Promoting online contests has become an effective way to build email list volumes, particularly at the B2C level for low-commitment consumer goods. But, in many cases, maximizing registrations is not the best solution.
Permission-based database marketing has become a true winner in the online space, even amid all the industry turmoil. With most online marketers (or traditional marketers, for that matter) spending media dollars more cautiously, many have found good, cost-effective success in managing internal email databases.
Promoting online contests has become an effective way to build email list volumes, particularly at the business-to-consumer (B2C) level for low-commitment consumer goods. But, in many cases, maximizing registrations is not the best solution. Similar to the old-school thought of maximizing Web site traffic, where marketers simply received floods of traffic that jammed servers, building an email list will likely result in lower response rates from your mailings if maximizing list counts is your primary objective.
Getting users to register for mailing lists and opt-in email subscriptions has been the mandate of many companies' marketing managers, many of whom have turned to online contests as an incentive for registration. Other components, such as a viral marketing piece, can also help drive response rates on database registration.
Of course, for some companies with less-defined target audiences, maximizing reach may be the key to successful marketing; thus, increasing database sizes makes sense. But for those with better-defined audiences, it would be better to accept lower conversions on your mailing list acquisitions in return for higher quality lists later on.
eMarketer published a report recently (May 2001) discussing trends and forecasts for email marketing. It identified a few key statistics that make it apparent that email list quality is critical for success. The study indicates that the average email user currently receives 15.2 emails daily and will receive over 20 by 2003. The study also estimates that the average recipient's 1.8 permission-based daily email (from 2000) will grow to 4.4 by 2003 (I'd estimate higher).
The study also indicates a trend that more mature Internet users, typically those that have been online longer than one year, start complaining that they receive more email than they would like. Clearly, email clutter has become an issue, and response rates on low-quality mailings continue to decline, especially when the source is unknown.
But incentives can still play an important role in acquiring qualified permission-based registrations, so long as a few key points are recognized. First, use your registration form to filter out less-qualified users. The more comprehensive a registration form is to fill out, the less likely an unwanted contest seeker is going to spend the time chasing a prize. Of course, your list count will grow more slowly, but the quality will improve. At the same time, your database will be more sophisticated and offer more criteria for segmentation. Naturally, it will be easier to create database clusters with more fields of information.
Regarding the actual incentive being used, it is important to remember that you do not have to award huge incentives to succeed. However, you should use the incentive as a second screen for filtering unqualified registrations. Make sure that the incentive is relevant to what your ultimate offer is. Offering merchandise, service, or value-added upgrades for the services you sell:
Of course, the old rules still apply more than ever. Double opt-in lists will have a higher level of quality than opt-out lists, and building relationships with customers will win you business in the long run. If a user cannot remember registering, then messages received are coming from unsolicited sources in the eyes of the consumer.
It will help in the long run to ask for a greater initial commitment from your users, as it will help identify the source of future mailings, help establish a brand, and filter out unwanted contest seekers. These strategies are going to be critical in order to compete, especially as users' in boxes continue to expand.
Learn Digital Marketing Insights From Leading Brands!
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda, or register and attend one of the best ClickZ events yet!
Adam Posman is a strategic planner with BAM Strategy, a leading digital agency with offices in Montreal and Toronto. BAM's core services include strategic planning, media buying, creative production, online contests, email marketing, and customized marketing technologies.
Hong Kong, October 21-22
London, November 13-14
San Francisco, November 13-14
London, November 18-19
IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.
An Introduction to Marketing Attribution: Selecting the Right Model for Search, Display & Social Advertising
If you're considering implementing a marketing attribution model to measure and optimize your programs, this paper is a great introduction. It also includes real-life tips from marketers who have successfully implemented attribution in their organizations.
October 23, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT