Want Email? ClickZ Delivers

A couple of months ago, we asked what mission-critical information you need to read in the virtual pages of ClickZ. We were deluged with suggestions, but one topic kept coming up. Naturally, it was email — the Internet’s only indisputable killer app.

Email is the most popular use for the Internet, with 45 percent of the overall U.S. population using it, according to a recently released U.S. Commerce Department study. What’s even more interesting is the distribution of that usage. Of Internet users, people in every age group and income level use email equally, with an average of around 90 percent reporting usage. Statistics like these make it easy to understand why marketers from every product and service category are excited about email.

What they’re finding, though, is email marketing can be complex, and it’s only getting more so as the Internet and everything that’s part of it — technology, users, even spammers — grow more sophisticated.

First, there’s strategy. What’s the best vehicle for your marketing message, your customers, and your brand? Plain text messages? Are attachments good or bad? Should you send HTML, Java, Flash, or plain, old text? How about messages that morph into all-singing, all-dancing, full-motion movies? Should your business publish a newsletter?

Format discussions lead to creative considerations. What should it look like? What should it say? How do you get people to open it?

Then technical issues come to the fore. How do you make sure your emails appear correctly on the wide variety of email clients out there? How do you deal with actually sending your messages and handling bounces and unsubscribes? What can you do in-house, what should you outsource, and how do you select the right vendor?

Email “ethics” impact performance. When do you have permission? What can marketers do about spam? What’s the best way to gather names for your email list?

Once you have a list, how do you manage it? How do you segment your database to target people with the most relevant messaging? How do you figure out what list to rent and how to use it?

After a campaign, how do you judge if it’s been successful? What should you measure? Are open rates important? How about click-throughs?

These are only a few of the topics that we’re tackling with the new ClickZ Email Strategies subsite (at http://www.clickz.com/emailstrategies) we launched today in response to your demand. We’ve aggregated ClickZ’s best and brightest articles, not only from the dedicated email columns (and columnists), but also from every other ClickZ article that has dealt with email-related subjects. To really cover the waterfront, we added the email marketing information from ClickZ’s sister sites: ChannelSeven.com, AdResource, CyberAtlas, and Ecommerce Guide. Our goal is to make this a one-stop resource for marketers needing email information.

Instead of the column-oriented navigation you’re used to on ClickZ, we organized articles by topic, such as “Getting Started,” “Lists & Databases,” and “Measuring Success.” You can easily find what you need when you need it. It’s a reference resource that will never get musty and stale like that unabridged dictionary on your shelf. We’ll keep updating it. As the email space develops and grows, you’ll continually find the most up-to-date information on ClickZ Email Strategies.

Our commitment to email marketing isn’t limited to the virtual world. On May 20 and 21, ClickZ will host the ClickZ Email Strategies Conference and Expo in New York City. With email expert and author Seth Godin as our keynote speaker and many of your favorite ClickZ columnists as panelists, it’s an event you won’t want to miss. We’re looking forward to meeting our readers face to face.

We’ve long known email is one of the hottest interactive marketing vehicles going (after all, we publish email newsletters), but we want to thank you for all your feedback and suggestions for topics we should address in ClickZ. We are listening, and we’ll continue to pay attention (stay tuned for another big announcement).

Speak up — let us know what’s on your mind and what you think of the new site!

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