DM News' Essential Guide to E-Mail Marketing: How to Choose an E-Mail List Broker and List Manager

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Evaluating e-mail vendors in the interactive space is as challenging as ever, and finding the right partners requires careful due diligence. First and foremost, when seeking an e-mail list manager or broker, keep compliance top of mind. Also, ensure that your e-mail list partner is an active voice in the interactive community.


Choosing an E-Mail List Manager 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 while fully protecting the data that you worked hard to capture? Here are the main considerations:


Rely on reputation. Look at the leading list management companies and review their client listing. A best-of-class client roster reflects a best-of-class service organization. Look particularly for the presence of traditional brick-and-mortar list properties that have completed due diligence and migrated to the e-mail list market. It also is important to partner with a firm that has experience launching and bringing files to the market.


Experience. Your list manager should be seasoned in the e-mail space as well as experienced in your market sector. Five years' e-mail experience is a minimum threshold. Examine the list roster for list properties that are complementary to your list for optimal cross-sell opportunities. Look for a genuinely proactive sales organization to manage your list.


E-mail campaign management is challenging and a very interactive process. Ensure your manager has experienced professionals at the campaign and production level as well as the sales level. They need to know the intricacies of e-mail creative, multi-part 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 a state of continuous development, and your manager needs to be aggressive in adapting.


Integrity. Choose an e-mail list manager who is as concerned about protecting your list asset as monetizing it. A solid reputation for integrity and ethical practices is always the coin of the realm.


Compliance is king. Your e-mail list manager should be fluent and proactive in CAN-SPAM compliance and be sure that your list meets all requirements before your data card hits the marketplace. Ensure they can implement templates for third-party messages. They also should be screening mailers for formatting and compliance with the current laws.


It is not enough 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 are ready to begin testing third-party e-mail lists. Your next step is selecting the right e-mail list broker. You will be looking for 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? Which other e-mail marketers have entrusted their interactive budgets to them? Again, solid experience with brick-and-mortar marketers will be a key indicator of a respected e-mail partner.


Multichannel expertise. Your e-mail list broker should be an experienced multichannel list broker because increasingly the most productive marketing programs combine e-mail, direct mail and telemarketing. Any prospective e-mail broker should demonstrate the ability to strategize and execute in the multichannel environment in order to clear the bar.


Negotiating skills. Your e-mail list broker must be an able negotiator, working on your behalf to keep this expensive medium within the cost parameters of each campaign. The best of the breed 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 will be able to give you the assurance you need to confidently avoid marginal lists and outright compliance violations.


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