Develop Responsible E-mail Campaigns
February 1, 2004

Few catalogers would dispute that e-mail marketing is one of the most cost-effective methods for communicating with customers. And in this day and age, it’s also one of the most hotly contested. Indeed, the e-mail channel is fraught with legal, technical and marketing challenges. This article provides suggestions for keeping your e-mail program legal and ethical, and it offers tips on increasing the chances that your e-mails make it to your customers. The Can Spam Act and You In December, President Bush signed the legislation known as “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Market-ing Act of 2003” or Can Spam. The law,

CWD Achieves Easier E-mail Segmentation
November 1, 2003

Problem: Children’s Wear Digest (CWD) couldn’t easily segment its e-mail lists, so tracking campaign results was difficult. Solution: Employ EMart, a Web-based e-mail campaign management system that’s easier to set up and use, and can more easily track results. Results: CWD’s e-mail open rates have doubled since implementing EMart, and clickthroughs increased from 12 percent to 34 percent. Children’s Wear Digest (CWD), a family-owned direct marketer and retailer of brand-name kids’ apparel, wanted to boost its e-mail marketing results. In particular, officials of the Richmond, VA-based company wanted to make segment-specific offers, thereby possibly improving their open rates and clickthroughs. But their previous

How Data-mining Can Help Drive Personalized E-mail
November 1, 2003

Personalization and one-to-one marketing have become hot customer relationship management (CRM) topics in recent years. Indeed, glowing case studies from the direct marketing industry abound. Yet the core concept of personalizing print promotions has been slow to gain acceptance by catalog marketers in particular. Why? Their reluctance may be due to past experiences in the traditional print catalog world, where the incremental cost to vary the offer can be prohibitive. As a result, most print catalog promotions deliver a product-centric message. To be sure, that can work for some catalogers, but it still doesn’t tap into the notion of true one-to-one marketing.

20 Creative Ways to Drive Response via E-mail
October 1, 2003

Does e-mail marketing work? Yes! In fact, 39 percent of online shoppers said they bought something through a catalog after receiving e-mail, according to a study commissioned by DoubleClick. Indeed, e-mail marketing has become a critical tool in the marketer’s drive for product-specific sales and to move clearance merchandise. Other uses include: encouraging customers to visit retail stores and to shop from catalogs; rapidly collecting inexpensive market research; providing service updates; and supporting partner sales. Following are 20 tips that can help you effectively and profitably use the e-mail medium in your multichannel marketing plan. 1. Use e-mail to alert customers that a new

E-mail List Testing: Tactics to Try
September 1, 2003

Developing an effective e-mail prospecting program, especially amid today’s heightened sensitivity to spam, can be a tough proposition, even for the most experienced direct marketing expert. To be sure, the raw numbers needed to justify large-scale, opt-in e-mail testing just haven’t been that great. In fact, some catalogers have given up on e-mail prospecting. But there are some trends in e-mail marketing that could make the sales channel more productive for mainstream catalogers. First, a quick background of the e-mail list industry: At the height of the e-mail craze three years ago, there were many compiled and category-driven lists (i.e., consumers

The Trouble With a Great Technology
June 1, 2003

What was life like before the proliferation of e-mail? I can barely remember anymore, but I do recall that my daily activities weren’t so tightly tied to this electronic box called my computer. Please don’t misunderstand. I love the conveniences that e-mail enables. It allows me to let everyone on the staff know when I’m changing the editorial production schedule. I can communicate easily with readers, or exchange messages with my sister when our time-zone difference makes phone calls unwieldy. I get terrific opt-in marketing messages from my favorite catalogers, and informative newsletters from trusted publishers. In all, I get about 100

Stay in Contact
June 1, 2003

Artfully designed and managed opt-in e-mailed newsletters offered by catalogers can create a strong emotional bond with customers. E-newsletters can be broadly defined and may include original, product-independent content (e.g., recipes, feature articles, letters to the editor) as well as news about a sender’s products (e.g., special promotions, new-merchandise previews). Numerous catalogers already offer e-newsletters, including Musician’s Friend, Healthy Roads, Femail Creations and Time Motion Tools. Jakob Nielsen, Ph.D., a principal with the Nielsen Norman Group (NNG), which published a study on recipients’ attitudes toward e-mailed newsletters from businesses, says, “The positive emotional aspect of e-newsletters is that they can create more

Netting New Names in Lean Times
April 1, 2003

Gathering new buyer names for your housefile presents a challenge in any economic climate. But consumers’ current spartan buying habits have some catalogers puzzling about how, or even how much, to prospect. Some are using new avenues, while others staunchly stick to the basics. Associate Editor Gabrielle Mosquera asked three catalogers to share their thoughts on prospecting in today’s challenging environment. Larry Brown founder, Whatever Works catalog Market: business-to-consumer Type of products: garden, home and pest-control items Catalog Success: What do you think are the most popular prospecting media for catalogers today and why? Brown: As always, it’s other catalogs and their databases

Secure & Retain High-quality E-mail Lists
March 1, 2003

E-mail marketing has undergone a major transition during the past couple of years. A survey conducted by The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) found that two-thirds of U.S. companies claimed an increase in their sales in 2001 as a result of using e-mail marketing. Catalogers who use this marketing vehicle seem to do particularly well: Based on a June 2002 report from DoubleClick, catalogers’ e-mails have the highest click-through rates of any industry — 9.5 percent. One of the main reasons e-mail marketing is enjoying success is the increased quality of the e-mail lists available. While there continues to be considerable controversy about how

25 Tips to Boost Web Traffic & Sales
February 1, 2003

As the difficult economy soldiers on, undoubtedly you’re looking to improve sales from all channels, including your Web site. But how will you do so? Amy Africa, president of Creative Results, an online research and consultancy based in Williston, VT, offered attendees of last fall’s conference for the New England Mail Order Association the following tips for e-tailers who want to increase Web traffic and generate more sales. 1. Make your site load fast. The average site loads in 46 seconds on a dial-up modem, but most people decide if they’re going to stay on a site within eight to 12 seconds. So they’re