Live from List Vision: Internet Changes List Business

Aug 05, 2005 5:45 PM  By

(Direct) New York–Online direct marketing is growing faster than the list business is keeping up. Can-Spam e-mail list regulations and Internet service providers are shaping the future of the list business.

Speakers at the List Vision 2005 conference said practices for handling e-mail house lists, online lead generation and search engine marketing data need to evolve to avoid dreaded Internet filters—or worst being found in violation of Can-Spam.

Outside e-mail rental lists typically place fourth in generating sales but it’s challenging to find niche-specific files to meet the growing demand for e-mail files, said Jane Kaiser, president of Eclipse Direct Marketing.

Just as in the offline world, e-mail deliverability and e-mail targeting make the difference between a successful campaign and a flop. Success online increasingly means playing by the rules or risk having promotions blocked or bounced back by Internet service providers (ISPs).

“The ISPs are watching to see if you break the rules, and not necessarily just Can-Spam, but their own rules. When you break a rule they’ll make it known to spam (regulatory) advocates,” Kaiser said on Thursday at List Vision 2005 in New York.

Generally about 15%-20% of the e-mail addresses on rental lists will bounce back, and the bounce rate is sometimes as high as 30% for consumer e-mail lists, she said.

The role of e-mail in direct marketing is expected to grow rapidly as indicated by increases in e-mail marketing budgets and other increased online marketing activity.

At $8.50 a pop the cost of acquiring one new customer by search engine marketing is far the lowest; compared to $20 with Yellow Pages advertising, $50 using display advertising, $60 via e-mail and $70 with direct mail, said Michael Levine, director of strategic alliances at Yahoo Search Marketing.

Speakers at the conference offered the following suggestions to improve e-mail list acquisition and online marketing in general.

* Use proper coding on e-mail addresses to indicate each address complies with Can-Spam regulations. This makes it easier to comply with any subsequent opt-out requests.

* Use online coupon request forms to acquire opt-in e-mail addresses.

* Use dedicated 800-numbers for tracking response to online promotions.

* Price online generated data based on specific keywords.