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Using e-mail to increase brand metrics

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Companies are familiar with using e-mail marketing as a method of boosting lead generation and sales, but that’s not the only thing it’s good for. Done right, e-mail marketing can also help increase brand awareness and brand equity, said Jason Oates, VP-media services for online marketing company Datran Media.

This week, Datran Media released the results of a brand impact survey it completed in conjunction with marketing effectiveness research company Dynamic Logic. While the survey was in support of a b-to-c campaign for online dating firm eHarmony—that company saw unaided brand awareness increase 11.5 percentage points and brand favorability increase 7.3 percentage points as a result of its e-mail campaign—many of the lessons they learned are the same for all e-mail marketers, Oates said.

Most important, the study found, is the fact that inbox advertising provides significant brand impact across each of the key branding metrics, including brand favorability. This applies to both contextual ad inclusions and targeted stand-alone branded acquisition-focused e-mail advertising, it said.

The main reason for this, Oates said, is that e-mail marketing is in effect a stand-alone communication; it isn’t fighting for attention with other content, which helps to solidify its messaging. “There’s no clutter,” he said. “It’s a clear communication; a large format ad. The reader isn’t looking at sports scores or reading a news story.”

Plus, e-mail is also easily referenced, he said. Recipients can go back to it with any questions, unlike television or radio spots.

Of course, if your goal is brand awareness, there are several things to consider. Frequency is important, Oates said. While sending a similar offer or call to action more than once might not be a good idea when your goal is conversion, the same can’t be said for brand awareness. “The more exposure you can give, the more awareness will increase,” he said. “Don’t just hit someone once.”

Of course, you don’t want to send the same message twice, but you should include specific elements in a brand awareness message that build on previous e-mails, he said.

This extends to the offline world as well. “In many cases, with major brands there is a lot of continuity between e-mail creative and offline [creative],” he said.

Personalization is also a key consideration, he said. “When you’re thinking about brand awareness, it’s important to segment your list.”

The more precise your targeting, the better acceptance your brand message will receive. This should carry over to any landing pages you create as well, Oates said. “This builds trust,” he explained. “The more specific you can be, the better.”

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