E-mail Appending: Pros, Cons and Action Tips
April 1, 2002

Spam is in the eye of the beholder. This adage offered by Anne Holland, publisher of MarketingSherpa.com, encapsulates the current discussions about e-mail appending. Most of the debates center around privacy as it relates to recipients’ permission. Some experts propose that the existence of a business relationship in one channel (e.g., direct mail) doesn’t justify marketers’ contact through another (e.g., online) when the customer hasn’t given his or her specific permission. “Until [customers] grant permission to send that e-mail, you shouldn’t assume you have it,” says Margie Arbon, director of operations for Mail Abuse Prevention System, a non-profit organization that works with Internet service

10 Terrific Uses of E-mail
January 1, 2002

Although it’s still new territory for most catalogers, e-mail marketing can work extremely well in conjunction with catalog mailing programs. This month we offer 10 tips to make the most effective use of your e-mail marketing campaigns. 1. Get registrations and opt-ins. Successful e-mail marketers concentrate on prompting prospects and customers to register their e-mail addresses for future mailings. (A common technique is to get registrations through a sweepstakes or online contest.) Once customers have registered or opted-in, the ideal number and frequency of follow-up mailings will vary by type of offer. (For more on this, see “24 Tips for E-mail Marketing Success,”

Nine Tips for Building Your E-mail Housefile
August 1, 2001

All of my favorite catalogs (both business and consumer) regularly e-mail to me promotions or newsletters. It appears that today’s catalogers are taking e-mail communication seriously and devoting significant marketing efforts to regularly contacting customers and prospects. Indeed, a cataloger’s e-mail file is a valuable asset in building site traffic and sales. Following are nine tips to aggressively grow your e-mail list. Prominently feature on your Web site’s home page an invitation to sign up for e-mailed communications. Most catalogs offer a subscription for e-mail specials or newsletters; but they can be amazingly hard to find. Sometimes I have to scroll down below

Techniques That Get Your E-mail Opened
November 1, 2000

E-mail marketing is new for many catalogers, and most are now concentrating on growing an in-house e-mail file. Some have started weekly or monthly newsletters that contain specials, and others are sending promotions. While many are becoming comfortable with the process of creating e-mail marketing messages, the competition for customers’ attention is growing. In the near future, it will become important for catalogers to set themselves apart from other e-mail marketers. As with print catalogs, several response-boosting techniques are worth testing in e-mail. Looking for Lists Most catalogers are working with their own housefiles right now. They have e-mail registration on

Alternate Media Other Catalogers Use and Why
September 1, 2000

Producing and mailing a catalog can be a most expensive undertaking. With alternate media you can achieve some of the same goals as with a print catalog: Testing, driving customers (new or existing) to your e--commerce site and building awareness/loyalty. Speaking at the Annual Catalog Conference in June, Kevin Kotowski, of Olson Kotowski & Co. in Los Angeles, named some top reasons catalogers use alternate media, or “non-catalog pieces:” 1) cheaper prospecting than with full-sized catalog drops, since most alternate media are cheaper to produce and mail; 2) building and strengthening your customer relationships with name and product awareness; 3)

Lifetime Value: Acquisition Costs Across Different Media
June 1, 2000

Two things are common to many database marketers. First, they can measure acquisition cost well (what it takes to turn a prospect into a customer), but they don’t employ a sound method of judging lifetime value (LTV). Second, they emphasize prospecting rather than retention/cross-selling/upselling. The combination of these two traits, measuring acquisition but not LTV and concentrating on prospecting rather than retention, often leads to profitability problems when testing new media. For a “traditional” cataloger, who sells only through direct mail and prospects only with rented lists, there can be a major difference in the long-term profitability of buyers from different sources. For

Mony Modes, One Voice
June 1, 2000

A single customer contact center presents one company message across e-mail, Web chat and telephone calls As catalogers move business online, they are noticing an increase in the number of incoming calls to the call center. Theoretically, the Internet is supposed to reduce the number of calls. But Web sites, especially commerce-enabled ones, are generating more contact for catalogers. Many of the incoming calls are for customer service. The customer is on the site, they have loaded up their shopping cart, but they have a question about the color, the size, the quantity or they can’t figure out how to complete the transaction.

E-mail Marketing: What Works Now
April 1, 2000

The great American author John Updike once said, “Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or doing it better.” The sentiment surely applies to e-mail marketing, and the operative words are “creative” and “better.” Catalogers stand to benefit greatly from trying more creative e-mail marketing techniques. Even if you already consider yourself an expert in this space, upping the ante to a more sophisticated, more technical solution could be a smart move. Not only could you improve response rates, but you could also automate portions of the testing process when working in this online medium. HTML vs. Text

Playing by the Rules
January 1, 2000

CALIFORNIA LAW recently defined three types of acceptable e-mail use. Companies can send e-mail to: 1. Consumers provided that the marketer identifies the message as commercial e-mail by beginning the subject line with “ADV.” 2. Consumers who have given permission via an opt-in. 3. Consumers with whom they have a prior business relationship. While these rules aren’t overly restrictive, similar legislation is coming down the pike nationally, and companies that choose to prospect or communicate with existing customers should be prepared to comply, now. Which of these three methods should they use? It depends on the goal of the campaign, but mostly success relies

E-mail Marketing: Communicating Effectively
October 1, 1999

In the online battle for customer loyalty, catalogers have increasingly turned to e-mail marketing. However, an e-mail in-box—like the home telephone—is a communication channel that consumers rail against when it’s used to trick them into hearing a sales pitch. Unlike the postal mail box, consumers take personal umbrage at hearing “You’ve got mail!” for messages, not from friends, but from companies out to sell something unsolicited. Catalogers’ e-mails, then, must be user-friendly. Effective e-mail marketing campaigns can result in double-digit response rates, increased sales and exponential growth in e-mail address lists. On the other hand, impersonal bulk newsletters, excessive e-mailings and complicated opt-out systems