Don't Stymie Your E-Mail Plans

Share this content:
Many companies want to make the leap from direct marketing to direct e-mail marketing. They know that a customer database that includes e-mail addresses opens a new customer communication channel, paving the way for campaigns such as subscription renewals, software upgrades and cross-selling executed at Internet speeds.


Unfortunately, many direct marketers find their progress slowed by either a lack of e-mail address information on their customers or because they made fundamental mistakes compiling their e-mail address databases.


The quickest way to fill your e-mail address gap is to incorporate e-mail addresses into existing methods of gathering customer information.


Wherever you ask for a customer postal address or telephone number, capture the e-mail address, for example, on registration/warranty cards, coupons, customer surveys, reader response cards, your corporate Web site, order/renewal forms, during telephone orders and support calls. Also, add e-mail to your order-processing and call-tracking screens.


Be sure to store e-mail addresses in your current database. Adding e-mail addresses to existing client profiles creates a unified picture of the customer, including their direct mail, direct e-mail, telemarketing and order history.


Don't spam. E-mail campaigns will be well received if your company initiates a responsible and ethical respect for your customers' e-mail addresses. Give customers the option to withhold their names from being released or rented to third parties. Use a request such as, "From time to time we make our list of customers available to other companies offering high-quality products and services. If you do not wish your name or e-mail address to be released, please check here."


Be aware of the technical requirements for collecting e-mail addresses. While a successful e-mail campaign depends primarily on the list, offer and creative, its delivery relies on correct e-mail addresses. Unlike mailing addresses, a single typo can render an e-mail worthless. Attention to detail is a must.


Do not allow your database firm to translate e-mail input files into all upper-case letters. The local part (to the left of the @ symbol) of an e-mail address is case-sensitive. For example, user@company.com is not necessarily equivalent to USER@company.com.


Another error that could potentially cripple your e-mail communication is truncating e-mail addresses because of limited space on a database. E-mail addresses require the entire address to be valid. For the maximum e-mail campaigning success, allow for at least 35 characters. I recommend 64.


One coveted feature of the direct e-mail marketing medium is that some software programs, such as Netscape Mail and Microsoft Outlook, can receive e-mail that looks like a fully featured Web page. Manipulating this feature for maximum impact can make the difference between an ordinary campaign and an explosive one.


Find out which of your customers read their e-mail using HTML-enabled software. As you collect your customers' e-mail addresses, ask them, "What software are you using to read your e-mail?" Then you can send these customers an HTML version of your message letting them take full advantage of their software and consequently, boost response.


If your business is based on renewals, upgrades and cross-selling, direct e-mail can be a boon to your bottom line. Direct e-mail can slash the time and expense of a direct marketing cycle and help bring in next quarter's revenue now. But you can't take advantage of these benefits if you don't collect the addresses correctly.


Tom Klenke is president of eClass Direct, Half Moon Bay, CA, a direct e-mail service bureau. He can be reached at tom@eclassdirect.com.
close

Next Article in Digital Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Company of the Week

Since 1985, Melissa has helped thousands of companies clean, correct and complete contact data to better target and communicate with their customers. We offer a full spectrum of data quality solutions, including global address, phone, email, and name validation, identify verification - available for batch or real-time processes, in the Cloud or on-premise. Our service bureau provides dedupe, email/phone append and geographic/demographic append services for better targeting and insight. For direct mailers, Melissa offers easy-to-use address management/postal software, list hygiene services and 100s of specialty mailing lists - all with competitive pricing and excellent customer service.

Find out more here »

Career Center

Check out hundreds of exciting professional opportunities available on DMN's Career Center.  
Explore careers in digital marketing, sales, eCommerce, marketing communications, IT, data strategies, and much more. And don't forget to update your resume so employers can contact you privately about job opportunities.

>>Click Here

Relive the 2017 Marketing Hall of Femme

Click the image above