E-mail shines as a communication tool to involve customers, build loyalty, and promote products or services. As such, retention e-mail marketing should be your first priority, since it will provide solid results and profits. But there's a big world of consumers and professionals who aren't aware of your company and your products and services. Can e-mail be an effective channel to reach new prospects and leads?
As an e-mail champion, I'd like to be able to give you a resounding "YES, of course, it's wonderfully effective." But instead, I have to qualify my answer and say it does work, and it will work—if you're willing to apply direct marketing discipline to your efforts.
New customers and prospects are the lifeblood of marketers, and a good majority of these individuals are out there on the Web and reachable through e-mail. Here's a roadmap to make your efforts more effective.
How Do You Find Them?
Work with the experts. This is the easy part! Many readers already are direct mailers. To find lists, you simply pick up the phone and call your favorite list brokers for recommendations. It's basically the same with e-mail; although, in most cases, you must ask your traditional broker to put you in touch with its e-mail specialist.
E-mail is a different animal from direct mail. Knowledgeable e-mail brokers are worth their weight in gold. They already know the good sources and the lists that abuse permission, and also can help you coordinate a campaign. For readers without a broker, the best place to find list brokerage companies is on the Direct Marketing Association Web site, (www.the-dma.org). It has a searchable member directory.
CPM vs. CPA
Most established e-mail lists are available on a cost per thousand (CPM) basis—just like their direct mail counterparts. But there also are lists available on a pay-for-performance or cost-per-action (CPA) basis. Many Web-marketing techniques, such as search engine marketing, co-registration and affiliate programs, operate on a CPA. Marketers define what they are looking for—clicks, registrations or sales—and define what they are willing to pay for responders. This is a great way for marketers to minimize risk, since they only pay for a desired activity.