you could put a "get our free newsletter" offer up and people would check the box to sign up. But these days consumers are getting incredibly wary of opt-in offers.
Last night my friend David (who gets an average of more than 60 spam emails in his work in-box between the time he goes home at night and the time he gets in every workday morning) took me out to dinner to BD's Mongolian Barbeque. MarketingSherpa published a Case Study
on their great email loyalty program last week, and David thought it would be fun for me to get out from behind my desk and see waiters collecting email opt-ins in real life.
Much to our surprise our waiter didn't mention the email offer at all. Nor was there a sign up card on the table. We looked around -- David finally spotted some cards in a little basket by the bar. He called over the waiter to ask about this (I was stunned with embarrassment). The waiter said, "Our customers hated being asked for email. It didn't go over well. So we stuck them on the bar and we get some filled out sometimes." Then he added, "But when they do sign up, it works really, really well. We gets lots and lots of people coming back in with print outs of their email coupons. It's great!"
There you have it. The next big email marketing challenge is not how to stick video or audio in your email. It's how to get your spam-weary customers to trust you enough to sign up for anything at all.