Almost Full Disclosure

332 people were sent an e-mail newsletter from me last Saturday afternoon promoting the clarioncall.com blogs. As of this writing on Tuesday evening, 185 of those (or about 55.7%) opened that e-mail. Of those who did, so far 119 (or 64.7%) actually clicked on at least one of the links to look at a blog.

I know all this (and a lot more) because of the very detailed reporting that my e-mail service, Constant Contact, provides. I also learned more than I really wanted to know about some of my readers!

I know, for instance, which readers had nothing much going on Saturday afternoon and opened the e-mail in the first hour. I also know who stays up late and reads their e-mails after midnight and I know who the early risers are.

Of course, if you didn’t open the e-mail I don’t know what to think. Perhaps you are not an e-mail junkie and will get around to checking your e-mail eventually or perhaps you are just busy this time of year. I suppose there might even be a few people out there who just don’t care about what I might have to say!

Constant Contact says that some e-mail reading programs have a feature that disables the reporting so there may actually be more than 185 people who have opened the e-mail. It is certainly also possible that my e-mail was blocked by a spam filter somewhere along the way.
All of this knowledge is a little scary, but in my defense, I can say that I had no idea I would be getting all this information when I signed up to use the service. I provide this full disclosure so that those of you who received the newsletter can think twice about whether you want to open the next one, from me, or anyone else!

If you go straight to the blogs without opening an e-mail or clicking on a newsletter link, I have no way of knowing who you are. (Unless of course you post a comment, in which case I can trace your digital footprint and hunt you down like a dog!)

If you want to be removed from the list, Constant Contact makes it easy to opt out, which 8 people (or about 2.3%) already have. On the other hand, if you did not get a newsletter and would like to, you can sign up on the clarioncall.com home page. Just click on the big yellow button that says “join our e-mail list.” Remember, if you change your mind, you can alway opt out at any time!

BTW My response was way above average according to Constant Contact. Their figures show that only 38 per cent of e-mails from small businesses are ever opened and only 8.9 per cent of those readers actually click on a link.

I suppose this means that my target audience was very interested in the message. That’s not surprising since my list was mainly comprised of people that I have had some contact with before, either in politics, community organizations or through my previous life in the newspaper business.

So now that I know about the potential invasion of privacy that this technology can deliver, will I do it again? Of course! And for one very good reason: it works!

On Sunday, which is normally a slow day online, I set a new record for traffic to this column with over 150 people visiting! Overall, no doubt mainly because of the buzz created by the newsletter, last week’s column was read by almost 400 people which is also a near-record. But it is not the quantity of the readers so much as the quality.

This column was read last week by a virtual Who’s Who of political leaders and heavy hitters in Geneseo and Livingston County, but you’ll have to take my word for that. I would never disclose that list!

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