Q&A: John Janetos, iPost VP of business development and sales

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E-mail marketing services provider iPost recently debuted a new partnership with Anametrix, a cloud-based Web analytics firm. The pair showed off the new technology at the annual Direct Marketing Association's annual conference in October. John Janetos, iPost's VP of business development and sales, speaks to Direct Marketing News about the new partnership, social media marketing and common e-mail mistakes.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): IPost recently hooked up with Anametrix, an analytics services firm. Can you tell me what the impetus was for that relationship?

John Janetos (iPost): Traditionally, you can follow a customer from e-mail to the online store, but what hasn't happened is the capability to look at it from a business perspective. We couldn't track it in the offline world. For example, have store visitors increased [due to this e-mail campaign]? Also being able to take other analytics, such as a Facebook conversation that gets ignited because of this e-mail campaign.

Let's say I'm a hardware store and I know there's going to be blizzard in New York. Maybe I want to use that data and target people in the Northeast to prepare for a blizzard—salt, shovels.

The impetus got down to, “How do you connect all your different marketing channels so you're driving to one angle of where you're reaching customers?”

DMN: What are some best practices in combining offline and online marketing efforts, including in terms of campaign metrics?

Janetos: I think we spend a lot of time thinking about how to connect the interactive digital world and the offline world so you can get a single view of your customers. One thing that it necessary is you should be connecting all these data sources, every source of data where there is a customer interaction and correlating them, which is what Anametrix gives us. In the offline world, you should view every customer touch point as a way to grow your touch points. You should be asking for mobile numbers, e-mail addresses, any way you think that you might conduct outreach.

The third thing is that metrics need to be actionable which means constant analysis. You have to test, see what works and use that feedback to optimize the campaign.

DMN: How do you counsel clients in test mode?

Janetos: We all have a tendency that if something is working, we want to stick with it. If you look at your e-mail response rates, if you have 20% open rates, you think you're doing well but that means that 80% are unengaged. We try to counsel people to reach out to those, too. As you test, you can't be afraid to shake things up. Segment and try the test with 5% of your list. It's low risk.

DMN: Part of the announcement you made with Anametrix included new social media listening tools. Can you explain how you view social media marketing as part of the mix?

Janetos: Every customer is asking for it. Everyone is saying we need to do something, though they might not know what. We're taking a three-prong approach to this. We're making it easy for people to run both Twitter and Facebook from within the iPost mailing manager. We started with “share their networks,” and we can track that. Our second step is to make it easy for our clients to collect e-mail addresses from their Facebook fans. We're working on a small Facebook application that clients could put on their Facebook pages, so you can go there and sign up. Another approach is to find ways to reuse content, which could be a simple as a tweet or content on your Facebook wall. This could allow you to tweet your subject line of an e-mail or even post the HTML content onto a Facebook tab to run the campaign in another place. We think a lot about data and metrics. Anametrix now allows us to track these things, to listen on social media.

DMN: I blogged the other day about an e-mail marketing miss I see quite often: sending an e-mail with just a big image and no text, making it invisible to anyone who has images turned off. What's another common e-mail faux pas that you see marketers making?

Janetos: The single image is something that you don't want to do. Another one I'm always surprised at is the subject line. People don't spend enough time on these. Studies show that people first look to see who the e-mail is from and then they look at the subject line. You see a lot that aren't drawing you in.

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