Build a Responsive E-mail Housefile
Bring some creativity to the task, but keep your direct marketing roots in mind.
By Kim MacPherson
By now, you know that marketing with e-mail—particularly to your own list of leads and customers—can be quite profitable.
After all, cross-selling and upselling to an existing base of warm eyeballs is easier and less expensive than trying to acquire new leads and customers cold.
The challenge is to build a list of people who will be receptive to your offers. And "challenge" is the key word, because just about every traditional direct marketer with an online presence is collecting e-mail addresses in some way. You must be creative to stand out from the crowd.
The not-so-creative marketer develops a Web site, slaps up an e-mail address collection box and waits for new customers. That strategy may have worked a few years ago, but not anymore.
Today, you must look at all channels for these efforts, and keep your direct marketing roots in mind. That means every collection area and list-building event should include a clear-cut offer, an effectively communicated set of benefits and a strong call to action. Aside from the Web and e-mail itself, marketers also should look to their off-line channels to collect those precious e-mail addresses.
One way to collect e-mail addresses online (aside from the traditional static collection box or link to a registration page) is through the use of pop-up ads. As annoying as pop-ups can be, the truth is that they work well for many online marketers.
For example, let's examine what National Wildlife Federation (NWF; www.nwf.org) does to build its housefile of potential donors. Aside from its free online e-newsletter offer on its home page, the Federation serves its site visitors a pop-up: a 4˝ x 5˝ micro page overlaid on its home page.