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What you can learn from other companies’ e-mail efforts

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Push marketing data provider Email Data Source this month announced it has expanded its tracking coverage to include the entire Fortune 1,000 list, meaning the company, which has been monitoring e-mail marketing efforts since 2003, currently receives opt-in marketing messages from every company on the Fortune list.

Using those data, Email Data Source can analyze one-off e-mail campaigns as well as e-newsletters from the companies and their affiliates, looking at both content and quality. Today, its searchable database has more than 4 million e-mail messages covering 230 market segments.

“For the first time, companies can see how well their campaigns are doing as well as how their industry is doing,” said Bill McCloskey, co-founder and chairman. “They can actually see how they stack up against the competition.”

Companies can also view mentions of their brands, products or company name in third-party e-mails and newsletters.

McCloskey said there are several things that marketers can learn from his service—even if they don’t subscribe. (A yearly subscription starts at $12,500.) Here are the top three.

1) Create a historical record. If you use an e-mail service provider, you probably create your newsletters in a template or cut-and-paste content and press send. These newsletters are saved in an archive for review at a later date. But what happens if you decide to switch ESPs?

“Once you make a change [to another ESP], you might not have a historical record of all your past e-mail marketing campaigns,” McCloskey said. “And you’re definitely not going to have historical access to how well those messages did driving traffic and which links performed best.”

That said, keep a separate copy of all your e-mail messaging as well as analytics data. Many ESPs will give you reports that you can save to an external source.

2) Sign up for all your own marketing programs. You might think you know exactly what your company is sending out each week, but if you have branch offices, an international presence or marketing affiliates, you might be missing a big chunk of your overall branding and marketing efforts, McCloskey said.

“You may be sending out mixed signals. Unless you see everything, you’re not creating a unified message. The in-box is the most difficult place to monitor, so you’ve got to be doing everything you can to track your success.”

3) Subscribe to competitors’ e-mail communications. You should definitely subscribe to e-mail communications from everyone in your industry; but remember that there’s plenty to learn from those who aren’t direct competitors. “If I’m in the high-tech space, I might want to watch what’s going on in the event marketing space because I’m promoting my own webinars and want to see what subject lines are working best,” he said. “You definitely get ideas when you look around a bit.”

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