Defining Your Welcome Strategy
Avoiding Spam Filters

Acquisition, Targeting, Personalization, ESP Selection: Some Tips

I had this article by David Baker on my "to read" list for a couple of weeks now. I finally got the chance to sit down, read and digest the contents. Here are some clippings from the article that I especially liked:

Email acquisition
If you think you will have cause-and-effect from an ad to a transaction through a third-party email campaign, you may be setting yourself up for failure.

Email is a great retention and lead fulfillment channel, and the acquisition stage should be looked at through a longer lens.

Phase I: Get readers to opt-in to you, so you can then re-market to them for pennies.

Phase II: Welcome them to your brand, business and promotional strategy.

If you go with a very aggressive sweeps or viral program, you risk growing the file of one-time subscribers that will ultimately degrade the delivery value of your file over time, increasing opt-outs and spam complaints.

Targeting
There are very discrete times of the year when consumers are in their inbox. You must leverage these times to tie your message and brand to these themes. They could be lifecycle events (life stage: had a baby, purchased a house, started a new job, graduated from college), or they could be seasonal (back to school, holidays).

Personalization

We know that if you target email based on site behavior and personalize from that data, it drives 30-40 percent increase in response and conversion. We also know that event-triggered messaging drives a 40 percent improvement in response and reach. Leverage these events and this will drive the 20 percent improvement most need to grow their business.

The more personalization, the greater the technical task to implement. One caution: If you are even remotely worried that you can't pull it off technically or process-wise, don't do it. There is nothing worse than misrepresenting your company to a loyal customer.

ESPs

There are many Email Service Providers (ESPs) at many different cost levels. It's really hard to discern the differences among them. While price shouldn't be the only factor in evaluating vendors, with less variance between what you'll really use in these platforms, look for better financial fits. But remember, service is a value-add, and with lower CPMs come lower expectations for service.

David offers a whole bunch of great tips and advice in this article. Make sure to read it here.

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