The Top 10 Land Mines in E-mail Marketing
Which tracking format would you trust more: an Excel spreadsheet or a server-based live view? What's the definition employed by your e-mail vendor for calculating open rates and click-through rates? Are the definitions consistent with the new Interactive Advertising Bureau standards, or has your vendor invented its own measurement? Only use vendors that provide live tracking links based on industry definitions.
5. Breeding. Breeding is the measure of the rate of e-mail propagation. It can be measured two ways: the volume of e-mail sent to a freshly registered e-mail address per unit of time, or the frequency with which a new e-mail address is resold to other marketers. Protect yourself by using only vendors who manage the weekly volume of e-mail offers sent to any one address and whose lists are not bought and sold on "online street corners."
6. False clicks. Certain e-mail vendors use robots or spider software to create false open and click-through rates. The result: What you think are legitimate interests in your offer, as measured by open rates and click-through rates, are just mechanical hits used to drive up the reported results. The ability to observe tracking data online, hour by hour, is perhaps your best defense against this practice.
7. Misrepresented capabilities. Vendors often misrepresent their capabilities, especially their ability to deliver difficult selects (geography) or specialty services (affinity-based targeting). Ask your vendor: "How will you target to reach my desired audiences?" Ask for several references of campaigns with similar targeting objectives, and call them for feedback.
8. False lists. Many e-mail vendors sell only what you need. The problem is they often don't have what you need, but will claim they do to get your business. They either don't have the list or the right selects. In one real-world example, a chocolate company was told by its e-mail vendor: "Yes, we have a list of thousands of females ages 16 to 35 who love chocolate and live in New Jersey." Even the best lists have limited information. If the list sounds too good to be true, it probably is.