In his Email Insider column, Chad White tells us to keep our subscribers' email addresses out of the hands of partners and even sister brands. Why? Because you don't want to abuse your subscribers' permission -- once you lose it it's nearly impossible to get back.
Here are some ways to introduce your subscribers to your sister brands and partners:
- During the sign-up process, present customers with the opportunity to subscribe to sister brands.
- Send an email of introduction from your domain and give your subscribers an opportunity to sign up for the sister brand or partners' email program.
- Highlight the sister brand or partner in your regular emails, preferably in a way that relates it to your offerings. For instance, in a March 6 email from Banana Republic, there was a secondary banner about some shoes from Piperlime, the shoe store brand that Gap Inc. launched late last year, that coordinated with the pants that Banana Republic was promoting in that email. That's a highly relevant way of incorporating a reference.
- Include links to sister brands and partners as part of your email template, but only if the brands are complementary. Also avoid this tactic if there's a risk of blurring the lines between two brands. RitzCamera is one retailer that includes links to its sister brands, which include BoatersWorld.com and FishingOnly.com. While I question the synergies between RitzCamera and BoatersWorld, there are presumably much stronger synergies between BoatersWorld and FishingOnly so those two brands' emails could have links to each other.
One of the methods that Chad doesn't recommend is repeatedly sending email on behalf of the other brand using your domain. When Gap Inc. was introducing their Piperlime shoe store brand, for months and months on end they sent what were essentially Piperlime emails to the subscribers of the Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic newsletters. While on a few occasions, the emails would try to recruit subscribers for Piperlime's email program, usually they would just promote Piperlime's products. That tactic hurts the relevancy of your email program because you're no longer sending the content your subscribers signed up for and expect.
Source: Email Insider