West Marine’s Craig Ajeska on E-mail Hygiene
Successful e-mail marketers start with good list hygiene, weeding out redundant, inaccurate and spam-trap addresses to create an effective, targeted list. Craig Ajeska, director of database marketing for West Marine, a Watsonville, Calif.-based multichannel marketer of boating supplies, shares his insights on e-mail hygiene and accessing the inbox.
Target Marketing: How did the Can Spam act change e-mail marketing?
Craig Ajeska: Can Spam set standards for legitimate e-mail marketers. In addition, it raised awareness of ethical e-mail practices. From a consumer standpoint, I think the two most important and reassuring standards are requiring a physical postal address of the sender and providing simple, clear unsubscribe instructions with each and every e-mail.
TM: What are the current hot-button issues with e-mail marketing?
CA: For us, it’s keeping the e-mail messages interesting and relevant for our customers. Of course, we want the e-mails to drive sales, but we want our customers to feel like we are putting some thought behind the messages and offers we are providing to them. Consumers receive many e-mails every day, both legitimate and otherwise, and rising above the clutter is key.
TM: How can marketers work around the ever-changing e-mail address?
CA: We provide a link at the bottom of each e-mail allowing recipients to clickthrough and provide their new address. A more proactive approach is to enlist the services of an e-mail change-of-address (ECOA) provider. Doing so helps keep e-mail lists up-to-date by identifying bad e-mails and updating them with good ones.
TM: What applications are the most effective for catching input errors?
CA: One of the simplest approaches is to ensure the input field is large enough to be easily read so typos will be caught by the user. In addition, requiring the user to double-enter the e-mail address helps cut down on mistakes. A more systematic approach is to ensure each e-mail address contains the basic components of a valid e-mail address, such as the @ symbol and at least one period.