Simple questions to ask about 3rd Party email Lists
By on February 3, 2012, 6:14 am.
There is a lot written about email marketing to in-house lists but very little around 3rd party lists. The aim of this article is highlight why you should use 3rd party email lists and to add some insights to best practice in choosing a 3rd party list to use for your next marketing campaign.
Firstly, why should I use a 3rd party list when I already have an in-house list? Email advertising is used for a number of reasons but the predominant one surrounds direct response. You are entering into a consumer’s personal arena, their inbox, you have 30 secs of their time and if you nail it, they will respond or purchase on the spot. By nailing it you have selected the right target audience and does extensive testing on creative and landing pages for your product and people love it! Email is still the only online medium where you can deliver your message to a targeted, segmented audience. This is why you should use email as part of your media mix but there are some precautions.
There seems of stigma around these ‘email lists’ and what you are going to get for your money. There are is a large amount of less reputable lists which has tarnished this channel and labeled it as ‘SPAM’ but the key words to look for are permission and opt-in. It is mandatory, according to the SPAM Act 2003 that if you are going to communicate your message via electronic means to anyone then the person must have given you consent to do so.
Digital adverting is on the rise[i] and is here to stay and email is part of this mix, along with the growth the need for quality, responsive data is a must so you need to make sure that you are asking the right questions about the list you are going to use before jumping in. Here are some to start you off.
1. How was the list compiled? – Answers you should be looking for are; through a website, telemarketing, surveys, competitions, trade shows etc. A long standing member on a list (greater than 2 years) doesn’t necessarily mean they are non-responsive. More important here is the number of active members
2. How active is the list? – Answers here would be surrounding response rates. There are also two types of lists, incentivised and non-incentivised (see recent blog post). For non-incentivised list you would be looking for an open rate of around 15% and a click-through-rate of between 2-5%. Incentivised lists would see open rates of around 35% and a click-through-rate of about 15%.
3. What targeting is available? Is will show you how sophisticated the data capture has been and the importance of the data to the owner.
4. How often is the list emailed? Don’t be put off if this is frequent, say twice per week, as the response rates will indicate if the members enjoy receiving offers on a regular basis. If it is frequent then best to enquire on when the last time an email in your category has been sent.
5. Does the list offer a 95% delivery guarantee? This is an industry standard and all reputable lists should be able to deliver this as a minimum. Be sure to check this after the campaign has been broadcast and get a top up if it falls below!
6. What is the opt-in process? The best response here is double opt-in, this is when a member has signed up to a database and then needs to verify their email address by going into their inbox and clicking on a link. There is a lot of drop off for the list owner because of the extra step for the member but it is great for the advertiser for 2 reasons. Firstly, the email address is valid and secondly the member really wants to be part of the database (and is a bit savvy with using the web).
So, email advertising is a reputable channel and databases invest heavily into building clean, marketable lists for 3rd party advertisers and take the Privacy laws very seriously. There are a few more hints to getting the best out of your list such as ‘how the email is broadcasted?’ and ‘How can I check the email address is opt-in?’, drop me a line and I run through any details required.
[i] recently released estimates for the Future of Digital Advertising by PWC