With one click, most Internet users delete annoying SPAM e-mails they receive out of their lives forever.
Not so fast. Home improvement dealers would do well to pay attention to some of the SPAM they receive. Let me explain.
Trashy e-mails promoting kitchen gadgets, payday loans or male virility products. Most with “buy now” offers about as a subtle as a plane crash.
It’s hard to define, but everybody knows it when they see it: yes, it’s SPAM. Allow me to define SPAM as unsolicited e-mail, generally from sources looking to sell you something. They capture e-mail addresses from unsuspecting Internet users in countless ways, and then pummel them constantly with unwanted solicitations.
With one click, most Internet users delete SPAM e-mails they receive out of their lives forever. Or even arrange for their computers to route their SPAM directly into their computer’s trash bin.
Not so fast. Home improvement dealers would do well to pay attention to some of the SPAM they receive—like e-mails promoting replacement windows, walk-in tubs or new cabinets. Let me explain.
SPAM Example #1
The first e-mail is a pitch for walk-in tubs. It’s nicely designed with a simple lay out:
And while this e-mail doesn’t advertise a specific brand or dealer of walk-in tubs, it does offer the recipient the opportunity to click through to learn more. So far, so good.
So when I clicked through, here’s where I landed:
…a page on Findstuff.com. You’ll note that this page offers just three links for walk-in tubs, including one to a Web site, smarter.com. The odd thing about this e-mail is that it isn’t pitching a specific walk-in tub at all. Rather, the entire e-mail and landing page are set up to get the recipient to click on one of these links.
Clearly, this spammer is in the business of generating clicks from homeowners interested in walk-in tubs to resell to marketer. The spammer is not actually selling walk-in tubs.
If you do click on one of the links, the spammer is compensated by the marketer. In fact, sometimes Google and the other search engines buy these links for resale to their advertisers. How much? Likely less than a dollar for each click. But if you e-mail several million e-mail addresses, the money really adds up.
SPAM Example #2
Now let’s look at a more familiar example of SPAM. Here is an e-mail I received pitching replacement windows:
No kidding—it’s ugly, introduces no brand and doesn’t even offer images of windows. Why anyone would click on this, is beyond me. But spammers aren’t interested in my opinions. They just want recipients to click on the Web site links they embed in their e-mails.
Yes, on behalf of my loyal readers, I actually clicked on one of the links. And where did that link take me?
Drum roll, please: to ServiceMagic:
From this page, homeowners complete ServiceMagic’s standard form, and ServiceMagic then distributes the information collected to home improvement company customer.
If you’ve ever wondered where ServiceMagic gets their sales leads, SPAM e-mails like this are one of their sources.
But there is an important distinction here. ServiceMagic isn’t actually sending this e-mail. One of their business partners is doing the actual sending. ServiceMagic pays these affiliates once the homeowner completes the Web form on ServiceMagic’s landing page.
That means that ServiceMagic keeps itself at arms length from doing the actual spamming, which is frowned on by many online marketers.
That said, ServiceMagic is hardly alone. QuinStreet has an enormous e-mail operation. QualitySmith also uses e-mail, though on a more-limited basis.
What’s the ultimate value of these SPAM-driven leads to home improvement companies? Well, that’s a topic for another post…