Options for Your Email Address Collection Campaign

This week’s column is the result of a couple of emails I recently received. Keep the emails rolling in, folks. They’re a great source of new column topics. (By the way, that’s not an open invitation for every PR account exec to flood my mailbox with “please write about my client” requests.)

Someone recently emailed me to ask about planning a campaign to coincide with a client’s web site relaunch. This person asked, “What do I do if the web site doesn’t launch on time?”

Most sellers of online advertising are pretty flexible if there is a delay in a campaign’s launch. They want the campaign to work well as much as you do. I probably should have sent this person an email encouraging her to work out the launch issues with her sales reps. However, I was curious and instead answered the inquiry with some queries of my own. “Is this a traffic-driving campaign? What is the objective here?” She answered that the objective was to build a list of email addresses of people interested in her client’s product. “Why, then,” I inquired, “are you waiting for the web site to relaunch? You don’t need a destination site to achieve your objective.”

Certain types of online advertising campaigns benefit greatly from a distributed presence, rather than a drive to a destination site. Email address collection is a great example of a campaign objective that can be achieved without requiring prospects to visit a destination site.

We know that one of the reasons why web users don’t dig banners is that they often take those who click on them away from the site that they’re currently visiting. A distributed presence can help remove that barrier. Users are more likely to click immediately if they know that the banner they’re clicking on won’t take them somewhere else. There are many ways in which to execute this. Here are some that would work for our friend with the email address collection objective:

  • Use a rich media format that allows for within-the-banner data collection. Bluestreak and Enliven are good formats for this type of execution.

  • Make use of a microsite strategy. Work with the publishers on your ad campaign to develop a data-capture mechanism that lives on the publisher’s site.
  • Make use of daughter windows. A banner that pops up a smaller window, rather than taking the existing browser window to a new site, will likely perform better from a response standpoint. Note: Your creative must make it evident to the user that it will leave the main window where it is.
  • Utilize one of the “clip and save” technologies so that the users who click on them can go back to the banner at their convenience. ClicVU or AdClip can help you with this.

Here are some other ideas for executing an email address collection strategy without a destination web site.

  • Try a viral marketing piece. Develop a snazzy and compelling content piece that can be attached to an email. Encourage those who receive the email to pass it along to friends. RadicalMail has a cool solution, not only for presenting the content, but also for managing the viral aspect of the campaign.

  • Seek opt-in opportunities. Some web sites will sell you space on sign-up forms within their own site. An opt-in box placed on these forms will allow you to collect data when users check the box. “Click here if you would like to receive periodic information from XYZ via email.”
  • Use offline media. Don’t forget that offline direct mail can also help you collect email addresses.

Some online advertising strategies can be executed without the need for a destination. If you aren’t required to link to a destination site to achieve your objectives, try some of these techniques. A distributed web presence can be a good thing.

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