WhatCounts White Paper - Mailing to Millions

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There's no reason overseeing and managing a million-plus subscriber email database should be a discombobulated and overbearing task. Start being an effective email marketer by creating a plan, brushing up on your skills, and cleaning house. Implementing these six simple tweaks will go a long way towards maximizing the return, response, and revenue from your email program.

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WhatCounts White Paper - Mailing to Millions

  1. 1. MAILING TO MILLIONSSix Best Practices to Get Maximum Return & Revenue from YourMillion-Plus Email Database
  2. 2. MAILING TO MILLIONSMAILING TO MILLIONSSIX BEST PRACTICES TO GET MAXIMUM RETURN &REVENUE FROM YOUR MILLION-PLUS EMAIL DATABASEThere’s no reason overseeing and managing a million-plus subscriber email databaseshould be a discombobulated and overbearing task. Start being an effective emailmarketer by creating a plan, brushing up on your skills, and cleaning house.Implementing these six simple tweaks will go a long way towards maximizing thereturn, response, and revenue from your email program.HAVE A PLAN WITH THE BIG PICTURE IN MINDA larger list usually equates to more attention, expectations, and effort. Use your data,and leverage your staff, executive sponsor, and your email service provider to create aroadmap to success. Get buy-in from above and across other business channels, andshare your goals and objectives across the board. Set up weekly, monthly, and quarterlyreporting on your campaigns and perform regular assessments of your program toensure all efforts are working towards achieving the desired results. Make sure your plan is sustainable. Beware the batch “Beware the batch and blast and blast mentality (always think, how would I react mentality. Always think, how if I received this?), think strategically, targeted, and would I react if I received this?” don’t forget about delivery! Email marketing programs that perform the best do not sacrifice long- term profitability for short-term return. Keep your focus narrowed, consistent, and report on what’s relevant.Copyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 2All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.com Atlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.com
  3. 3. MAILING TO MILLIONSKNOW YOUR PLATFORMIt is crucial that you and your team have a better than average understanding of thecapabilities of your email service provider, especially with a large database. You don’tneed to be an expert, but you should feel right at home navigating through the system,understand its reporting, and know if it can support your ambitions.Make sure your corporate language maps to what your email service is reporting, and ifyour language does differ, make sure you can translate! If a brush up on your system isneeded, or you just aren’t quite sure about a function, contact your provider.GET YOUR DATABASE ORGANIZEDChances are, your database is multi-faceted, with multiple subscriber lists, templates,reports, and segmentation rules that make finding anything a chore. What’s worse, thesecountless variables make the chance of errors on deployment high.The best-run email programs are those that organize by vertical or marketing effort.Create folders for different groups and name them something that clearly spells outwhat’s stored there (keep it simple!), and then migrate everything to their new homes. If you have lists within lists, campaigns within “The best-run email programs campaigns, or old reports for which you’ve forgotten are those that organize by the details or context, create sub-folders for each (for vertical or marketing effort.” your old and irrelevant items, move them out of sight, and out of mind, by creating archive subfolders). This linear approach will make finding a list or template to edit, or campaign to deploy, that much easier.Copyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 3All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.com Atlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.com
  4. 4. MAILING TO MILLIONSHere is an example of how you could organize one vertical:STANDARDIZE EVERYTHINGBuilding on what we’ve already discussed, a large database means lots of opportunitiesto create interesting ways to name things, but also provides ample opportunity forhuman error. Standardize your naming convention for everything. Avoid complex, orlong and drawn out titles like, “marketing_customer1_campaign1_ddmmyy.” Yourdesign objective for naming should be that anyone can look at the title and figure out itspurpose. Keep it simple, but relevant to the material.Don’t bother going back and renaming all your prior data, as it would cause confusionwhen accessing older information, and make sure you manage to the changes you’vemade. Leverage your partnership with your internet service provider (ISP) to ensureyou’re operating as efficiently as possible. Use their knowledge to help you automateprocesses where you can. Grant system access only to relevant parties, and ensureappropriate user rights and restrictions are enforced. Keep close tabs on who can editcontent, subscriber information, run reporting, and push the send button. The last twoare critical, as you want to make sure your data reflects the goals you’ve outlined. Youcertainly don’t want just anyone to have the capability to deploy campaigns, do you?Copyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 4All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.com Atlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.com
  5. 5. MAILING TO MILLIONSThe best large-volume email programs clearly define who does what, when, how, andwho backs each functional owner up for each vertical.DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENTThere are always a lot of moving pieces to large-volume email campaign operations, andtherefore exceptional communication and documentation is necessary to ensureeverything performs effectively and successfully. Document clearly what your standardsare, make them known, and easily accessible to all vested parties. Your documentationshould also include staff, their responsibilities, automated processes, “how to”instructions, and who(m) to contact in the event of an issue. Those with the largest (andgrowing) lists and lowest subscriber churn percentage realize how important having anoutstanding knowledge base is to their success. Questions are answered, information isreadily available, and accountability is at hand.KNOW YOUR SUBSCRIBERS Last but certainly not least, your mentality and “Report on what’s relevant, but treatment of a million plus subscriber email database track everything, as you never should be no different than the mentality and know where that next trend treatment of a subscriber base of one hundred. All lies.” your efforts will be lost if you’re not cognizant of this fact, with constant monitoring of your subscriber’s reactions to your campaigns to keep this in check.Report on what’s relevant, but track everything, as you never know where that nexttrend lies. Target your base and send them only relevant offers or information. If you’vebeen tracking everything, you can easily look into your subscriber’s habits by reviewingtheir opens (total and unique) and clicks. Look for highest open rates by subject line,Copyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 5All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.com Atlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.com
  6. 6. MAILING TO MILLIONSclicks by offer, and open-to-click ratio by campaign. Use this information to segmentyour database and build marketing campaigns that make sense.Test your ideas on a large enough percentage to ensure an adequate amount of relevantdata is collected to secure confidence in a new initiative and executive buy off. There’sno real “right” percentage of your base to test, however, feedback from email marketingmanagers at large organizations say anywhere from 10% to 20% is sufficient.Also work with whoever is responsible for monitoring visitor engagement andconversion on your site, and look for improvement opportunities here. Offer subscribersthe opportunity to control mailing frequency through a preference center, and segmentinactive subscribers (those 6 months or older) into reengagement campaigns.Both of these efforts will help you maintain a positive reputation and enhance thedeliverability of your campaigns.RESULTS FROM IMPLEMENTATIONImplementing these six steps to success does not have to be a complicated matter. Asone large organization proves, there are simple measures that can be taken that can putyou on the path to executing the six steps, and make a significant impact to your bottomline. This company had not, historically, paid much attention to its email marketingprogram, however, their new management had different ideas. Recognizing that theirdatabase of an estimated 3 million subscribers was an asset with significant revenuepotential, they developed a plan centered on improving organization, campaignmanagement, and production, i.e., the big picture. The case presented to the executivelevel detailed how purchasing a project management tool could help them organize theiroperations, standardize their processes, and free up staff time to focus on more targetingand testing. The executive team signed off, and the tool was added to their arsenal.Copyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 6All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.com Atlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.com
  7. 7. MAILING TO MILLIONSAfter a year, the team was pleased to learn that this simple tool had rewarded them byreducing a campaign’s production time by one third.In addition, with their new found “free time,” the email team was able to launch 5lifecycle marketing programs, which netted a 40% increase to site visits and a 65% year-over-year lift in revenue. The minor investment in an organizational andstandardization tool freed up enough resources to get to know their subscribers a littlemore, and lifted their program to new heights.So, are you and your program ready to take the first step?The solutions are there for the taking.Copyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 7All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.com Atlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.com
  8. 8. MAILING TO MILLIONSABOUT US WhatCounts, a private Atlanta-based company founded in 2000, is a leading email technology innovator offering a fully integrated lifecycle marketing platform supporting dynamic and targeted content delivery, robust segmentation, API and transactional capabilities as well as integrated video and social media tools. WhatCounts offers deliverability management, strategic coaching, best practices benchmarking, CRM integration and advanced analytics facilitating ROI maximization. The robust WhatCounts platform is delivered as a hosted Web-based SaaS application and as part of the unique Broadcaster on-premise appliance line. WHATCOUNTS, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Telephone: 404.995.8600 Suite 900 Toll Free: 866.804.0076 Atlanta, GA 30326 Fax: 404.995.8611 www.whatcounts.com Email: sales@whatcounts.com ATLANTA • BALTIMORE • CHICAGO • SEATTLE • SYDNEY • WASHINGTON DCCopyright © 2012 WhatCounts, Inc. 3630 Peachtree Rd. Toll Free: 1.866.804.0076 8All Rights Reserved. Suite 900 Email: sales@whatcounts.com Atlanta, GA 30326 Website: www.whatcounts.com

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