The Art of Email Acquisition

Okay maybe art is a stretch, maybe industry standard practices better describes it, but art just sounds a whole lot less stodgy. There Email Acquisitiondoes seem to be some gaps in knowledge when it comes to proven email acquisition strategies though.

So let’s refresh our memories with two email acquisition strategies that will first build more value with the customers and contacts you already have and secondly help you reach out to prospects who have the same demographic make-up of your existing customers.

Add Email to Existing Customers

This works with your existing data, commonly known is Email Append and Email Change of Address.

Many of you I am sure are already familiar with Email Append where an email is matched to the name and postal address of customers and contacts already within your database.  Typically this can add a deliverable email to 15 – 20% of your file.

Email Change of Address is similar to email append in that it returns a deliverable email based on a match to name and address. The difference is that it is used to replace emails you have for customers and contacts that are no longer deliverable and those that are no longer responsive.  Think of it as move update for email.  Generally Email Change of Address will help you re-engage to 10 – 20% of your customers and contacts.

Keys to a successful email append or email change of address projects are:

  •  A large opt-in database where each record contains Name Address, time, date stamp and URL of opt-in. And where the privacy policy at the opt-in point clearly states the use of the data for third party communications. This is important for CAN-SPAM compliance..
  •  Accurate matching at either the Individual or Household level. Address only matching is not acceptable. Also pre-testing of your database with a match test to confirm expected results and set proper expectations.
  • The sending of an initial permission letter both in a text and html version on your behalf confirming permission for future communications and allowing those who do not wish to hear from you via email the opportunity to opt-out.
  • Lastly and perhaps most importantly a strategy for special email communications to this new group of emails in your list to bring them up to speed with the offers and communications you are already sending to your house list.

The Cliff Notes

So to review, the keys to success are:

  1. Large well maintained Opt-in Database
  2. Accurate matching at Individual and Household level
  3. No charge testing of data
  4. Deployment of the Permission Letter
  5. Marketing plan for maximizing new appended data

The New Prospects

The second strategy that reaches out to new prospects in an effort to bring them on as new subscribers and in time hopefully new customers is Email List Rental. Email List Rental allows you to select from an opt-in email database by demographics and interest codes, those prospects that most closely resemble your existing customers. Your offer is then sent on your behalf and all those who respond to your offer become new subscribers and potential customers.

Keys to a successful Email List Rental campaign are:

  • Like Email Append and ECOA opt-in data is critical. The list members have explicitly opted in for third-party email from your list provider. Again CAN-SPAM compliance is paramount.
  • The list is selectable by the key demographics you have identified as your best customers. For some mailings, a simple selection by age, income, household income or home-ownership are all that’s required. On the other hand, if you wish to more precisely target the perfect customer, you may wish to narrow your selection by adding additional demographic characteristics. If you install fencing for example, I have seen great success in selecting homeowners with children and/or pets. If your product or service is related to fitness or health food, you can identify people who have expressed interest in one or more subscriptions to a health or fitness magazine.
  • The list has the quantity of names and geographical coverage that meets your needs. You should mail a quantity that your resources will allow you to properly follow up with multiple additional touches by email. In the email channel, it is common marketing knowledge that a person must see your message up to 7 times before acting on it. This means that, while broadcasting once to an email list is absolutely a step in the right direction, once simply isn’t enough. The real returns arrive down the road, when you have broadcasted multiple times.
  • A/B Split testing is available. This allows for comparing important variables like Subject Line and the offer or call to action. Then sending the best performing email going forward to maximize the return on your investment.
  • And lastly reporting. Your email list rental provider should provide comprehensive post campaign reporting. This report will include total emails delivered, total and unique opens, total and unique clicks and a breakdown of clicks by the URL or link within your email.

More Cliff Notes

So again the keys to success for email list rental are:

  1. Large well maintained Opt-in Database
  2. Highly selectable list
  3. Sufficient quantity of data and resources for multiple sends
  4. A/B Split testing
  5. Complete reporting

So instead of rushing forward to the latest and greatest techniques take a look at all that acquisition standards have to offer and be sure you have the basics down for your email acquisition strategy. You won’t be disappointed.

By: Don Monell (
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