How do marketers get email addresses and other data points? One way is to ask for them. That’s what Fluent, a publicly traded marketing company with roughly 150 employees, does on its many web sites. It offers content in return for data, then uses that to help brands send personalized campaigns.
To get a handle on how this works, Email Insider spoke with Daryl Colwell, head of strategic accounts for Fluent.
MediaPost: What is Fluent?
Daryl Colwell: Fluent specializes in large-scale acquisition for direct-to-consumer marketers. We own and operate a couple of dozen consumer-facing websites where we collect a great amount of first-party data -- not just demographic data but a great deal of interest data as well. Between 800,000 and a million Americans will register on our properties on any given day: They complete a marketing survey to get access to content. We capture full registration— name, gender, date of birth. Roughly 80% are mobile, so we capture the carrier and mobile devices. We can match consumers with the right marketers and offers.
MP: That sounds like a lot of data.
Colwell: We maintain a database of 180 million Americans — all self-reported, first-party data. One of our specialties is acquisition of opt-in email addresses.
MP: What kind of insights can you provide to brands?
Colwell: We have some really great sites, whether career sites or more content-driven sites. We have evergreen survey questions, whether around presence of children, moving plans, travel plans, financial plans, employment plans, or car ownership. But it’s completely dynamic based on market and client demands. We also have the capability to optimize campaigns with lookalike marketing.
MP: Do you enhance this with third-party data?
Colwell: We capture many insights on our sites — again, it’s first-party data. That being said, we do rely on certain third-party to help validate the data we are collecting.
MP: How do you square all this in the era of GDPR?
Colwell: Consumers are more cautious. We are pretty direct with the consumer in forms of additional opts in and disclosures. It’s pretty clear what they’re registering for — we’re collecting the data so the marketer has the ability to send as personalized and relevant a message as possible. When consumers get offers tailored to their personal behavior, they’re going to meet those ads with open arms, more so than a generic untargeted campaign.
MP: How are your services priced?
Colwell: Going back to our heritage, we specialize in large-scale acquisition campaigns on a performance basis. we can increase an email subscriber list and help them acquire their best targeted prospects on a cost per-opt-in basis, and provide a targeted scalable solution. Our clients are focused on driving results — vanity metrics simply don’t cut it. We love it when opt-ins turn into customers. We’re closely aligned with our clients—our business grows with them.
MP: What do you advise brands to do when they have an email address?
Colwell: We coach our clients to send an initial welcome email as close to point of opt-in as possible. Offer a call to action — X percent off, buy one, get one free. Those sorts of emails generate higher opens, clicks, engagement and conversion rates. There’s nothing wrong with sending content, but when you can include some kind of offer, it helps drive conversions.
MP: How do you see the future of email?
Colwell: A couple of years ago, all of us were concerned about email going away with the proliferation of social channels. While those are important, email is still very relevant. It drives sales across multiple devices and channels, including offline. Our 2018 Inbox Report shows that 50% have purchased through mobile websites, 35% on computer, 27% in-store and 24% through a smart-phone app after receiving an email.