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Each of our newsletters is a separate
opt-in plus we have a general opt-in
for those that want a variety of emails.
Aside from the newsletters and general
opt-in category, we also have various
lifestyle characteristics the audience
can opt-in to. So inside of our main
database, we have built mini databases.
These mini databases help us send our
emails to the group that best matches
the content. Paying attention to the
content, number of emails we send out
and the subject line is also important
in trying to overcome these obstacles.
What are some of the other chal-
lenges you face in the email mar-
keting arena? I'm guessing that the flip
side of this coin is the advantage of
your trusted brand -- how significant
Our brand plays a part in our suc-
cess due to our established reputa-
tion as Elkhart County's #1 news source,
but it will only get us so far. We have
to provide content the audience wants
and make everything we put out look
great! We found that the open rates for
our client emails were higher when the
email looked like it came directly from
the merchant. At the bottom it says,
"Brought to you by The Elkhart Truth"
with an opt-out link.
Our biggest challenge is limiting
the number of opt-outs. We know our
content will not appeal to everyone and
opt-outs are inevitable. We are trying
to figure out what we can do to entice
people to wait and see if the next email
will be more appealing.
We consider ourselves still in the
infancy stage of this program since
we have only been selling emails since
May. We realize we have a lot of work
to do to shape this program into what
we want it to become. So while we
love speaking about our success thus
far, we welcome feedback from other
properties that have found success in
their own email marketing program.
Let's talk about sales & revenue.
How do you market your email
direct marketing solutions? Can you
give us a profile of a 'best' customer for
these services? And, can you share how
much you charge? Revenue? Trends?
Our advertising department sells
both print and multimedia prod-
ucts, which include the emails as a stan-
dard upsell. All client proposals now
include a digital component. Recently,
the sales team began presenting the
emails as a standalone product and will
continue to do so. A digital presentation
is also made to any employer who puts
a classified ad in the paper.
Through selling emails, we have
found there is not a "best" customer for
our services. If the content is there and
the offer is strong, any merchant is a
prime candidate for an email campaign.
Some do work better than others, but
we have been surprised at new cat-
egories that have opened. Restaurants,
for example, have not traditionally
been a big category for us but email
has expanded it. For example, a local
restaurant offered a BOGOF in their
email. There were no seats available
the first day the offer was valid.
We talked with Presslaff and every
newspaper we could to get an idea of
a good pricing structure. Pricing is
hard to determine because there are
so many factors. After much research,
our emails were sold at $12 CPM with
an additional $5 CPM for each level of
targeting desired. Geographic, demo-
graphic and lifestyle targeting are avail-
able. We recently raised our prices and
are anxiously waiting to see if it will
affect sales. Our email revenue for 2012
has exceeded $40,000 and we look for
that number to really grow in 2013.
What are considered 'good results'
with email marketing and how do
you manage customer expecta-
tions? Can you also share an example
or two of successful campaigns with
Many of our clients are so new to
email marketing that they do not
know what to expect. Since we sell
based on cost per thousand, I think
it is hard for us to define what exactly
good results are. I like to see an open
rate above 5%, which most of our
client emails achieve. We are working
on developing standards so we can
better measure if a campaign was suc-
cessful or not.
Our open rates vary depending on
the type of email sent and the content.
The average open rate is 8.95% across
the board. For our newsletters, the aver-
age open rate is 30%. Client open rates
are typically anywhere from 7%-15%
depending on various factors.
Stephenson's, a local women's bou-
tique, wanted to test the validity of
our email program. In one email, the
owner included an offer for a free pair
of designer sunglasses, which was not
advertised anywhere else. The number
of sunglasses ordered was not dis-
closed, but the sunglasses were gone
after only a few hours and rain checks
were written the rest of the day. The
business has added dozens and dozens
of new customers to its in-house list.
Can you please elaborate on the
services you receive from Presslaff
Interactive, the R&D partner you men-
We use Dat-e-Base, which is an
email marketing program from
Presslaff Interactive Revenue. It is the
home of our email addresses and the
vehicle for our newsletters, contests,
surveys and client email campaigns. In
May, Presslaff introduced Circulation
Emails where we send various emails
to our print subscribers. Emails include
a Thank You & Confirmation for new
subscribers, Pre-Expire emails three
times before a subscription expires and
a Post-Expire email after the subscrip-
tion has officially expired.
Though we use Presslaff as our data-
base vendor, most of the work is done
in-house. All emails start with me and
move to our graphics department. The
graphic artists create the emails and
partner with the sales reps to ensure
strong content and client satisfaction.
I then schedule the emails, set the
necessary filters and track the open
rate, click-through rates, etc. Presslaff
takes care of scrubbing the database for
invalid email addresses or data.
What lies ahead for continued
growth of this program, both in
terms of database and monetization?
We will continue to grow the data-
base any way we can. Contests,
surveys and special email campaigns
will continue to be our main source
for new email addresses, but we will
continuously look for new touch points.
Monetization will also continue to
grow. We expect our digital revenue to
grow significantly in 2013 with email
being a large piece of the pie. We are
currently running a special Holiday
Savings campaign. Our title sponsor
offered a $500 shopping spree for a
random winner and more than 35
merchants are participating. We are
not done with this promotion and it
has already generated thousands in
Two of our sister firms recently
started selling emails from our database
and are in the process of establishing
their own databases. Once their data-
bases are live, we will be able to sell
into them as they have sold into ours.
Finally, with the benefit of your
immersion into this universe,
you no doubt have some hindsight
wisdom about the do's and don'ts of
email marketing practices. Can you
share some tips for others who are
investing time, energy and resources
into building their own program?
Pitfalls to avoid?
First, research your market and its
openness to email, your competi-
tion and various pricing structures, lay-
outs, etc. Next, get everyone on board
and included in discussions prior to
launch. Good ideas can come from
anywhere. This also keeps everyone on
the same page throughout. Talk to as
many people as you can, participate in
webinars and having a fabulous R&D
partner doesn't hurt either.
Avoid having only one person build
your emails. Have multiple people
trained and ready for when your pro-
gram takes off. We should have done
this from the beginning.
Anticipate possible tweaks to your
pricing structure. We priced our emails
fairly low and realized we could have
been charging more. We should have
started higher and come down if neces-
sary. Also, come up with a system and
a schedule for your emails. This will
make it easier once multiple clients
are on board.
Q&A: E-mail Marketing Going Strong and Growing
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 3
Contests such as this one have proven to be an excellent means of gathering e-mail
addresses to grow their database.
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