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Building a lean, green list marketing machine

Trillions in unregulated credit default swaps may have undermined the global economy for now, but the future of digital marketing still looks bright. Online channels are exploding to form a paperless playing field for direct marketers, and an increasing number of list managers are joining the game. Here are three steps for building your own lean, green list marketing machine.

Technology integration: When it comes to efficiency, take advice from the service bureau, whose common rule is “never run the same job twice.” Economic pressures have shifted the demand for operational excellence from an optional desire for competitive advantage to a requirement for survival. The integration of your list marketing functions can free you from redundant tasks related to contact management, measuring results, and data card publishing. If you haven’t done so already, then you’ll need to get those systems integrated or move to an environment that is.

Online channel interaction: If you’re a list marketer, then the odds are pretty good that you’ve used e-mail broadcasts to reach your market of list brokers and mailers. That’s good, but don’t stop there. Define your online audience, and check Web site traffic comparisons when deciding where to invest your advertising dollars. Alexa has a free tool that compares page views for up to three Web site URLs.

Don’t shy away from free services. Today’s Web environment can deliver value for free. YouTube is a great channel for presenting your unique value proposition, and Facebook is not just for teens anymore. Who would have predicted that Visa would have signed up thousands of small businesses on the social network? Every traceable link can also add value to your list marketing network, so keep active on those high profile forums and blogs.

Search engine optimization (SEO): This leg is the toughest, with the most competition, and for good reason. SEO works for you 24/7 around the globe. Consider this: Search algorithms are extremely complex and a carefully guarded secret, so don’t spend your time trying to figure them out – piggyback instead. The most efficient way to get the job done is to leverage your unique data card content on a platform that is already optimized. Traceable external links will improve your ranking significantly. Begin with the understanding that the page-ranking implications of an off-page link are not only based on the referring site’s popularity, but also on the number of external links on that site. Make sure it’s measurable, track your results and learn from your experience.

Chris DeMartine is director of business development at NextMark. Reach him at [email protected]

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