E-mail marketing secrets & lies: Database append

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E-mail marketing can create good customers, but using a multichannel strategy makes them even more valuable, according to a September study (“The Epsilon Targeting Multichannel Trend Report”) from Abacus, a division of Epsilon Targeting. The study, which tracked buyers between Jan. 1, 2008, and Dec. 21, 2008, found that pure Web buyers have an average worth of $88, while multichannel buyers are worth $188.

One strategy to take marketing multichannel: Make the most of the company’s customer database. Abacus last week hosted a webinar that included strategies to get started. Based on that webinar, Eric Zilling, VP at Abacus Data Services, and Mary Ann Kleinfelter, VP-marketing at connectivity product provider L-com, here identify one little-known e-mail marketing secret as well as one commonly believed “lie” about using append to improve a marketing database.

The webinar, “Six Proven Strategies for Increasing Your ROI by Leveraging Your Customer File,” is available at:

Secret: Appending a list should start with the resources you already have.
Think about your company’s customer lists. There are probably multiple databases sitting on your servers that you can use to boost the amount of data linked to e-mails. You may even be able to find additional e-mails to use in your e-mail marketing in such places as customer service, the call center and your own CRM program. “It’s very hard to rely just on your e-mail database, Zilling said. “You can use [information] from purchases made online, made direct, made at retail,” he said. This lets you see how much a customer actually spends with your company, taking into account all possible channels.

Your biggest challenge may be convincing salespeople to provide e-mails and information from what they consider their “private” databases. You can allay their fears by creating a highly targeted campaign that includes a signature file from each of your salespeople so that they still “own” their customers, but so that the company is the keeper of the data.

Lie: You can use append on your entire database.

This simply isn’t true, Kleinfelter said. “You’re going to want to take a more recent set of names, do some test matching and not make assumptions that you’re going to match everyone,” she said.

That said, if you know someone is a top customer but you don’t have them on your e-mail list, you might want to pick up the phone and call them to get their e-mail address. New buyers, especially, need nurturing that you can do more effectively if you have additional information about them. This is why, once you’ve exhausted your internal databases and can’t get in touch over the phone or in person, it might be worth trying an append service.

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