Your most reliable collection point for e-mail addresses is a dedicated subscription page at your Web site, but it's not the only source.
In "Playing the E-mail 'Match Game?' Be Careful!" I focused on using (or not using) append data to grow your mailing list. Today, I'll show you how important it is to have an effective strategy for offline e-mail acquisition and best practices for collecting the most useful data.
Online vs. Offline Acquisition
Your subscription or registration page is the best source of e-mail addresses, for two reasons:
As reliable as online collection is, it lacks the personal touch of a persuasive salesperson at the cash register or on the sales or trade-show floor. With the right point-of-sales (POS) equipment, your salesperson can enter the e-mail address during the sale, while the customer's interest is red-hot. You also have exposure to a wider range of customers, not just the ones who shop online.
Despite its reach advantages, offline collection has its own challenges:
Apple's Geniuses Get Offline Acquisition Right
Apple stores don't call their salespeople geniuses for nothing. Their in-store e-mail-address collection is about the best I've ever seen.
When you buy something, your genius uses a handheld device to scan the barcode and read your credit card. If you want your receipt e-mailed to you, the genius shows you the screen to verify your information. The receipt hits your e-mail in seconds.
Then, you're asked if you want to receive e-mail from Apple. Got questions? Your genius has answers. If you say yes, your confirmation will be in your inbox before you get home.
Four Strategies for Offline Acquisition
Your best practice is to drive subscribers to your Web site to sign themselves up rather than take the address during the sale. Train employees to deliver a 10-second pitch that lays out the value proposition; then, post your Web address everywhere to reinforce the message:
If you rely on offline collection as well, you need to build in strategies that will ensure high-quality data gets into your database:
These strategies will add more valid addresses to your database, then help make your subscribers glad they took the time to sign up.
Until next time, keep on deliverin'!
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Stefan Pollard, who started his career in online marketing in 1999, was considered a selfless mentor and champion of best practices in e-mail marketing. He held the position of senior strategic consultant at Responsys where he was responsible for developing e-mail marketing and lifecycle messaging strategies to increase clients' ROI. Before that, Stefan led the e-mail consulting program for Lyris clients, frequently speaking at industry events on best practices. Prior to that, he managed the audit process and consulted with clients to improve their e-mail delivery challenges for Habeas. As an e-mail marketer, he spent several years building and executing acquisition and retention campaigns at E-Loan and Cybergold.com. He died May 14, 2010.
In Memoriam: Stefan Pollard
E-mail marketing community mourns the loss of a marketing pro dedicated to helping his peers and clients and working to improve an industry. Here are their tributes celebrating his life.
E-mail Marketing Expert Stefan Pollard Dies
An expert in deliverability is remembered as a champion of best practices and someone who selflessly gave of his time to others.
March 19, 2014