DM News' Essential Guide to Lists and Database Marketing: Choosing an E-Mail List Manager & BrokerEvaluating e-mail vendors and finding the right partners require careful due diligence. When seeking an e-mail list manager or broker, keep compliance top of mind. Ensure that your e-mail list partner is an active voice in the direct and interactive community, legislative and otherwise.
Choosing an e-mail list manager. So, you have an e-mail list and want to monetize the asset? How do you choose the right list manager to promote and maximize your valuable asset yet protect the data that you worked hard to capture? Here are four main considerations:
· Reputation. Review the client listing of the leading list management companies. A best-of-class client roster reflects a best-of-class organization. Look particularly for traditional bricks-and-mortar list properties that already completed due diligence and migrated to the e-mail list market. Also, partner with a company that has experience launching and bringing files to the market.
· Experience. Your list manager should be seasoned in the e-mail space and in your market sector. Five years' e-mail experience is a minimum. Examine the list roster for list properties that are complementary to your list for optimal cross-sell opportunities. Look for a proactive sales organization to manage your list.
E-mail campaign management is a challenging, very interactive process. Your manager needs experienced professionals at the campaign and production level as well as the sales level. They need to know the intricacies of e-mail creative, multipart messaging and campaign reporting. Your manager also should have experience in direct and agency sales and not just rely on traditional channels. The e-mail market is in continuous development, so your manager needs to be aggressive in adapting.
· Integrity. Choose a manager who is as concerned about protecting your list asset as about monetizing it. A reputation for integrity and ethical practices is always the coin of the realm. It's important to remain part of the community of e-mail marketers in order to be able execute best practices.
· Compliance. Your manager must be fluent in CAN-SPAM compliance and be sure that your list meets all requirements before your data card hits the market. Ensure the manager can implement templates for third-party messages and screens mailers for formatting and compliance with current laws. It is not enough just to be compliant. Look for a manager who works to be ahead of the curve in best practices. In a business that often fluctuates, your manager should be a solid resource for compliance issues and how they affect e-mail list rental.
Choosing an e-mail list broker. Now that your customer e-mail campaigns are working, you're ready to test third-party e-mail lists. Your next step is selecting the right e-mail list broker. You'll seek the same qualities found in your e-mail list manager as well as others that are unique to the brokerage circulation planning process.
· Reputation is key. Who are the leaders in the field with at least five years' experience? What other e-mail marketers have entrusted their interactive budgets to them? Again, experience with bricks-and-mortar marketers indicates a respected e-mail partner.
· Multichannel expertise. Your e-mail list broker should be an experienced multichannel list broker because the most productive marketing programs increasingly combine e-mail, direct mail and telemarketing. Any prospective e-mail broker should show the ability to strategize and execute in the multichannel environment.
· Negotiating skills. Your broker must be an able negotiator working on your behalf to keep this expensive medium within the cost parameters of each campaign. The best know how to get you workable pricing with continuations in mind.
· Compliance sensitivity. Recognizing a quality e-mail list from a spam list takes experience and research. Only an e-mail list broker who knows the space inside and out by arranging rentals every day can give you the assurance to avoid marginal lists and outright compliance violations.
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