|EMAIL is now an important part of any magazine marketer's plan. But using these lists effectively is no slam-dunk, as circulators know. The cost of good opt-in email lists is high, privacy issues limit our opportunities, glutted mailboxes reduce response, and technology brings new obstacles as well as rewards. What's more, the integration of information with other sources for execution and analysis can be complex. But those who have pioneered in this area are getting a payoff in enormous cost efficiency, building their customer base and learning much more about prospects and subscribers than they ever dreamed possible. So it is essential that circulators know the tips, tricks and secrets of effective e-marketing to make this channel - still relatively small - work better for them.
Circulation Management asked three pioneers in email marketing to give their most important tips on the Database, Creative, Campaign Management and Back-End Analysis aspects of an email marketing program. Jay Schwedelson, Corporate VP, Worldata wrote on database; Deb Goldstein, President of IDG List Services, on creative; and Michael Mayor, CEO, NetCreations, on campaign management and analysis.
Building a data-rich email file that is collected and maintained in the proper way can make all the difference in your overall email marketing success. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind regarding your database building and maintenance efforts.
What Data to Collect: When building the forms we plan to use for data collection, most of us focus on the upcoming marketing objective and not necessarily our long-term strategy. Product interests and company size may seem important data points from the sales perspective, but they are far outweighed by the critical data that is needed to keep the channel open for future efforts. The vital information to collect is age and geography.
At the top of any email marketer's agenda must be adherence to the child protection laws. Allowing any subscription offers to fall into the hands of minors could bring a screeching halt to any email marketing efforts. Moreover, with nearly 30 states having unique laws relating to email marketing, it is essential to be able to identify where each email list member is physically located.
Avoid the Spamtraps: Almost every email database over 5,000 addresses has some level of Spamtraps. A Spamtrap is an address that is used to find Internet spiders. abuse@___.com, Spam@____.com, etc.These would be examples of addresses that spiders might pick up in forums or chat rooms that can be added to harvested databases unknowingly. When these addresses receive email promotions, they are generally forwarded to ISPs or Blacklists as Spam. These Spamtraps are a major tool used by ISP's to identify would be spammers. Many times these Spamtraps are created by individuals as a means to cause trouble for marketers. These individuals use these email addresses in the hope that ISP's will receive the email promotions and block future email communications from the sender. It is critical to check your email database for addresses with prefixes that may cause these issues.
Email List Hygiene: Email change of address is a real problem. With most estimates exceeding a 30% change in individuals' email addresses over the course of a year, marketers face an uphill battle to keep in communication with customers and prospects. An often overlooked area of email list hygiene is the simple process of domain correction. AOLL.com to AOL.com, Yahoooo.com to Yahoo.com, Earth-link.ocm to Earthlink.com are all examples of changes that can make all the difference. If you are not constantly checking your database for poor data entry by either the actual subscriber or perhaps a data entry process, then you could be losing up to 7% of possible deliverable addresses. You can check with most major service bureaus to have this service performed.
Keep it Similar: A simple way to make your email marketing efforts more coordinated is to keep your forms as uniform as possible. Having varied data elements collected in every channel and on every Website will only lead to a disparate database that has limited value.
Preference Centers: Most of your subscribers probably receive more than one type of email communication from your organization. Many times when these subscribers remove themselves from your database they do not wish to be removed from all communications, just specific ones they no longer have an interest in. Creating a preference center that allows the individual to have control over the relationship they maintain with the various lists they are on will keep file sizes stable and subscriber satisfaction high.