Rent-a-Promotion Strategy Tries to Boost Response Rates

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Promotions.com, New York, has introduced a service to boost response rates by allowing marketers to add promotional tools to their e-mail marketing campaigns.


Private Label PromoMail allows marketers, in effect, to "rent" the promotion they feel would best entice customers to visit their sites or respond to any other call-to-action. Promotions.com offers 16 to 18 prepackaged promotions -- including sweepstakes, instant win games and more -- as well as customized programs. A link within the e-mail transfers the recipients to the sweepstakes sites.


"We are combining the power of promotion with the effectiveness of e-mail to drive customer acquisition for marketers," said Steven Krein, chairman/CEO of Promotions.com. "E-mail marketers and ad serving companies are coming to us because they understand we have the scalable technology infrastructure and promotion expertise necessary to grow their customer base."


At least one prominent e-mail list manager, NetCreations, New York, has tested the Promotions.com private label service. During the first week of June, NetCreations conducted a 100,000 e-mail test for a client that requested anonymity.


Scott Wolf, senior vice president of sales and business development at NetCreations, said the company sent 50,000 e-mails with only a straight link to the client's Web site, and 50,000 e-mails with a link that first took visitors to a registration site for a $10,000 sweepstakes before taking them to the client's site. Wolf would not divulge results, but he said the e-mails with the promotion scored a significantly higher click-through rate.


"We did it as a test to take a look at their capabilities, and we were very impressed with the way they handled everything, their professionalism and the click-through rate," Wolf said. At this point, however, the e-mail marketer has not decided about the service.


While the private label service is new, the technology and the infrastructure are not. The promotions are the same ones that Promotions.com uses in mailings to its database of more than 6 million online consumers.


"We wanted to expand the service to let others use it," Krein said. "This gives us an infinite number of e-mail consumers to bring these promotions to."


It also gives Promotions.com a chance at a new revenue stream. The pricing structure is analogous to how selects are priced in the traditional list world. But instead of paying extra to reach college males age 18 to 21, for example, clients that rent lists from an e-mail marketing agency would pay an additional cost per thousand to attach an online promotion to the campaign.


Promotions.com debuted the private label service with two additional new products -- PromoMail Opt-in Lists and PromoMail Newsletters. Both products enable marketers to tap into Promotions.com's customer database. The company's Promotions.com Direct division, which focuses exclusively on e-mail, developed the series of products and services earlier this year.
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