eTail Kicks off with E-mail Marketing Day

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PHILADELPHIA -- E-commerce and e-mail marketing go hand in hand, as the eTail 2006 conference here proved with tips on running an online retail campaign.

The e-mail marketing day featured case studies, panel discussions and interactive roundtables with speakers from various retail categories, as well as e-mail service providers. One panelist said a key to making e-mail campaigns work is relevancy through sending targeted messages that address a segmented market.

"When we segmented our list and sent different e-mails to men and to women, we saw a huge jump in open rates and click through," said Brent Laderoute, head of advertising for West 49, a major sporting goods retailer in Canada that is about to launch an e-commerce vehicle on its existing site at www.west49.com.

Another factor in e-mail is deliverability.

"From a vendor perspective, deliverability is key," said Harvey de Palezieux, enterprise sales representative for Canadian e-mail services firm GOT Corp. "If the e-mail doesn't make it, your firm has just wasted money."

Once the relevant e-mail is delivered, marketers need to think about how to boost clickthrough rates.

"Stronger offers get the highest response rates for our customers," said Rick Gualtier, vice president of marketing for lingerie manufacturer MaidenForm. "Primarily people sign up for our list because they want a coupon."

E-mails also can be used in concert with a catalog that has just shipped.

"We sent out e-mails just before the Brooks Brothers catalog shipped to let people know that the catalog was coming and to invite them for a preview at our online catalog," said Russell Garter of e-mail services firm CheetahMail, commenting on client Brooks Brothers' e-mail campaign.

Also, as in every good marketing campaign, timing is key.

"We send out e-mails once a week and are always paying attention to time of day," said Theresa McMullan, vice president of marketing for in-flight retailer SkyMall.

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