Home  › Marketing › Strategies

E-Mail Prospecting: Smart Third-Party List Procurement

  |  November 22, 2004   |  Comments

E-mail marketers must be super-selective when renting lists.

E-mail marketing is becoming increasingly complex and costly. Spam’s negative implications affect consumer perception of commercial email and reduce response rates. To better protect consumer privacy, new U.S. and European legislation restricts data use. Anti-spam measures are multiplying. All of these erect extra hurdles for the reputable marketer.

Despite these facts, email remains more cost-effective than traditional print mailings. It continues to attract spending. Jupiter Research (a Jupitermedia Corp. division) expects U.S. permission-based email marketing to almost triple in size, from $2 billion in 2003 to $6 billion by 2008.

At the heart of this activity is the gathering or procurement of email addresses to target. Unscrupulous businesses harvest email addresses in whatever way they can, then indiscriminately mass-broadcast unsolicited messages. Legitimate marketers, looking to achieve maximum response while maintaining a good reputation, must ensure they have documented consent from interested consumers prior to approaching them.

The best chance of getting a response to commercial email messages is sender recognition. To build recognition, first develop in-house prospect pools to communicate with. Implement a list-building strategy whereby prospects, driven to touch points via advertising and promotions, are actively encouraged to provide contact details and consent to future communications.

If you don’t have an adequate in-house list but want to quickly grow one, third-party lists of email addresses are available through providers and aggregators, such as Buongiorno Vitaminic, eCircle, and Experian. Marketers can buy or rent a number of targets based on certain selection criteria.

Remember to be highly selective in what you buy. Seek quality over quantity to maximize open rates, help improve campaign efficiency, and protect your brand from potential negative responses. Ensure third-party lists satisfy a number of criteria, as outlined below.

List Quality

Ensure list selections and subscriber groups are carefully profiled and segmented so the target audience can be closely matched. Consumers are most responsive to content relevant to their interests and desires. Make sure lists are freshly collected; lists atrophy quickly and always require updating.

Opt-In/Opt-Out Procedure

Ask to see the related Web site and registration page to understand the consumer’s journey. Registration wording should be clear and explicit, data use policies clearly stipulated, and consumers shouldn’t be misguided when consenting to third-party communications. Consumers should be able to set personal preferences. Understand how unsubscribe requests are managed. If the data supplier can’t provide this information, and supply suitable verification and contractual warranties and indemnities, don’t rent the data.

Cost and Volume

Try small, quality lists before progressing to larger samples. Negotiate price on volume, incorporating test mailings. Ask for case study examples of likely response rates and return on investment (ROI) through different approaches. Understand what’s included in the price to more accurately calculate ROI.

Be wary of large file sizes. If the file is significantly larger than you expected, question the seller. Use selections to further hone in on your target audience.

List Contact

Make sure receptivity to marketing communications hasn’t been detrimentally affected by over-mailing. Ask to see the content of previous correspondence. Better yet, sign up yourself, to understand how to differentiate your communication. Know who used the list previously. Negotiating exclusivity guarantees the same list isn’t made available to a competitor for a set period.

Broadcast and Tracking

To better the chance of acceptance, list owners should deliver messages on the advertiser’s behalf through host mailings. Ensure the platform is adequately capable of dealing with campaign.

Technical Details

Make sure resources are available to handle email content and assets, and manage deliverability and bounce-back issues as they arise.

For more guidance and list rental best practices, contact your local Direct Marketers Association (DMA) branch or the Federation of Direction Marketing (FEDMA) List Council in Europe.

Want more email marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our email columns, organized by topic.

ClickZ Live Toronto On the heels of a fantastic event in New York City, ClickZ Live is taking the fun and learning to Toronto, June 23-25. With over 15 years' experience delivering industry-leading events, ClickZ Live offers an action-packed, educationally-focused agenda covering all aspects of digital marketing. Register today!

ClickZ Live San Francisco Want to learn more? Join us at ClickZ Live San Francisco, Aug 10-12!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, ClickZ Live brings together industry thought leaders from the largest brands and agencies to deliver the most advanced, educational digital marketing agenda. Register today and save $500!


Julian Smith

Julian Smith conducts research and analysis on the European interactive marketing and advertising arena as an analyst with Jupiter Research, which shares a parent company with ClickZ.

His areas of expertise cover all aspects of the online advertising industry, e-mail marketing, mobile (SMS/MMS) marketing, search engine marketing, eCRM, online branding and Web site design. His particular area of interest is in the use of digital media for the acquisition, retention and development of customers.

Prior to joining Jupiter Research, Julian spent over six years working in a variety of interactive marketing agencies in London. These included Razorfish, Euro RSCG Interaction and TBWA/GGT where he worked in strategy and client service roles helping develop online solutions for leading blue chip clients. Most recently he assisted in the integrated marketing launch of 3, the new 3G video mobile phone, one of the largest new product launches in the UK in 2003.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Marketing newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!



Featured White Papers

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce
This Magic Quadrant examines leading digital commerce platforms that enable organizations to build digital commerce sites. These commerce platforms facilitate purchasing transactions over the Web, and support the creation and continuing development of an online relationship with a consumer.

Paid Search in the Mobile Era

Paid Search in the Mobile Era
Google reports that paid search ads are currently driving 40+ million calls per month. Cost per click is increasing, paid search budgets are growing, and mobile continues to dominate. It's time to revamp old search strategies, reimagine stale best practices, and add new layers data to your analytics.




    • GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator
      GREAT Campaign Project Coordinator (British Consulate-General, New York) - New YorkThe GREAT Britain Campaign is seeking an energetic and creative...
    • Paid Search Senior Account Manager
      Paid Search Senior Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring a strategic Paid Search Senior Account Manager...
    • Paid Search Account Manager
      Paid Search Account Manager (Hanapin Marketing) - BloomingtonHanapin Marketing is hiring an experienced Paid Search Account Manager to...