Last Tuesday, roughly 70 Internet marketers gathered at the offices of Netpreneur.org, an entrepreneurial education effort of the Morino Institute. The event grew out of an active online discussion on email marketing in the group's Ad-Marketing discussion group and is now held regularly. It's a must-visit for learning more about Internet marketing.
Leading the discussion were three seasoned professionals in the field: Kim MacPherson of Inbox Interactive, Russ Shaw of MessageMedia and Mike Rodriguez of yesmail.com
All three speakers stresses that email can be used for customer acquisition, but is especially strong for retention and building brand loyalty. Having said that, they stressed the strengths of their respective companies -- MacPherson touted strategy and list building; Shaw - maximizing the value of an in-house list, whether outsourced or done internally; and Rodriguez - campaigns using rented lists.
MacPherson suggested using list building as a measure of success for your email marketing efforts. Some suggestions were to:
* Use postcards
* Keep offers VERY low
* Use print ads with a direct response mechanism
* If you're BtoB, think lead generation first, then develop the relationship for a close later.
Shaw is the man responsible for licensing the industry leading UnityMail 4.0, which was developed by RevNet before that company was purchased by messagemedia. He made the point that customers can license the product and do the work themselves, or fully outsource the process to messagemedia. He unveiled his "7 Steps to Highly Effective Email Marketing," to be done before a house list is ready for the big time:
1. Create your plan
2. Make decisions re acquisition - where are they coming from?
3. Content Creation
4. List Segmentation - very important, enhances the power of the message greatly
5. Message Distribution
6. Tracking - what to track, and by whom
7. Results analysis
And keep repeating. In reaction to a question, Shaw ballparked a cost of $20,000 for a license to maximize a 100,000 subscriber list.
Rodriguez shared some tips for successful campaigns where the customer is using third party lists. Some basic but important ones were ask about the details of tracking BEFORE you buy, and have a clear metric for success - visitors, actions, sales with a pre-determined cost per acquisition. His experience with campaign reports leads him to suggest keeping a sharp eye on any drop off in visitor numbers:
* Original CTR
* Landing Page (Any drop-off)
* Registration Page
* Thank You/Confirmation Page
The question at hand is "How many fell off, and WHERE?"
Another useful suggestion he made was to only ask respondents to give information you really need. He also pointed out that the current high CPMs on the market will be coming down, and everything is negotiable. Best item in this author's opinion - re-market to those that initially click but do not take action with a