ATLANTA, May 9, 2006 -- A new study conducted by Silverpop found that many email marketers are planning to implement list growth tactics that others say didn't work very well.
Findings from Silverpop's "2006 Email List Growth Survey" were announced at DMA's Annual Conference for Catalog and Multichannel Merchants. Surveys regarding list growth were completed by a select group of 321 companies around the world. The survey asked what methods marketers use to grow their lists and which were most successful. Marketers were also asked which methods they plan to implement in the next 12 months.
"All elements of sophisticated email marketing - segmentation, personalization, dynamic content, lifestyle marketing and more - depend upon the quantity and quality of the email list," said Elaine O'Gorman, vice president of strategy for Silverpop. "But growing email lists is difficult. Many marketers rank the task as their top challenge."
According to key findings from Silverpop's "2006 Email List Growth Survey," it's little wonder marketers struggle with list growth. The study found that the tactics email marketers say they plan to implement in the next 12 months aren't necessarily those that others deem very successful. For example, while 24 percent of respondents said they plan to implement a viral marketing campaign, only 10 percent said such actions were very successful.
"Certainly a successful viral email campaign is a marketer's dream," O'Gorman said. "Your current customers find your products or services so valuable that they electronically ‘recommend' them to a friend."
She cautioned, however, that making a viral campaign work takes a great deal of effort that includes the absolutely right product offered to an audience targeted with laser-like accuracy. Additionally, the FTC has suggested certain requirements around programs that offer incentives to forward information to a friend. Messages should be sent not directly from one recipient to another but through the company's servers to allow for removal of names on suppression lists.
Another list growth method planned by 15 percent of survey respondents - appending email addresses to their customer lists - found enthusiastic support from only 4 percent of those who had tried this tactic.
"It's generally wise to proceed cautiously with email appends," O'Gorman said. "The quality of the data sources varies considerably among suppliers, and can vary significantly based on the type of audience you mail to as well. A bad match can put your brand in a very poor light"
Adding cross-promotions to email marketing programs is planned by 18 percent of marketers, but only one in 10 who used that tactic ranked it as very successful. O'Gorman said cross-promotions should only be undertaken when there is an obvious connection to the promotions partner.
"Cross-promotions are useful when introducing complementary products," O'Gorman said. "But the wider the gap you ask your recipients to cross, the more likely you are to have drop-off in performance.
"Ultimately, there should be no doubt that adding names to email lists is becoming increasingly difficult," O'Gorman continued. "Not every method will work for every company. However, a good starting point to help evaluate new methods to consider should be the tactics found to be successful by survey respondents."
To download a report outlining the complete results of Silverpop's "2006 List Growth Survey," visit www.silverpop.com.