Warming Up to E-mail Marketing (1,004 words)
What's colder than contacting a cold prospect? Contacting a cold prospect using an untested list, an untested offer and an untested medium. To avoid a big chill when it comes to response, some e-mail marketers are taking several steps before they jump into the hot technique of e-mail marketing.
Why? E-mail list rental options are still limited, so direct marketers are exploring how to push existing e-mail lists—their own and rentals—to the limit through multi-step roll-outs. Two Web catalogers—Harvard Business School Publishing and N2K's Music Boulevard (which merged with CDnow in March)—show how this approach to Internet marketing led to successful e-mail prospecting.
Harvard Business School Publishing
Harvard Business School Publishing (HBSP) is a small company with a big brand name. Although Cambridge, MA-based HBSP, as part of an educational institution, is not-for-profit, the way it operates its Web site would make an MBA proud.
Explains marketing manager George Pratt, "Every Web site needs a raison d'etre. We decided early on that our site would be an e-commerce site, not an advertising-based content or community site."
With its e-commerce site built by Cambridge Web developer TVisions, HBSP had a mission to sell subscriptions to Harvard Business Review and other products. The site had built a 90,000-name e-mail house list through an e-mail newsletter developed by E-Dialog, an e-mail communications firm based in Cambridge. Some subscribers were catalog or Web site buyers, but many had never purchased from HBSP.
Instead of using rented lists to begin its e-mail marketing efforts, Pratt decided to market to this newsletter list to reach pre-qualified prospects who would respond favorably to the Harvard name, whether or not they had opted in to receive e-mail marketing messages. HBSP sent the e-mail messages promoting Harvard's publications using an E-Dialog technology called QuickReply. Prospects could accept a subscription offer simply by replying to the message—Web site visit not required.