Developing ways to divvy up data

4. Growing email databases

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As the world continues to go digital, email is becoming an even more crucial way to connect with consumers. “We rely heavily on email for cross-marketing of our publications and events, for driving traffic to our websites, for surveys and for revenue from third-party advertising,” said Nick Cavnar, VP-circulation at Hanley Wood Business Media. Cavnar said that despite all the pressure to add email addresses, he is concerned about the unusable email addresses in his company's database due to consumers opting out or to bounce-backs. ”Given the tightly defined universes of b-to-b markets, email attrition poses an even more serious obstacle than it might somewhere else,” Cavnar said. ”Our advertisers and marketing clients want access to the most important decision-makers in our industries. There's nothing more frustrating than realizing we've got the key people on our list but can't use email to reach them.” As a result, Cavnar is planning a special campaign to “reactivate” some of those addresses. For example, he'd like to have a call center phone every person who opts-out of emails in order to get a sense of why they opted out. “I don't know how many opt outs we'd reactivate, but I have to believe we'd learn a lot about how to retain the emails we still have,” he said. “In my mind, that's become even more important than collecting new ones.” Bobit's Napoleone said his company has become much more diligent about collecting emails at all touch points and focusing on quality as well as quantity. “We want to help guide our advertisers away from just asking about list size and blasting out general promos, and instead focus on promoting to very targeted audience segments that, in turn, will have much higher open/click/conversion metrics,” he said. Desiree Bennett Forsyth, principal of consultancy Density Media, offered a different take, saying that email databases are often the result of good social media efforts. “Publishers now realize that the key to ROI on social media leads through email,” she said. “Start by building the community, establishing trust and interaction. ... The next step is to convert those users into email addresses.” She recommended using contests, fan gates and lead-gen downloads to achieve it.
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