Prospect Better to Grow Existing Lists

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Greg Grdodian, President, Edith Roman-ePost Direct
Do you know what you’re doing? That’s not a personal question. All mailers should ask it when building their customer lists. It means, simply, do you have a plan in place?
If it’s time to generate more top-line revenue, then it’s time to grow your list. It should be done methodically, using tried-and-true direct marketing methods.
First, outline your goals. Are you looking for quantity or quality? Are you seeking prospects or immediate customers?
If it’s quantity you want, you might be tempted to try social media, but you could end up with a glut of unqualified names. The best channels for generating customers are the traditional direct marketing ones. You’ll get more meaningful data, and you’ll have greater control.
Start by profiling your existing customer file. Match it against a comprehensive business-to-business database and overlay firmographic data like SIC and employee size, and individual details, like text title. Once you’ve created your customer footprint, you are in the best position to acquire new customers.
Next, prospect through the traditional channels, such as direct mail, e-mail, and telemarketing. You’ll generate higher conversion rates when you use them together. And, you’ll learn more about potential buyers–for example, how they like to respond. If it’s postal, send an e-mail to trigger response to a direct mail piece. These insights (and others) can be used when the prospects become customers.
Also, improve your ROI by negotiating multi-use volume deals. Don’t drill down in a list to the point where there are no prospects, and stop mailing unresponsive names. Remember the IOU formula: Your copy should generate interest, offer a deal, and deliver a sense of urgency.
Another way to build your list is through lead generation. Do you have a digital content library made up of white papers, e-books, webcasts, and analysts’ reports? Syndicate it through websites, newsletters, and through b-to-b co-registration networks. Prospects can be qualified with a couple of simple questions.
 
The Takeaway
Plan ahead, set reasonable goals, and understand the anticipated ROI.
 
—Source: DM News Aug. 23, 2010 (www.dmnews.com)

Simple Rules to Make the Most of List Rentals

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By Dave Scott, CEO, Marketfish

The secret to successful list marketing is good testing. Unfortunately, many companies aren’t sure how to test effectively. They simply rent a list of prospects, send out their e-mail to everyone on that list, and wait for the results. When their campaign isn’t successful, they assume list marketing doesn’t work, and never try it again.
If testing is done right, it can be a powerful tool for any direct marketer. The following rules will increase your chances of a successful list marketing campaign.
1) Test the right number of prospects and lists
Many companies start out too small or too large. Some rent a list with only 500 prospects for an e-mail campaign and get zero response from it. Other companies spend $50,000 for a list with one million prospects, only to find out later that they’ve sent their message to the wrong audience–or worse, that they bought a “bogus list” full of old, inaccurate contact information.
I believe an ideal test list size is 25,000 names. E-mail marketing is a large-numbers game. You need a certain amount of throughput for it to be effective.
Test multiple lists to find the most receptive prospects for your message. For example, if you send marketing e-mails solely to a list of CMOs, you will probably get a minimal response. You increase your chances of success if you test additional lists of VPs/directors of marketing, marketing managers, and even VPs of sales (who often influence marketing decisions).
2) Test the creative and subject header
I strongly recommend doing A/B split testing for your e-mail campaign. Test different versions of the subject header and creative, and then use the elements that get the best response. This will maximize your chances for a successful campaign.
You never know what a client will respond to. On a recent A/B split test, our client mistakenly sent out a test e-mail with only the word “Webinar” in the subject line. To our surprise, the “Webinar” e-mail got three times the response of the test e-mail with the well-crafted subject header.
3) Establish goals
Before you begin testing, establish goals for your list marketing campaign. Know how many leads (or sales) you hope to generate, and know your projected cost per lead (CPL). Then use the testing results to help meet your goals.
For example, say your CPL goal is $10 per lead, but the CPL in the first series of tests is $20 per lead. You can use these results to negotiate a better rental price for the prospect list.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was, “That which isn’t measured doesn’t improve.” The more elements you test, the more likely you are to have a successful list marketing campaign.
—Source: DMNews June 23, 2010 (www.dmnews.com). Dave Scott is the CEO of Marketfish.

9 Things to Put in Your List Welcome Messages

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By Mark Brownlow, Email Marketing Reports
The list welcome message is the email that goes out to someone automatically and immediately once you add their email address to your list. They’re often marketing disasters…using technical jargon to simply state that address X was added to List Y. Not very engaging.
The reason they’re so bad is that they usually get set up as an afterthought, or they simply feature the pre-programmed message that the email delivery service offers as a default.
This is not good.
Why?
Somebody just felt interested and enthused enough about your products, services, or publications to request regular emails from you.
This is one of those precious marketing moments.
You’ve got the prospect’s attention. You’ve got their interest. You’ve got their permission to send them an email.
And, how do you communicate with them in this glorious, elusive moment?
You send them a list welcome message.
That’s why this message is important.
It arrives in that brief window of time when you’re actually top of mind for all sorts of good reasons. So, it has far more potential impact on the relationship with the recipient, than just about any other email you’re likely to send.
When you understand that, then the old “you have been added to our list,” message seems a touch lame, no?
So, here’s a quick overview of what you should have in that welcome message…
First, you need to include the mechanical basics:
1. Confirm that the action they took was successful: They have, indeed, been added to the list.
2. Let them know how or where they can modify their subscription or access past issues (don’t forget the requirements of anti-spam legislation).
Not too exciting, so far. But, here’s what you also need in there:
3. Thank the recipient for signing-up. A real thank-you. Like you mean it.
4. Remind them of what they’re going to get in terms of content and publication frequency. This sets expectations appropriately. (Remember: If you don’t meet expectations, they’ll start to think of your emails as spam.)
5. Remind them of how they will also benefit from this content.
6. Give an immediate feedback option. You do value your reader’s opinion, don’t you?
None of the above need take up much space in the welcome message. Now, what about grasping that opportunity we just identified?
7. Avoid a mechanical tone and talk to the recipient in a human, personable way (unless your brand forbids this). Sign the email with a real name–the editor, CEO, whoever makes most sense.
8. Avoid email marketing jargon unless your audience is email marketers. Words like “unsubscribe,” “preference center,” and “opt-in,” won’t mean anything to most consumers.
9. Reward the recipient for their interest. Surprise them with a sign-up bonus.
Examples might be:
• A copy of your most popular content from previous emails.
• A coupon or some other special offer (especially if you have a sophisticated system that can link this offer to whatever it is they were looking at before they signed up).
• A “for-subscribers-only” white paper, article, presentation, or other useful document.
In essence, treat that list welcome message as an extremely valuable and important element in your relationship marketing efforts. Not as an afterthought.
You know that thing they say about first impressions? Well, it’s true.
The welcome message is also a good place to put in a request to whitelist your “from” address.
—Source: Email Marketing Reports Aug. 2006 (www.email-marketing-reports.com).

Get Consumers’ Attention with Local Listings

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Manish Pate, CEO, Where 2 Get It 
Have you ever used Google Maps or Yahoo Local to find a restaurant nearby? If so, you’ve used one of the most powerful online tools available to large and small businesses. The completeness, accuracy, and consistency of this data–called local listings–can turn into a gold mine if the information is managed properly.
So, why are local listings so important? It’s all about consumer usage. Since 2008, the trend towards longer keyword searches combined with a local indicator has made the local search field more competitive than ever. According to the most recent ComScore study completed in 2009 for 2008, local search grew 58 percent in 2008, reaching a year-long total of 15.7 billion searches. For comparison’s sake, overall, US Web core searches hit 14.5 billion in February 2010, with 65.5 percent of the searches conducted through Google sites, followed by Yahoo at 16.6 percent, according to ComScore. 
Local search shoppers want convenience, are ready to buy now, and look for detailed and accurate information every time.   
As local search grew, Internet Yellow Pages and local online business directories saw double-digit growth of 23 percent in 2009 from 2008. In addition, the same ComScore study showed that 75 percent of the top 100 keywords searched on Internet yellow pages sites (IYPs) are non-branded, meaning consumers are searching phrases like “chicken sandwich Boise, ID.”
Local search is the natural evolution of “yellow page” directory listings moving to the Internet and mobile devices. Listing data is submitted to major search engines and Internet yellow pages (IYPs), so that when a consumer includes a city name in a search, links to local listings are displayed. Consumers can click on these links to see detailed listings, find events, or even download coupons. Local listings are also submitted to navigation devices and mobile directories. Local directory syndication ensures that listings for your locations are detailed and accurate, including contact information, hours of operation, products and services, brands, payment methods, and more.
Another important aspect of local listings is optimizing companies’ content to work with claimed listings. This includes: optimizing every local page; using a mapping service for all locations, like Google Maps, Bing Maps, etc.; writing driving directions for each location; using local area codes on phone numbers for each location; and adding a full address for each location. To further maximize these results, each location should submit their information to local directories and online yellow pages like yp.com, superpages.com, or citysearch.com
For franchisors or national businesses with multiple locations, the challenge then becomes claiming these local listings accurately across locations nationwide. This means maintaining your competitive edge, whether you sell burgers or tires. Each local listing must be completed with the top keyword phrases that your customers will use when searching for you, whether they are in Texas or Maine. And whether a franchise has 10 or 10,000 locations, each listing is equally important to that local businesses’ ultimate success. 
With so many consumers seeking local listing information, it’s vital that local and national advertisers, with local entities, proactively manage and improve their listings’ accuracy to gain favorable positions in the local search results.
—Source: DMNews April 28, 2010 (www.dmnews.com). Manish Patel is CEO of Where 2 Get It (www.where2getit.com).

Demographic Targeting With a Bankruptcy List

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By Dave Morgan, Expert Author, Articlesbase
The bankruptcy list provides a great opportunity for many companies to acquire a highly targeted list of individuals and businesses who can provide marketing opportunities for a great variety of organizations providing services for debt management, debt counseling, and even high risk lenders who charge an increased rate of interest to individuals with an inferior credit rating.
Anybody that has filed for bankruptcy will likely have a very poor credit rating, meaning these individuals will likely find a great deal of difficulty opening bank accounts–let alone taking credit from banks or lenders. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what a bankruptcy list is, and why and how these lists are compiled in the first place.
Whenever any individual or company files for bankruptcy, information related to their bankruptcy case will become a public matter–which means this information will now be available to any member of the public. The reason for this is to allow any potential creditors in the case an opportunity to find out that this person or company has filed for bankruptcy, which is of course, very important if they do not know of this already.
Once information concerning your bankruptcy case is made available to the public domain, it is then likely to be compiled in a list of other recently filed bankruptcies. These lists will contain personal details about you such as your name, address, age, details concerning your case, and other information. They are compiled by companies who are looking to then sell the information on for marketing purposes. It is very common for mailing list companies to compile or buy these lists to then promote to their current customer base.
For companies who are targeting certain demographics, the bankruptcy list can provide a very worthwhile acquisition to their marketing campaign. The lists are already highly targeted to people with financial and debt problems, so they will contain a highly targeted list of potential customers if the company offers debt or financial related services. Because of the information contained in these lists, it is also possible to break it down further–such as age or geographic location, for example.
 
Request a free quote on our bankruptcy lists–updated daily! 
  
—Source: Articlesbase is a free online marketing directory. This article was published April 18, 2008 (http://www.articlesbase.com/authors/dave-morgan/55800).