Email Marketing: Using Email to Reach Your Target Audience and Build Customer Relationships (7.5 x 9.25")


The most powerful tool for marketing, branding, direct response, and building customer relationships is email. It's cheap, easy-to-use, and almost everybody on the Internet has an email address. The only problem is that not everyone knows how to use it correctly. Sending out a bad email not only discourages potential customers but can also damage your brand and your reputation. Written by the leading experts on Internet direct marketing and permission email marketing, this book arms you with the latest email ...

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The most powerful tool for marketing, branding, direct response, and building customer relationships is email. It's cheap, easy-to-use, and almost everybody on the Internet has an email address. The only problem is that not everyone knows how to use it correctly. Sending out a bad email not only discourages potential customers but can also damage your brand and your reputation. Written by the leading experts on Internet direct marketing and permission email marketing, this book arms you with the latest email strategies and techniques to help you dramatically improve response rates and forge lasting customer relationships. The authors provide a comprehensive introduction to what email marketing is and how it can be used to reach a larger group of people at a lower cost. You'll discover the ins and outs of creating an effective email marketing strategy and how it can play a significant role with your customers. And you'll find a collection of valuable templates that will help you get started immediately!

This book takes you step-by-step through the process of creating a successful permission email marketing campaign. Inside, you'll learn how to:

  • Develop a campaign strategy
  • Write an email masterpiece
  • Reach your target audience
  • Enhance a campaign for a better response rate
  • Measure the success of email marketing strategies
  • Advertise on other people's electronic newsletters
  • Host your own discussion group
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Once you make a "scout's honor" commitment to only use "opt-in" email—never "opt-out" or (heaven forfend) Spam—you can do amazingly flexible, powerful, profitable email marketing. In Email Marketing, two of the field's leaders show you how, start-to-finish.

These are the details you won't find anywhere else. How to develop an email campaign strategy and objects. Targeting your message. Choosing lists that contain people who've honestly asked to hear your message. Creating your offer. Determining how much email you can send without alienating even the most responsive recipient. Testing your assumptions, formats, lists, offers, subject line, length, tone, response mechanism, and lots more.

You'll discover how to create effective e-Newsletters and e-Promotions, how to advertise in other people's email, and how to measure your results. Sterne and Priore also offer new insight into writing great email copy (it's not the same as other direct mail). For instance, you'll learn how to leverage great new ideas such as "implanted context theory"—the "realization that each step in the persuasion process is delivering a mind with a changed context to the next step." This is breakthrough stuff. If you've even considered honorable, opt-in email marketing, you gotta read it.

From the Publisher
"...this book empowers every business..."

" a well-detailed and skillful insight into developing highly cost-effective and personal campaigns" (Marketing, 4th January 2001)

...this book empowers every a well-detailed and skillful insight into developing highly cost-effective and personal campaigns.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471383093
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/7/2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

JIM STERNE is a leading world expert on Internet marketing. He specializes in creating Internet marketing strategies for businesses. Sterne produced the world's first seminar on Internet marketing in 1994 and is an internationally recognized speaker at industry conferences. Information about his company, Target Marketing of Santa Barbara, can be found at

ANTHONY PRIORE is Vice President of Marketing for, the premier outsourcer of permission email marketing technologies and services ( Priore is a recognized leader in the direct marketing and e-commerce marketing fields. His career in marketing spans nearly 20 years and includes executive positions with Peapod, The Leo Burnett Company, Citicorp Diners Club, and DDB Needham Worldwide.

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Table of Contents

Foreword xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

Chapter 2 Spam: The Email We Love to Hate 9

Chapter 3 Defining Opt-in 35

Chapter 4 Crafting an Email Campaign 59

Chapter 5 Setting Your Sights: Targeting Your Message 95

Chapter 6 Writing an Email Masterpiece 125

Chapter 7 E-Newsletters, E-Promotions, and OPEmail 179

Chapter 8 Testing Your Talent, Reckoning Your Response, and Managing Your Email 221

Chapter 9 Stories from the Front Line 257

Chapter 10 A Look toward the Future 281

Index 291

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I'm a big believer in email. I firmly believe that for any client, it's got to be part of the marketing mix.
- Cindy Dale, VP, BBDO

You've Got Mail! And so does everybody else. It's everywhere. Web sites may have been the first wonder of the Internet. Banner advertising may have astonished marketing mavens around the world. Streaming media might someday give us the video phones we were promised at the New York World's Fair in 1964.

But the most powerful tool for marketing, the most powerful tool for branding, the most powerful tool for direct response, and the most powerful tool for building customer relationships turns out to be plain old, ordinary email. It's cheap, it's easy, and everybody on the Internet has an address.

Why then is so much of the email you get so bad?

Because it's so cheap and so easy, and reaching everybody on the Internet is as simple as hitting the Send button.

Bad email is the bane of our existence. We hate it because we love our email. A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found 83 percent of Internet users felt email was their primary reason for using the Internet. Given the choice, an overwhelming majority turned down books, radios, and televisions in favor of an Internet connection with email on a desert island.

In their report Opt-in Email Gets Personal Forrester Research (www. forrester. com) said opt-in email "will spread like wildfire." They believe using opt-in email for marketing "will explode" because companies will be lured by high response rates, low costs, and the ease with which any firm, large or small, can get started.

As for wildfires, in an April 1999 Forrester survey of 47 marketing managers 77 percent said email marketing was crucial to their marketing plans, having found it as effective as affiliate programs, but much less expensive. An August 1999 study by IMT Strategies, a research and advisory firm focused on sales and marketing technology trends, preliminarily showed signing people up to receive email announcements sat at the top of their priority list. Why?

IDG List Services (www. idglist. com) provides a succinct answer in their "10 Benefits of Emailing" in the media kit for renting The Industry Standard email list:

Quick Lead Generation. Email has quick output and quick response for lead generation.

Selectivity. Email offers the same list selectivity as traditional list rental.

Media Reinforcement. Email can be an adjunct to any media to quickly reinforce a message, product announcement, seminar date or trade show.

Cost Effective. Email is extremely cost effective on a cost per contact basis for customer acquisition.

Higher Response. Overall responses may be higher as only relevant materials will be sent which assures a more receptive audience to the offer.

Lower Costs. There are no production paper, or postage costs - only the cost of the Email server companies.

Privacy Issues. Subscribers choose to receive Email solicitation through a negative option given upon subscribing. Subscribers are also aware of the source of their name and are always given the choice to opt out. This addresses the privacy issue directly and again assures a responsive audience.

Customer Dialogue. As an interactive medium, Email establishes a dialogue with new and present customers. Repeated messages can create an effective brand awareness or a continued response from and conversation with the customer.

Trackable. Email is also a trackable medium, as you can direct responders to answer through many types of response vehicles.

No Postal Undeliverables. Undeliverables are quickly identified and an effort is made to correct them and resend.

Ask a different research company and you will get a different answer for the average response rate of opt-in email campaigns. Jupiter Communications (www. jup. com) will tell you 5 to 15 percent. Forrester will tell you 14 to 22 percent. Ask a different email marketer and get a different answer. Some are getting only 3 percent and some are getting 40 percent. But they all agree on three things: It's not very expensive, it's not very hard, and it's got a better return on investment than other marketing and advertising techniques.

That would explain why Microsoft sends out more than 20 million email marketing pieces every month.

What Does It Take?

The truth is, a step-by-step approach to email marketing might just be the least expensive, most effective way to reach your audience. Whether you're looking for people to buy a product or service, vote for a candidate, sign a petition, or join a club, email is proving to be cheap, fast, and measurable. Response happens fast online as well. Marketers enjoy having 80 percent of all responses show up within two to three days of distribution.

A step-by-step approach works and the real magic is that you don't have to be a VP of anything or work for a major corporation in order to fund an email marketing effort.

Who Is This Book For?

This book is not for people who are running email servers or writing email system code. This is decidedly not a technical book.

If you have a product or a service to sell, this book is for you.

If you have a product announcement to distribute, this book is for you.

If you have revenue goals to achieve, this book is for you.

If you have excess inventory on hand, this book is for you.

If you have a time-critical or event-oriented sale to make, this book is for you.

If you run your own company out of the spare bedroom of your home and are searching for the best way to reach the most people with the least expense, this book is for you.

If you are a member of a huge team spinning off a brand-new company with millions of dollars to spend on branding and awareness, this book is for you.

If you are the vice president of marketing, the director of promotions, the public relations manager, the marketing communications executive, or any of the people who are responsible for carrying out the plans created by those people, this book is for you.

If you have a master plan for finding new prospects, turning them into customers, building a learning relationship with them, and engaging in some serious customer relationship management to put your theories of lifetime customer value to work, this book is definitely for you.

If you think sending email to everybody on a CD of addresses you bought online for $29.95 is a good way to do marketing, immediately wipe your fingerprints off this book as you put it back on the shelf. This book is not for you!

As the authors of this book, we have paid very close attention to what works and what doesn't. As entrepreneurs and consultants, we have succeeded in the world of Internet marketing by staying far away from what doesn't work. Spam doesn't work. If you agree, you can skip the whole second chapter.

However, if you're faced with a client, a boss, or a board of directors who just don't quite understand why this method is not the best thing since infomercials on late-night cable, then Chapter 2, "Spam: The Email We Love to Hate," can help you help them stay out of trouble - out of trouble with customers, out of trouble with the press, and out of trouble with the law.

Email Is Bigger than You Thought

The January 21, 1999, edition of the Iconocast, an electronic marketing newsletter by Michael Tchong (www. iconocast. com), indicated that marketing is not going to get easier.

It's faster than a speeding bullet. It's able to leap over tall assistants with a single click. It's THE champion for truth, justice and the egalitarian way. Yes, it's email. In 2000, more than 7 trillion emails will be sent in the U. S. alone, up from a "trifling" 4 trillion last year. If you think your inbox is full now, read on! Email is already firmly in second place on the hit parade of communication tools. A remarkable achievement given the fact that the telephone, invented in 1876, preceded email by 96 years (which appeared with Arpanet in 1972). A study by Institute of the Future found that email trails total phone and voicemail use by some 42 messages per day. But unlike the phone, email is also a publishing tool, or one-way medium. And while phone companies scramble for more numbers due to a sharp rise in cell phone use, the email system has had little trouble scaling up to the 263 million email boxes now found worldwide, according to newsletter "Electronic Mail & Messaging Systems."

It's a loser's game to publish a book that states how many people are on the Internet. While the ink is drying, the number of people online is swelling. If you assume there are hundreds of millions of people with Internet access, you are right. If you really need to know, check out one of the sites that tries to keep up with such things:

Nua Surveys: www. nua. ie/ surveys/ how_ many_ online/ index. html

Estats: www. estats. com

AllNetResearch: www. allnetresearch. com

According to Forrester Research, almost 50 percent of the U. S. population will communicate via email by 2001. Quick, check your calendar. To reach all these people and to reach them in a meaningful way, it's very important to understand the finer points of customer consent before you start cranking out the messages.

Permission Email: Opt-out versus Opt-in

A sharp line divides real email marketing and spam. Spam is unsolicited. That means the recipient never asked for it.

Once you start haggling over how a recipient asks, that sharp line starts to blur. There is a difference between opt-in and opt-out. There is a difference between requesting a white paper and agreeing to a lifetime supply of monthly newsletters. There is a difference between sending messages that are well received and messages that spell harassment.

The modern marketer takes acceptable practices on the Internet very seriously. While the differences between spam, opt-in, and opt-out sound like a quarrel over shades of gray and splitting hairs, it's really a question of brand management and customer respect. We'll be up front. We believe in a well-defined, hard line that says opt-in is where it's at. Anything less is asking for trouble.

Anatomy of a Permission Email Campaign

Once the rules of engagement have been laid down, it's time to start planning. Your plan may be a romantic daydream. "Let's send out some emails and see what happens." Or it might be a sophisticated program of analysis, design, and development and a process of rapid, continual improvement.

Create a campaign that has a start, a middle, and ongoing enhancements built in. Don't waste your money - or your time - on ill-conceived efforts that do not add up. Strategy counts. Clear objectives are crucial. You need to plan differently for how you'll use email in different segments of the sale cycle.

A repeatable process of planning the scope, scale, and timing of your campaigns will allow you to create better and better marketing programs, achieve better and better results, and establish better and better relationships with prospects and customers. Crafting a good plan is more than half the battle. It separates the marketers from the master marketers.

Setting Your Sights: Targeting Your Message

The Internet is not a mass medium. It is a medium chock full of tiny niche markets. People gather in small groups of common interest. People choose to sign up for newsletters and announcements about ever more specific subjects. If you're looking to reach Northern Ireland motorcycle enthusiasts, people writing screenplays, or folks using PowerPoint on Macintoshes, they're out there.

Renting an opt-in email list from a major vendor allows you to tightly target your message. Choose the right list, get the best results. The best result is adding new names to your growing database. This is the heart of your marketing program. This is where you are going to make the most of one-to-one marketing and practice electronic customer relationship management. Email marketing is the most effective way to start these relationships and your ability to provide personalization through data mining is the most effective way to ensure customer satisfaction and increase loyalty.

Start with a clear understanding of how list selection works, then make sure you choose a list vendor with the skills, experience, and tracking tools you'll need.

Then all it takes is killer creative.

Writing an Email Masterpiece

There are dozens of books written about writing compelling direct mail. This is the first book to recognize email as a different medium. It's as different from postal mail as Web sites are from printed brochures.

Writing a winning email message requires attention to format and style, of course, but little things suddenly mean a world of difference. What do you put in the Subject: line? Each word makes a critical difference in whether your message is opened at all. Once it's opened, you only have seconds to capture the reader's imagination. You have to grab their attention and keep it.

Deliver value with every email, pay heed to layout, design, and personalization, and you will be rewarded with the most effortless call to action a marketer ever had to offer: Click Here. The success of your campaign has multiple break points. It hinges on whether recipients open the message and whether they click. But it doesn't stop there.

The success of your email marketing campaign is going to depend a great deal on what happens after that click. Do you send them to your homepage? That's a start. How about taking them to a personalized, focused, and carefully crafted landing page to make the sale? Otherwise, you might be leaving them to hunt down that special offer on their own.

E-Newsletters, E-Promotions, Viral Marketing

Reaching out to new customers works very well through email, but the power comes when you start sending out periodical messages to a growing list of interested prospects and customers.

Newsletters keep people informed. They keep your name top-of-mind and they give you a monthly opportunity to sell something. Spend some time formatting your newsletter so it's readable. Make sure your newsletter is a newsletter and not just a sales letter. Make sure it provides value. Then try out a multitude of ways of getting people to subscribe. Encourage them to get others to sign up.

Besides the Company Times, it turns out a lot of people really do like straight sales pitches. What's the next special of the week? What's on sale? What contests or sweepstakes can they win? While these are powerful tools, they can cut both ways. You could end up with a database full of nonqualified nonprospects. Above all, confirming consent is critical. Do it well, and you can move up the chain of customer communication to viral marketing.

Viral marketing is good old word of mouth on steroids. When people can communicate at the speed of light all over the world, marketers have the opportunity to fuel their discussion with something worth repeating. Everything from free email accounts to virtual gift baskets have a way of spreading the word about you in the most credible way of all, because the customer is the one doing the spreading.

Some companies are doing such a good job at viral marketing that they offer advertising space on their email. Newsgroup discussions, email list discussions, reminder services, e-coupons, and e-games are all available for promoting your products and services. You want to use every means possible to bring people to your Web site, where you can give them your brand message, get them to sign up for your newsletter, and sell them.

The smallest change in the way you write your ad can have a huge effect on how they perceive your Web site once they show up, so properly setting expectations and creating a proper context becomes a fine art.

Testing Your Talent, Reckoning Your Response, Managing Your Mail

Do all of your direct marketing pieces fit into a standard number 10 envelope? Or do you use a straight postcard? Or do you go for the threefold, four-color glossy with a perforated business reply card? Maybe you're willing to try a combination. Email may seem tame by comparison, but there are still a variety of choices, and not all of them work in all cases. The only way you're going to know if a particular message, formatted in a particular way and with a particular subject line, is going to work on a particular audience is to test it.

The number of testing variables is daunting. What? In plain, old, boring email? If you're producing a television commercial, the variables are astronomical. So much so, that testing everything is actually impossible. What if the actress were wearing a green dress instead of blue? What if there were clouds in the sky? What if the kid next door walked by and looked longingly at the new product in her neighbor's yard?

But with email, the testing is very possible. Daunting, but possible. Just be aware of the various variables, and set up systems so you can isolate those variables and record them properly.

Analyzing the response from each trail takes skill, patience, and a little help from the technical side. How many people actually opened the email? How many clicked on the link? How many made it all the way to the landing page without bailing out? How many made it all the way to checkout with a full shopping cart? How many of them had a question or two for you along the way?

A complete email marketing plan means being completely ready to answer questions and solve problems. They'll contact you about the trouble they encounter on your site. They'll want to know if they can exchange the sweepstakes prize if they win. They'll want to know if they can get a discount by buying in bulk. They are your customers. Be ready to roll out the red email carpet and treat them like the valued customers they are.

Stories from the Front Lines

Theory and practice are often different. We present logical reasons for our advice and we back it up with research where available, but there's just nothing like getting the word from the horse's mouth.

The industry is young. The stories are rare. Those who are doing very well are anxious that their secret marketing weapon not be shared with too many others, and those who are not doing it well are keeping their heads down. But a few brave souls are willing to share what they have experienced and we're all better off for their generosity.

A Look toward the Future

This industry is in its infancy and just learning to walk without falling down too many times. Soon, its legs will be stronger, its balance more keenly developed, and it will break into a run.

There are a number of possibilities on the horizon. Some of these trends are obvious: Email will grow as a communication tool; personalization databases will get more precise; digital signatures will allow us to include more transitive content. Other trends can only be guessed at. We took our best shot.

What's Your Take?

We invite you to participate in the development of this industry. Come to www. yesmail. com/ book. html and share what you learn along the way. There are not many of us today and we can all use your help.

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