E-mail is dead. You don’t have to look too far back to find this bold statement issued by many marketing and technology pundits, commentators and even industry analysts.
But we all know that e-mail today is alive and well and thriving like never before.
According to the ad:tech 2005 Year End Survey, marketers ranked e-mailing their house list as one of the most effective marketing tactics – second only to paid search ads – and beating out rich media ads, behavioral targeting, search engine optimization and banner ads.
Consumer companies, in particular, are using e-mail marketing more than ever before, and with more sophistication by segmenting their lists for better targeting.
Marketers are also being more strategic in finding the right consumers who are interested in their brands and products, and who are eager for special offers, promotions and discounts.
The key to success is to find the right consumers who want to hear from you. Many consumer brand marketers today are using online customer acquisition to do just that, as can be seen in the incredible growth this sector has experienced in the past few years.
In fact, online customer acquisition spending grew by more than 200 percent between 2004 and 2005, dramatically outpacing online advertising spending, which grew by 24 percent during the same period (source: “IAB Advertising Revenue Report,” September 2005).
This incredible growth in spending on online customer acquisition programs for building highly targeted house files demonstrates that consumer brand marketers are definitely on to something. But like every hot trend, there are pitfalls to avoid and best practices that when followed will lead to greater success.
The following are a few tips and guidelines for building a strong house file that when marketed to with e-mail and other channels will help you find, engage, acquire and keep profitable customers:
The Famous Five
First, select a reliable, proven online customer acquisition provider who:
• Abides by best practices
• Offers a pay-for-performance model
• Is trusted by leading consumer brands
Second, target precisely to find the right customers:
• Enhanced optimization technology with behavioral, personalization and contextual targeting yield more of the right consumers
• Multiple online channels expand your reach and opportunities for finding the right customers
Third, collect the right consumer data
• How much data depends on the brand, offer, nature of questions
• Understand “must haves,” “good to have,” “nice to have” consumer profile data
• Make sure the data is properly cleansed
Fourth, analyze campaign results
• Conduct pre and post-campaign analysis
Finally, immediately begin a direct dialogue through e-mail and multichannel marketing