Association uses analytics to target e-newsletter content

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Since its formation in January 2002, the Association of Equipment Manufacturers has sent out e-mail newsletters that summarized industry news and included promotions for the organization’s trade shows and events. Some of its e-mailings went out to association members; others went out to thousands of potential trade show attendees.

"In the beginning, we were promoting our new name and new brand," said Chuck Frey, director of strategic information services for the organization, which serves companies that manufacture agricultural, mining, forestry and utility equipment and products. "Going forward, e-mail marketing—rich HTML messages in particular—is important because we can use it to disseminate news to our members and promote upcoming seminars."

In June 2002, AEM, which had been formed when the Construction Industry Manufacturers Association merged with the Equipment Manufacturing Institute, began working with software provider SubscriberMail, using its automated e-mail marketing tools that include more than 14 up-to-the-minute e-mail analytics.

In the beginning, e-mail analytics were far down on the organization’s wish list. Today, however, AEM is using several analytic metrics to help shape its communications. Open rates and click-through rates are basic but provide a wealth of information, Frey said.

"We collect news and information that’s of interest to our members and aggregate links on our Web site. We put those links and a summary into our message," Frey said. "If a lot of people are clicking on a news story we know it’s top of mind and we focus on the topic more extensively on our Web site."

Using open rates

Open rates give Frey and his team an idea if the messages they are sending are relevant to members.

"Like anyone else, members are overmessaged," he said. "We use
e-mail metrics to discern patterns and see what in general they are most interested in."

The open rates also dictate whether AEM sends out a follow-up message. Members who don’t open messages receive another copy just in case the mail was inadvertently deleted or blocked.

AEM is taking its e-mail marketing to the next level this month with a new campaign designed to boost attendance for its March 2005 CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE (International Exposition for Power Transmission) trade shows and provide value to its exhibitors. The shows, which take place in Las Vegas, covers more than 2 million square feet of convention space. As a result, some exhibitors say it’s hard for customers to find them, Frey said. AEM is making it easier by offering automated e-mail capabilities for an additional fee.

"We’re providing a tool to exhibitors to help them send out e-mail messages to their customers," Frey said. "It’s a two-pronged program that helps exhibitors draw people to their booths and helps promote the show to a larger group of prospective attendees."

In addition to basic e-mail design and sending capabilities, the program gives exhibitors access to the same analytics reporting tools AEM uses, Frey said, including open and click-through rates, total number of clicks per link, and forward rates, among others.

"It’s going to help us figure out which exhibitors are using the e-mail marketing tools and which aren’t. If they’re paying for the service but not using it, we want to be able to go to them and say, ‘Are you running into problems?’ and help them make changes," Frey said.

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