E-mail appends are a pretty controversial topic these days. Do they still work? Are they legal? Should you consider trying one with your in-house database? To help get a perspective on all this, I spoke to Dan Babb, director of e-mail append services at Walter Karl Interactive.
Here is what Babb had to say: “E-mail appends can be used to effectively increase your revenue and reengage customers you may have lost touch with. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have about e-mail appends is that there’s only one way to approach it. To really understand what an e-mail append can offer, you need to start with the basics.”
An e-mail append is the practice of supplementing the name records in your customer database by using a reputable third party. There are many types of e-mail appends:
- Traditional e-mail append. You have a large customer database containing your customers’ names and postal addresses, but you’re missing e-mail addresses. This service will match your file with a permission-based e-mail database and provide you with your customers’ e-mail addresses.
- Reverse e-mail append. You have a list of e-mail addresses compiled from online Web site registrations but don’t have full name and postal information. Your subscriber file is matched with a permission-based e-mail database, and subscribers’ names and mailing addresses are added to your file.
- E-mail update. This is also called e-mail change of address (ECOA). Like many marketers, you have a robust e-mail database but lose around 30 percent of your e-mail addresses per year because of bouncing mail. By using an e-mail update service, invalid e-mail addresses are updated with new deliverable e-mail addresses for the same customers.
- AMPlify (append, model, prospect). During any e-mail append project, matched customer records can be appended with demographic and lifestyle information. This information can be used to build an online customer profile, which can then be used to select look-alike prospects from permission-based acquisition e-mail lists.
Deciding which of these, if any, are right for your company to use is often challenging. After six years of specializing in e-mail append services, I’ve talked with hundreds of companies and shared ideas on how an e-mail append can be used to help them achieve their online marketing goals. Here are the top three reasons I give to marketers who ask if e-mail appends are a viable and profitable option to consider:
- Customers who have e-mail addresses as part of their profile have a lifetime value 3-10 times higher than others. Appending helps increase this lift.
- The cost of an e-mail append is significantly lower and more profitable than the cost of acquiring a new customer from scratch.
- E-mail appends are a fantastic reengagement strategy for those customers on your file who may have become nonresponsive to other media and marketing channels.
It’s critical to your success as a marketer to get the word out about your products through various marketing channels and to let your customer decide where and how they wish to respond. If the rising cost of printing and sending direct mail doesn’t allow you to dig deep into your customer file, then sending e-mail and using e-mail appends may be a great way to reengage these customers.
Want more e-mail marketing information? ClickZ E-Mail Reference is an archive of all our e-mail columns, organized by topic.
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