Speaking with new and current publisher clients at ividence, one of the most common concerns we hear is, “How will this affect how subscribers view my company?”
This is a great question, and we love to hear it! We wanted to give this topic some attention on our blog, Hitting the Target.
Publishers who ask this understand both the value of email marketing and the importance of respecting subscribers. The inbox is one of those rare places where customers’ trusted brands sit alongside trusted friends. As a result, list owners are justifiably wary of allowing someone else to send to their list.
However, done right, acquisition email brings in added revenue while maintaining the integrity and trust that your subscribers place in you. Here are the top reasons to consider including acquisition email in your revenue strategy (and tips on how to handle it properly):
Easily tap into a new revenue stream using skills you already have. If you already have an email list, sending a new type of email (one created and designed by an advertiser) to the list is relatively simple. You don’t need to find space for a new ad unit, create a new product to sell and promote, or invest in new software or staff to deploy the messages.
You also double your return on the maintenance of the list’s health. Deliverability and data-gathering efforts will improve performance and revenue for acquisition campaigns. Acquisition emails can even strengthen your list by preventing long gaps in messages from your brand, during which subscribers may forget they signed up to receive your emails.
Marketers plan to increase their spend in email this year. According to MarketingSherpa’s 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report, 67% of marketers plan to increase their overall email marketing budget this year (with only 3% planning to decrease spending). This represents a clear shift toward a medium with a long history of success.
Open your list to acquisition campaigns in a responsible way, and you can gain a new revenue stream and take advantage of this market shift to acquire new and trusted advertising clients.
Using a one-to-one communication channel improves value for everyone. Because of the personal nature of email, you can target communications and send only relevant ads to each subscriber. This way, you unlock the full value by creating several niche lists out of one larger list.
On the flip side, advertisers send their message only to their target market with minimal waste, and subscribers receive only offers that make sense for them. Everyone can benefit from the interaction if the process is handled correctly.
Here’s how to do it right. As profitable as acquisition email can be, it’s not sustainable if you don’t approach it with your subscriber in mind. You can bring the same set of standards to acquisition email that you use in your retention campaigns:
- Honesty: Sender information should include both your company’s brand (one that the subscriber will recognize) and the name of the advertiser. This reduces spam complaints and maintains the trust you have built with subscribers.
- Value: Ensure emails add value by sending highly targeted ads from high-quality advertisers. Behavioral targeting, in particular, reacts to what a consumer has previously responded to. Demographic and geographic targeting can also help narrow in on the best audience.
- Respect: Just like with retention, only email people who have given you permission to do so. You should also make it easy to unsubscribe or to reduce email frequency.
- Control: Never (ever) hand over your list to an advertiser. You should be able to approve or reject any email that goes to your list.
- Clarity: Be upfront with your subscribers at the beginning of each message in your acquisition email header. For example, “You subscribed to our list. Our services are free, and paid for by ads. We make our best effort to send you as few as possible, with the most relevancy. You can opt-out in one click at the bottom of this email, and it will be effective immediately. We promise!”
Get the right strategy: Acquisition email can be a great way to generate revenue for publishers, but it’s not easy to get everything right. You may choose to do it internally (which can be costly), to use a list manager (which can lack transparency), or to explore new paths like what ividence offers.
What other tips have you found for doing acquisition email right?