Study: Planned E-Mail Growth Tactics Not Always the Best

Atlanta-based e-mail marketing solutions provider Silverpop released a study last week at the Annual Conference for Catalog and Multichannel Merchants that suggests many e-mail marketers are planning to implement list growth tactics that others say didn’t work very well.

For example, findings from Silverpop’s “2006 E-mail List Growth Survey” show that 15% of survey respondents are planning to append e-mail addresses to their customer lists, though only 4% of those who have tried the tactic support it.

“It’s generally wise to proceed cautiously with e-mail appends,” Elaine O’Gorman, vice president of strategy for Silverpop, said in a statement. “The quality of the data sources varies considerably among suppliers, and can vary significantly based on the type of audience you mail to as well. A bad match can put your brand in a very poor light.”

Also, while 24% of respondents said they plan to implement a viral marketing campaign, only 10% said such actions were very successful. Viral marketing – which allows someone to electronically recommend a friend to a marketer – is considered to be the tactic ranked least successful and the most planned in the survey.

In addition to adding names to an e-mail list, goals marketers give for viral campaigns include branding, direct sales and increased site traffic. But Silverpop said in its survey results that making a program like that work, however, takes “a great deal of effort that includes the absolutely right product offered to an audience targeted with laser-like accuracy.” The FTC also has suggested that such messages be sent not directly from one recipient to another but through the company’s servers to allow for removal of names on suppression lists.

Cross-promotions are being planned by nearly one-fifth of marketers (18%), yet only one out of 10 who have tried that strategy rank it as very successful. Silverpop said cross-promotions are best suited to large, multi-divisional organizations where it’s possible to combine the efforts of other divisions or partners to drive additional opt-ins.

Likewise both co-marketing and co-registration were tactics planned by 16% of survey respondents, respectively, while only 6% or less of those who have used these methods rate them as very successful. Despite a lack of enthusiasm for the tactic among survey respondents, Silverpop said co-registration is one of the fastest growing areas for list development in the e-mail marketing industry. When users register on a Web site for e-mail, they see the offer of another company and, by merely checking an additional box, co-register to receive e-mail from both companies. The survey was completed by a select group of 321 companies around the world. The survey asked what methods marketers use to grow their lists and which were most successful. Marketers were also asked which methods they plan to implement in the next 12 months.

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