5 things to know about e-mail append

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Marketers, hoping to make the e-mail opt-in process less onerous, have been asking less of subscribers. Today, many programs require only a name and an e-mail address. While this is easy for subscribers, it can make it difficult for companies to target and trigger e-mail messages. E-mail append services, which tie additional data points and demographic information to e-mail addresses, are one solution some marketers have pursued. But do they know everything there is to know about the topic? Dave Scott, CEO at online marketing firm Marketfish, discusses five things that marketers might not realize about appending.

1) There's more data out there than many marketers might realize. “People think that they are not going to find enough information, especially on the b-to-b side, but we find that 90% of all the lists we use tend to get appended with some piece of data. We're always amazed that there's that much data out there,” he said.

2) Marketers can—and should—test before they buy. While it's not something every provider publicizes, marketers should be able to get at least 1,000 e-mail addresses appended for free to get a good sampling, Scott said. Marketers also shouldn't underestimate the power of their own data when assessing different vendors. “We give them the e-mails of everyone that we know as well as the e-mail addresses of people we already have appended data on so we can check to see if what [the append service providers] come back with is close to what we already have,” he said.

3) Appended lists can give false confidence. “You can fall into believing that everything you get from an append service is completely and totally accurate; so you go out and send an e-mail to everyone on a list that says, "Dear Director of IT.' Meanwhile, you might have people on the list who are not IT directors, and you've completely alienated them,” Scott said.

4) Data gets old. People get promotions. They move within a company. They quit. Because of this, Scott said, marketers should re-append their e-mail list once a quarter or, at a minimum, twice a year. “You always want to have the most current data when you're targeting your list,” he said.

5) Don't rely simply on title, name and location when targeting. There's a variety of information out there about prospects, and marketers that are willing to get creative can get big results. “You can use something like marketing spend, for instance,” Scott said. “If you're selling a CRM system and you find a company that's got a disproportionately high marketing spend, you know that company is supporting its salespeople. Think about the indicators that apply to your market and see if there are lists out there that can address them.”

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