Does Size of E-Mail Campaigns Really Matter?

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"Mommy, where do customers come from?" is not the only question I can answer. Here's another one: "Does the size of e-mail campaigns really matter?" The answer: Of course.

E-mail has become the communication method of choice by Internet users. It's fast, it's easy and it just plain works. Likewise, e-mail marketing has also become the method of choice for businesses to reach existing and potential clients. E-mail marketing has measurable, average click through rates of 5 percent to 15 percent as compared to paper-based campaigns, which receive a 1 percent to 2 percent response rate.

When you look at the numbers, it's no wonder the business world is embracing e-mail as a staple in their marketing arsenal.

If you are not using e-mail marketing in your business, you're doing yourself-and your business-a disservice. Take a look at the following statistics:

· Permission-based e-mail is far and away the preferred method of online communication for consumers. Seventy-five percent rated it as their preference, with only 25 percent preferring postal mail and 0 percent choosing telemarketing.

· Permission-based e-mail motivates consumers to purchase: 78 percent of online shoppers have purchased as the result of clicking on an e-mail link.

· Fifty-four percent of small businesses surveyed rated e-mail as the top online promotion to drive site visitors and customers to their Web sites.

· Seventy-five percent of executives say that e-mail was their primary source of business information in 2005.

Although e-mail is a tool all businesses should embrace, it is not without its pitfalls. An ill-conceived e-mail marketing campaign can have very real and lasting repercussions. Just like anything else in marketing, you have to plan and execute properly in order to achieve success. Just because sending e-mail is an easy thing to do does not mean it should be done without first creating a proper foundation.

You're probably wondering where "size matters" fits into the equation. Well, being the CEO of a company that provides e-mail marketing as one if its primary services, I get a pretty good picture of my client's frame of mind at the onset of a project. Most of my clients look at e-mail marketing just as they would look at direct mail-the more physical addresses you have to send your mailer to (i.e. the "size" of your mailing list), the better your chances of success.

This strategy works for direct mail because of the "numbers game" mentality of it; the more mail you send out, the more you increase your chances of success and a return on your investment. In direct mail, if you get a 1 percent response, you're doing well; a 2 percent response will get someone a raise and perhaps a promotion. On the other hand, a "size matters" mentality in e-mail marketing is a flawed frame of mind.

In actuality, you want a smaller mailing list when it comes to your e-mail marketing campaign. Let me elaborate a little. With spam laws now in place, it is not in your best interest to send bulk e-mail to people. Not only will you make a bad impression by sending e-mail to people that do not want it, you'll risk having restrictions put on you by servers and search engines that have protocols in place to protect against spam campaigns.

Instead, for e-mail marketing you want the most accurate and cleanest list possible and this means less is more.

Most people try to feverishly gather up as many e-mail addresses as they can. They take them from Web sites, personal contact lists, basically anywhere and everywhere, and end up sending solicitations to people that do not want what is being offered. Where is the value in that?

An e-mail marketing list with fewer and more qualified e-mail addresses, however, is always preferable to a large list of non-qualified and non-relevant e-mail addresses because the people on the list have indicated their interest in the product or service that is being offered. Thus, you are targeting potential customers with purchase intent.

A clean "opt-in" list is worth its weight in gold. When you can create a list of people that want to receive your information your chances of success are huge. This list may take longer to generate, but in the long run the benefits are well worth the wait. Our system does not charge based on the amount of e-mails sent, but on the size of the list. This is just another way to express the cost savings of developing a smaller but more targeted list of potential and existing customers.

Did you know that if someone opts out of your e-mail program it is unlawful for you to put that person back on the list - ever. Why risk losing a potential customer forever?

So the next time someone asks if size really matters, grin and say, "Yes, it sure does."

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