Internet Special Report--E-mail Done Right (1,783 words)
Segmentation by channel can save money, too. Gay Men's Health Crisis, a New York-based non-profit organization, saved more than $5,000 in fund-raising costs this year when it sent one-third of its AIDS Walk recruitment packages by e-mail instead of direct mail.
Some firms use national database services to obtain their customers' e-mail addresses (along with opt-in preferences); others simply ask for customers' information at various touchpoints.
Smith says it's important to make your e-mail distinctive to avoid being lost in the clutter. Some retailers apparently agree.
Underwear manufacturer Hanes calls its e-mail alert service "Shopper's Scoop." The periodic e-mails include information about promotions, specials and new products.
Similarly, The Boston Museum of Fine Arts offers "MFA Mail," sending its Web site visitors periodic updates about happenings at the museum.
Video chain Blockbuster offers an e-mail subscription service called Blockbuster Update, designed to keep visitors updated on the newest releases. Subscribers denote whether they're interested in VHS, DVD, video games or all three. Blockbuster Update also delivers the chain's latest list of "Guaranteed In Stock" popular titles, and makes genre-specific recommendations depending on whether the subscriber has asked for family, drama, comedy and/or action titles.
Mingling info and promo content
Savvy marketers know it's not enough to just keep blowing their own horns—a truism even more pertinent in the e-mail channel, where bored recipients can delete messages without ever reading them. Worse for a marketer, customers may choose to block all of a sender's messages using the "junk filter" or "kill file" that most e-mail services offer.
Smith has some suggestions to keep readers engaged. First, keep the ads relevant. The Boston Museum of Fine Arts' MFA Mail does this by asking each requester to indicate his or her categories of interest, such as gallery exhibits, film series, speaker programs, children's resources, shopping and dining. Each e-mail then is tailored to the requester's specific interests.