Features

What Acquisition Email Is (and Why You Should Care)

Written on
Feb 28, 2012 
Author
Eric Didier  |

ADOTAS - With the constant developments and shifts in the interactive world, there’s often not a lot of attention paid to one of digital marketing’s original heavy hitters: email. However, email is still very much a relevant and driving force in marketing.
In fact, the DMA’s recent “The Power of Direct” report shows email far outpacing other channels in ROI.

Most marketers focus solely on retention campaigns — emails sent to subscribers already interested in a company or brand. The potential of acquisition email — emails sent to acquire new customers — has largely gone untapped for fear of the tactic’s effect on brand and sender reputation.

However, it is possible to get acquisition email right and bring the skills you’ve honed in retention campaigns to your customer acquisition program. To do this, you must first embrace these concepts:

Send less and earn more. Just as with your retention campaigns, relevance is vital. Send your offer only to records who are likely to be interested, and you’ll achieve better results and protect your brand.

Behavioral targeting based on what a subscriber has responded to in the past gives you the best chance of reaching the right audience. You can also target within a list based on the demographic information of your most profitable customers.

Because of the low cost of sending email, it’s tempting to think that using the same “batch and blast” methods that have been standard practice will net a greater return with a larger pool of potential customers. In fact, it makes ISPs wary of your brand and not only sends your acquisition email to the junk folder, but may even jeopardize inbox placement rates for your retention campaigns (some large brands have seen their revenue drastically impacted by such bad practices).

Respect subscribers. Remember that subscribers you send acquisition emails to are also your potential customers. You should treat them with the same respect you show your own subscribers and customers. Some simple rules:

Don’t send emails with misleading subject lines (or misleading creative).

Use accurate and complete sending information. Both your brand name and the brand name of the owner of the list you are sending to should be included.

Make it easy to unsubscribe — both from your offers and from the list — and honor all unsubscribe requests. This is also required by CAN-SPAM, but you should do it to maintain the trust of both potential and current customers anyway.

Don’t send offers to people who don’t want them. Again, it all comes back to targeting properly. Anything a consumer doesn’t want, they consider spam and may report it that way.

Always keep your suppression list up to date, and make sure the vendors you work with for acquisition campaigns handle it properly.

When sending special “new customer only” offers, make sure to exclude your existing customers. Almost no one does this, and they should. Receiving a 50 percent off rebate for your first offer when you’re already a customer is… disappointing. Technical solutions do exist for applying this rule.

Get the right feedback. In email marketing, monitoring response rates is critical to ensure the health of your program. You put your data to work in order to decide on the best frequency for each list segment and the most engaging types of content.

Your acquisition campaigns should receive the same type of feedback and data. If your offers are doing well within a surprising demographic, you should be able to access and use that information to improve your entire customer acquisition program (including making tweaks to search, display, and social campaigns).

Are you using email as part of your customer acquisition strategy? What has your experience been?





Eric Didier is the CEO and co-founder of ividence, a stand-alone email ad exchange that uses behavioral targeting technology to match email offers to the right records. The company’s platform matches email offers to records based on campaign performance, bid, and end-user
behavior, which results in fewer emails sent with a higher ROI for all. Prior to ividence, Eric was the founder and CEO of Soamai in 2000, a metadata applications company which was acquired by Allen Systems Group in April 2004.

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