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Using e-mail marketing to drive circulation

In this cluttered inbox world, grabbing a person’s attention to attract them to your publication or Web site is the biggest challenge, and the subject line is the most critical element of any promotion campaign, according to Elliot Danziger, director of e-mail marketing for e-Post Direct.

“You have two to five seconds to get their attention,” Danziger said at a recent National Trade Circulation Foundation Inc. (NTCFI) seminar in New York.

The subject line discussion could consume an entire session by itself — the “short vs. long line” debate rages on. But Danziger went above and below the subject line to lay out 15 steps to increasing e-mail response in Part 2 of NTCFI’s e-mail marketing series.

One of his top tips was: “Always be testing. Don’t wait until things go bad to test.” He also said to keep the “From” line constant; then ask the viewers to add the sender to their address book. He also recommends you use the prime real estate — the top two to three inches “preview pane” — to present the offer, benefits and URL link.

Plan ahead for e-mail marketing. Set a goal and lay out the design and text for a series. Be direct. Take the user directly to the registration page with no distractions, and stay on message.

Danziger says to be aware of spam triggers, but don’t obsess over them. The best spam triggers can also produce the best results.

Break through the clutter. Try interesting and unique subject lines, images and offers; and work on targeting and segmenting. The more targeted the content, the better the response.

Keep HTML simple. Use standard fonts, and don’t expect everyone to have the most sophisticated graphics software. See what your customer might see — picture the images disabled.

Know when your audience wants to hear from you. Stagger East and West Coast blasts to coincide with their favorite viewing and response times.

Finally, improve your reputation. Work with e-mail deployment specialists who can get you on white lists. Delete dead records and collect data on usage.

Once again, the message is to not only understand the technology but also understand your audience.

Jane Giles is director of business development for Cambey & West Inc., Congers, NY, a circulation fulfillment service company. Her e-mail address is [email protected].

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