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Retarget Acquired: 5 Ways to Target the Right People With the Right Digital Marketing

June 16th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Email, Marketing, Website

Marketers often treat random website visitors as “anonymous,” but they’re not. In fact, every computer that visits your site is individually identified by its IP address. Every anonymous email has the potential to be reversed. And when you employ digital marketing identification and validation tools with your targeting data, you can do some amazing things.

1. Identify Hashed Email Addresses

Not all email addresses come in easy-to-read packages. Some are “hashed” — encrypted using a hexadecimal key that returns a string of numbers, but keeps the original email address private. This can be an essential step in ensuring the privacy of your audience data, but at some point you need to actually use the information in your targeting.

If you can identify consumers through their hashed emails, you can match them back to profiles in your database and continue to treat those hashed emails with the same personalized marketing as openly logged-in customers.

2. Email Validation

Sometimes, even the non-hashed emails are difficult to work with. Who knows how long ago that customer registered with you, or if the person used their regular email address or a fake. Since emailing bad addresses can lead to serious spam issues, not to mention wasted email, being able to validate those addresses on the fly is essential.

There are five essential types of errors you should validate against:

  • Email Correction: Misspellings and typos should be caught and corrected.
  • Syntax Checker: Invalid email formats should be identified and corrected where possible.
  • Spam Suppression: Keep known spam traps, honeypot addresses and complainers off your list.
  • Mailbox Check: Check if your messages to each mailbox are being delivered, or if they’re hard bouncing or soft bouncing.
  • Global Domain Check: Confirm up-to-date, accurate status of all email domains, so you’re not mailing to a honeypot.

3. Digital Identity Validation

Again, digital visitors are not as anonymous as you might think. You can install a layer of validation at the conversion point to empower your lead validation and fraud prevention initiatives.

These checks allow you to quickly verify online information to determine eligibility for an offer, validity of a transaction or identification of multi-channel contact information. For example, you can choose to validate data in an online contact form or at point-of-sale to further protect your business interests. Verify name, address, telephone number, email address or a combination of input data for optimal online fraud prevention.

4. E-append and Reverse Append

Unfortunately, many customers will not update their profile with you when they have a change of email address, physical address or other life event. So how can you stay up to date on the prodigal customer?

E-append is a data service that allows you to add email addresses to the data you have on current customers or prospects. A flexible matching algorithm allows you to not only find other email addresses they use, but logically choose which email address is best for your company to continue using.

Likewise, reverse append services allow you to append real-world data to people you may only know as email addresses. This allows you to target those consumers in direct mail and telemarketing campaigns. It can also provide a wealth of other demographic and targeting data for you to further refine the messages they’re getting, and where they get them.

5. IP Recognition and Retargeting

As mentioned above, every computer has a unique IP address. Recognizing and tracking those visitors may help you to increase your digital conversion rates by identifying behavior in real-time, based on the IP address. It’s really straightforward to find this information.  Use a simple web analytics solution that captures visitor data in parallel with IP addresses. Something inexpensive and simple like Clicky.com will get the job done. That information can be used in conjunction with a retargeting partner to serve targeted ads as the visitor IP appears on various other websites.

In some instances it may be possible to capture and append multi-channel contact, behavioral and lifestyle information to IP addresses of online visitors. Use this information to immediately personalize the consumer’s online experience, create personalized retargeting campaigns beyond your website, or identify and append alternative contact information to their record, including name, postal address, phone numbers and email addresses.

http://brianlacy.com/marketing-and-communication#e-mail-appending

http://brianlacy.com/data-and-wealth#data-services

By Infutor
April 19, 2016
Target Marketing Magazine

Gmail’s New ‘Block,’ ‘Unsubscribe’ Buttons

November 27th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email, Marketing, Social Media

Email marketers trying to reach the coveted Gmail inbox are going to have to work a little harder and a lot smarter. On Tuesday, Gmail debuted “block” buttons and this week Android users will see the “unsubscribe” option available in their apps for unwanted email.

“Sometimes you get mail from someone who’s really disruptive,” writes Sri Harsha Somanchi, product manager, in a Tuesday post on the Official Gmail Blog. “Hopefully it doesn’t happen often — but when it does, you should be able to say, ‘Never see messages from this person again.’ That’s why you can now block specific email addresses in Gmail — starting today on the Web, and over the next week on Android. Future mail will go to the spam folder (and you can always unblock in Settings).”

By Thursday, Jess Nelson published five tips on MediaPost for marketers who need to become more Gmail-friendly. “Marketing Tips: Avoiding Gmail’s New Block Button” says marketers can:

  • Provide Relevant Content. Marketing thought leaders have been beating this drum for awhile, but now it’s — ahem — more relevant to them to be clear and concise for recipients.
  • Communicate Only to Recipients Who Have Requested It. Opt-in lists sound good, no?
  • Make the Unsubscribe Process Easy. Make this button easy to find—not buried at the bottom of the message. [Editor’s note: In a seemingly useless metric to many direct marketers, Nelson’s piece says an unsubscribe in a marketer’s message also counts as a click. Well, yes, but … perhaps it’s better to think of it as not being reported as spam. A deliverability and reputation enhancement, rather than a click.]
  • Reputation Matters. This is where Nelson says spam complaints can ruin a sender’s reputation.
  • Study, Learn and Grow. Studying “block” and “unsubscribe” statistics can also help marketers understand which content resonates with recipients and which content ends up being what Somanchi terms “disruptive.”
By Heather Fletcher

Are Your Emails Reaching the Inbox?

November 9th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email, Fundraising

Every year, ReturnPath publishes the Deliverability Benchmark Report, which is the analysis of inbox placement rates. The 2015 report has just come out and deliverability trends are a tad worrisome.

This year’s report opens with the following statement:

“Marketers have spent years honing their email expertise, refining their strategies and improving their campaigns. For most marketers today, email is a given—the workhorse and often the foundation of their digital marketing program. And yet, our research shows that reaching the inbox is more difficult than ever. Worldwide inbox placement rates are dropping, with one in five commercial emails now failing to reach the inbox.”

This is especially important to understand considering email volume is up another 7 percent this year from 2014 (16 percent since 2013). In other words, there are more and more emails and fewer of them are reaching the inbox.

Want some more tough news? The largest drop in deliverability—the highest drop anywhere in the world—is in the U.S. In 2014, reaching the inbox in the U.S. was measured at 87 percent, and in 2015, we have dropped to 76 percent. Not reaching the inbox means it is reported as spam or “disappears,” which means the mailbox provider most likely blocked it.

With that said, the report also provided some stats by industry. Unfortunately, we cannot see the breakout of nonprofits in the U.S., but when all nonprofits are viewed globally, the change from 2014 to 2015 is only 1 point—from 90 percent to 89 percent. Either way, what is clear is that deliverability in the U.S. is more challenged than anywhere else in the world and that is going to affect everyone—even nonprofits.

There are several practices that a nonprofit (or anyone, really) can use to help offset what is happening in most American inboxes. Ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you keeping your list clean? Do you do regular maintenance on the list? Are you removing bad email addresses? Are you scrubbing your list after the bounces happen with a campaign? As emails are brought into your database, are you screening them for proper email structure (@, .XXX, etc.)? Make sure you are doing everything you can do to keep your list clean.
  2. Are you structuring your annual email campaigns with your best email consumers in mind? In other words, are you taking the time to plan your communication schedule for people who regularly open and respond versus those who rarely open and respond? If you are still marketing to one segment (meaning everyone who has an email), this will continue to upset constituents and hurt your deliverability. Start looking at your email constituents by traditional performance metrics—how often are they opening emails, which emails are they opening, etc.
  3. How relevant are your emails? I know everyone thinks that word is overused, so I don’t care if you call it something else—just make sure your information is in line with what your email constituents want from you. There are multiple ways to do this: look at their behaviors and where (i.e., topics, subjects) they are clicking on in previous emails; review how your email constituents originally signed up to receive your emails; track what emails they are opening (or not), etc. And don’t forget that you can always ask them. This is a great way to ask for overall feedback from your constituents.

Have you tracked deliverability of your emails year-over-year—or even across differently themed campaigns? If not, that’s the first step.

NonProfit PRO Magazine

 

Making Sense of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

October 15th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Canada, Email

Canadian sales professionals are confused and frustrated. Rightfully so. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is guiding marketers, while neglecting to help sellers understand and adapt to the law’s new consequences.

So, beware: The Canadian Anti-spam Legislation (CASL) does limit your ability to “cold email” prospects.

That said, there seems to be two workarounds for B-to-B sellers that don’t bend the rules:

  • Use LinkedIn InMail, where users have already given their consent to receive your message and/or
  • approach prospects with messages that do not encourage participation in a commercial activity.

Preface: I’m not a lawyer and you should consider your lawyer’s advice. Unfortunately, the law truly is confusing from a sales person’s perspective. That said …

What CASL Is (and Is Not)
What is clear is the CASL’s intention: To reduce unwanted, un-solicited email being sent by marketers. The Canadian government wants to lower the quantity of commercial electronic messages that are unwanted — yet being received — by customers or potential customers.

Got it. And CASL puts power into customers’ hands.

CASL is not an attempt to limit the ability of businesses to develop new accounts using email messages. Heh. Not intentionally so.

According to the CASL website:

“To send a commercial electronic message to an electronic address, you need to have the recipient’s consent, to identify yourself, to offer an unsubscribe mechanism and to be truthful.”

This is not terribly new. Yet many of my clients are confused. Rightfully. They’re putting a lot (too much) focus on the consent piece. If you look at recent lawsuits and settlements, notice how obtaining consent is not a focal point.

So, how much does earning consent to email someone “cold” matter?

Do You Have Implied Consent?
No. But LinkedIn has better: Explicit consent. And it’s “shareable” with you.

The main issue here is consent — getting it from prospects. Well, there are two flavors of what the CASL calls valid consent:

Express and implied.

Express means you have written or oral permission. Simple. You don’t have express consent. But you do have access to your prospects’ express consent when using LinkedIn InMail. That’s because your prospects’ consent is passed to you via LinkedIn’s Terms & Conditions.

LinkedIn InMail Is a Safe Option
After CASL took effect, LinkedIn InMail has become more valuable to Canadian sellers who need to make contact with potential new buyers. Yes, it’s expensive, but it may be worth considering.

Messages sent through LinkedIn have been pre-approved by the recipient. Because InMail is optional for LinkedIn users, this means users can opt-out — thus removing their consent. (See section 2.5 Messages & Sharing of LinkedIn’s user agreement)

InMail users are (so far as I can see) CASL compliant. So long as you obey the wishes of the recipient by classifying the type of message he or she is interested in receiving (“business deals,” “reference requests,” expertise requests,” etc.) and as long as the user has elected to receive InMail.

Can You Earn Implied Consent Without Buying InMail?
Possibly. A seller’s first-touch (cold) email falls under implied consent when both:

  • The email address was obtained in a way that discloses the address without restriction (it was “conspicuously published or sent to you”), and
  • your message relates to the recipient’s functions or activities in a business or official capacity.

Most sellers of email/contact information do impose restrictions. These restrictions often include illegal use of the email addresses you purchase. Thus, purchasing your contact data may not afford you “instant compliance” from CASL.

Also, if you use Rapportive and FullContact.com, beware. Using these services is not in compliance with the new law because you haven’t obtained the email in a conspicuous way. You probably won’t comply when sending email to them.

The CASL does not address this. It should!

Are You at Risk of Non-Compliance?
Is it illegal in Canada to send a prospect (who you don’t know) an email message and, perhaps, a few follow-ups — asking for permission to have a commercial discussion? My interpretation is “no” unless you subscribe them to a mailing list.

However, this area is gray. Consult your lawyer. But also consider bringing this issue to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

Your email messages are commercial electronic messages (CEMs) if they encourage participation in a commercial activity. This is defined in the new law. However, messages focused on encouraging commercial activity are typically not effective at earning conversations with most B-to-B prospects.

That said, these kinds of messages are what most sales teams are sending to prospects: Solicitations for business.

Ask for Explicit Consent in Your ‘First Touch’
Preface: Is this technically legal? I don’t know.

That said, consider approaching prospects about a conversation that could lead to their participation in a commercial activity. Don’t send them a CEM. Instead, give them choice.

And don’t abuse them. Mail three times at most. No response? Move on!

Make first contact in a way that helps your prospect give (or deny) the explicit consent required by law — to have a commercial conversation. This will also help you break through to the prospect!

Ask for explicit consent in a way that makes it clear to your prospect:

  1. They are not on an email list. This is a one-to-one email.
  2. You’ve researched them, specifically, and have good reason to ask for consent.
  3. A response is kindly requested (a call to action that gives them choice).

Bottom line: The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is not guiding sales forces very well. So, beware: CASL does limit your ability to “cold email” prospects. But don’t panic and don’t jump to conclusions.

Remember: The CASL is designed to reduce unwanted, unsolicited email. The Canadian government wants to lower the quality of commercial electronic messages that are not wanted — yet being received — by customers or potential customers.


Target Marketing magazine

Best tips on growing email lists via offline efforts

August 26th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email

link to podcast

We’re pleased to have Emily Goodstein, Online Media Strategist, share her best tips on growing your email lists via offline efforts, in this podcast.

Developing your nonprofit’s email list is crucial.  Even if your organization finds many donors are direct mail only, research has found that those constituents who are contacted through multiple channels tend to give more–so, isn’t that a good reason to build it up?

Moreover, your organization undoubtedly holds some type of in-person event, or canvasses the streets, or gets involved at community events.  What better way to develop a relationship with interested, potential donors than to keep in touch via email?

Drawing upon her years working with nonprofit organizations, Emily sheds light on some easy to implement ways to get those people you have met in real life (i.e., “offline”) to be part of your online community– and become stronger donors.  Take a listen and let us know your thoughts!

link to podcast

December 28, 2014
by Emily Goodstein through Third Sector

Test It Out

August 24th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email, Marketing
From easy to complex, there’s a testing strategy for every email campaign

 

All marketing should be iterative. You launch a campaign, review results and determine your success. During the process, it is imperative to test. The direct marketing mantra is “beat the control.” Marketers look for ways to better connect with their targets and improve results. They learn from testing and the review of results, and then they apply their learnings to the next campaign.

Email symbol

“Beat the control.”
—Direct marketing mantra

Email Marketers Can Generate Response Quickly
Here’s an example I worked on for a client, which demonstrates the ability to use timeliness for email testing:

A marketer provided horoscopes on its website and collected more than half a million email addresses. A light bulb went off and the marketer wanted to send an email to encourage recipients to register to receive a daily horoscope, rather than waiting for the individual to visit the website.

At 9 a.m., we launched seven tests to portions of the file. At noon, we evaluated results and saw that two tests performed much better. We looked at what worked and what did not work, and decided to develop one more creative test. At 2 p.m., we sent three emails to a subset of the list with the winning creatives and a newly developed email.

Finally at 5 p.m., we evaluated the results. The new creative was the winner. We rolled it out to the balance of the list the next day. Just to give you insights into registrations for all testing: The lowest registration rate was 7 percent and the highest was 43 percent.

Email testing can give actionable results in a short time frame that you can act upon quickly.

If Email Is Iterative, What Does That Mean?
You can understand from the previous example that you can easily use email for testing. But that’s not all I’m referring to when I say this. You should learn from every campaign you send. It might not be a test, but who opened? What portions of your list clicked … and on what product/offer did they click? The only way to improve is to develop segments and a testing strategy.

What and How to Test?
There’s a lot of material available on testing that you can learn from in Target Marketing. But the cornerstone is to select two elements and take a subset of your file and expose them to different message and creative elements.

So, what do you test? Let’s examine some easy to complex testing strategies.

• Subject line testing: Subject lines affect open rates. It’s important to determine what resonates with your audience. This is easy to test. Determine what success metrics are most important to you. It might be open rates or clicks to your site.

If you are testing urgency, you might test the phrasing “Last chance” or “Only 24 hours.” For some reason, numbers fascinate people, and numbers in a subject line capture attention.

Conventional wisdom says that subject lines should be short and include no more than 35 characters. Test long vs. short. Or test benefits against features.

• Personalization: Test the impact of including a person’s name in the subject line or in the body copy. Remember, this is a tactic and not something you need do all the time.

Here’s a B-to-B example from Talon Mailing and Marketing. The snippet marketing message at the top of the email was: “Reggie, Let’s Work Together and Make 2015 a Banner Year.” I thought the execution was eye-catching and fun. I loved seeing my name on a banner!

 

Personalized email from Talon Mailing

Well-placed personalization is a sure-fire way to catch attention. Here, Talon Mailing and Marketing uses Reggie Brady’s first name twice, including her full name in the banner.

 

Personalization can be based on geography, gender, business title and more. So, you have plenty of options.

• Offers: We know that offers are critical and the way you present them can make all the difference. If you are offering a discount, one important aspect to test is whether you offer a percent discount or dollars off.

There was a test conducted by Evo — an online retailer of outdoor gear — reported by MarketingSherpa. Evo promoted wake boards and tested a 15 percent discount vs. $50 off in the subject line and the body copy. Both offers had similar opens and clicks, but the dollars off positioning generated 170 percent higher revenue and a 72 percent higher conversion rate.

In my mind, if you have higher price points, it can sometimes be difficult for people to calculate percentages in their heads, while dollars off is easy to figure out.

• Behavioral: Sending emails based on prior clickthrough interest behavior can be a winner. Here’s an idea you might consider: American Meadows, purveyor of flower bulbs, sent one email a week to its list. The company tested sending a second email later in the week, focused on the item the recipient clicked on. If there were no opens or clicks, the highest clicked item was featured.

As direct marketers, you know that testing is the key to future results. Resolve to put a rigorous testing plan in place that includes the areas we’ve covered.


Target Marketing magazine

Uber Gets an A+ for Its Direct Mail and Email Marketing!

August 13th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Direct Mail, Email, Marketing

Peggy Hatch’s favorite app is hands down Uber! It’s her private car service that is fast and easy to use. But what is also winning her over is their marketing. Check out these two recent efforts. One is a simple postcard that touts the benefits and makes a special offer. The other is an email that counters any and all objections to the service. Both are worth studying! It’s interesting to note that a digital-only service is using classic direct mail efforts in order to spread their impact in target citites — but it just goes to show that cross-channel is not only possible, but necessary in today’s complex marketing climate.

After their mailing convinces you to try the app with its services, then come the follow-up emails about safety, convenience and other topics. Do you see what they’ve done there? Cross-channel, all the way. Brilliant. The entire process moves seamlessly across the entire marketing spectrum, from direct mail to mobile to email and CRM — without batting an eye. Check out Peggy’s detailed review of these two efforts from Uber, and find out what exactly drives them to the top.

Peggy’s Detailed Review: https://youtu.be/2FhTMkyiKao

 

10 Ways to Master your Email Subject Lines

July 27th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email

Your email can move mountains: It’s got gripping imagery. Personalized storytelling. A solid call-to-action. And all the markings of a successful message sure to deliver major results.

But how are you going to get people to open it? Answer: The subject line.

Think of subject lines as the gatekeepers that can either be the key for unlocking the power of your message or being responsible for getting a one-way ticket from your inbox to the trash. Subject lines are so important that some experts believe you should spend just as much time figuring out your subject line as you do composing the email itself.

Don’t stress. Check out and share this infographic to learn how to master your email subject lines:


 

Nonprofit Email Subject Lines
Written on April 18, 2015 by Jennifer Gmerek

 

How To Write Emails That Rock: 3 Tips for Planning and Strategy

July 23rd, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email, Fundraising

We are so lucky as nonprofit fundraisers today. We have a huge digital toolbox at our disposal to facilitate giving: our organization’s website, social media channels, text to give, crowdfunding, and, of course, email.

For most digital fundraising methods to work well, we need a direct line of communication to our donors. Email is still our best bet for this. A potential donor might miss your tweet or Facebook post, but your email will almost definitely appear in their inbox. Where it gets tricky is figuring out how to get people to open our emails and take action.

That’s why planning and strategy are really important for sending effective emails. Even before you start writing your next email appeal, take time to answer these three questions.

What’s the goal and message of your appeal?

Your goal should be the specific fundraising target for your email and what you want people to remember after they read it. If you don’t know the goal, you can’t create the best campaign strategy, like whether you should you send just one email or a series of emails that create a story arc.

Your message is the thing you want to communicate to your audience that they will remember and act on. This is the basis for everything in your appeal, and you want it to be clear and concise. If a word, sentence, or paragraph doesn’t support your messaging in a positive way, delete it or find a way to rephrase it so it does support your message.

How many emails are you sending for this appeal?

This question will guide you into developing and figuring out your strategy. Your predetermined goal, plus what else is in your email or communications calendar, determines if you’ll send one or multiple emails for your appeal. Multiple emails, when done right, typically give better results.

Multiple emails reach more people. Three emails per campaign are ideal. If you send just one, odds are good that people won’t see it or they’ll forget to respond. Multiple emails also allow you to segment data and follow up depending on their response, such as who has opened and not opened your email. In other words, not every person is getting every single email—or maybe even the same email. This can have a huge impact on your email fundraising results, not only in increasing engagement and donations but also in reducing unsubscribes.

Multiple emails are a great way to tell a story. If you send three emails within a campaign, you can create a story arc with a beginning, middle, and end, or you can tell different angles of the same story. The first email could tell a client success story, the second from the perspective of a staff member, and the third from a volunteer or a client who can speak firsthand to your program’s success.

Who is your audience?

If you don’t have a good sense of your audience, now is the time to change that. A donor survey is a great way to get to know who they are (demographics) and what they care about (psychographics). Once you have that information, you can write directly and more pointedly to the people you’re trying to compel to give or take some other action.

Think of these questions as a “trifecta of information” that will ultimately guide you to the content of your email campaigns. The more work you do in strategy and planning, the easier the rest of your email fundraising will be.

Adapted from Nonprofit911: Telling Stories Through Email: How to Write Appeals That Rock with Vanessa Chase, founder of the Storytelling Non-Profit.

Adapted by Iris Sutcliffe, Network for Good

The Evolution of Email — Proof and Promise

July 14th, 2015 | No Comments | Posted in Email

Since the beginning of online advertising, promising new formats—like pop ups, expandable banners, video, social media, native and mobile—have captured and held the industry’s attention and dollars. Many of these formats have delivered and become trusted elements of the media mix. At the same time, these newcomers have often overshadowed email and cast it as a dying player in the digital marketing game. In reality, email marketing is a lucrative digital strategy which has not only proven to be the most robust and thriving digital channel for ROI, but which in today’s digital ecosystem has emerged as the centerpiece of the marketing automation platforms.

Email’s Proven Success
According to eConsultancy’s “Email Marketing Industry Census 2014,” email marketing increased company revenue proportionately by 28% in just one year. On average, companies attributed 23% of their total sales to the email marketing channel, compared to 18% the previous year. Furthermore, according to EmailExpert for every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return is $44.25. Yet despite such staggering ROI, just $3.5 billion was spent on email marketing in the U.S. in 2014, compared to more than $40 billion in total digital ad spend.

Why is that, when there is such a clear rationale for increased spend on email marketing? Generally speaking, email is constrained by the slow drip of new email signups. Ad tech, despite a 60% tilt toward performance-based ad solutions, has failed to deliver on the promise of email subscriber acquisition. The complexity, constraint and expense of using traditional online ads as part of an email sign-up program has flummoxed email marketers seeking database growth—this is true of large enterprises as well as small businesses. It’s simply too complicated and too expensive to execute a social, search or banner campaign with the goal of generating highly engaged new email subscribers at scale.

It’s hard work and expensive for a large enterprise to execute a paid media campaign to a landing page for email capture. It can be done, but it is very expensive. For a small or medium sized business, this is generally beyond their means. Optimization is key, and to effectively acquire high quality new subscribers takes more time, expertise and money than typically available to an SMB. But this won’t be the reality much longer. Omnichannel marketing providers are starting to integrate email list growth solutions that are not only affordable, but also automated and easy to use.

Omnichannel Marketing Brings Email and Lead Generation Back into Focus
Omnichannel marketing technology is bringing email into focus like never before. Recognizing the superior personalization and engagement inherent in email marketing, a broad swath of digital marketing platforms—from small business marketing technology providers, to inbound marketing platforms, to enterprise marketing “clouds”—have built or acquired email marketing tools. Great email is easier for businesses of all sizes to deploy and optimize, and it is more often paired with consistent messaging across channels. Email is a proven performer that is only getting better.

At the same time, the marketing automation platforms are increasingly serving as one-stop shops for lead generation and digital advertising deployment. The practices and products of some of today’s leading marketing automation companies help illuminate the trend. Marketo and HubSpot, big drivers for a long time in the inbound marketing space, both added email to their marketing automation tools and lead generation is a big part of both companies’ product suites. After a series of acquisitions, the Salesforce Marketing Cloud now helps marketers deploy social ad campaigns and email campaigns from the same toolkit. Adobe currently provides a self-service DSP, multi-channel orchestration and data management under one roof. Acxiom and Experian also show us that consumer messaging orchestration means the collision of earned, owned and paid media.

This new reality of convergence is helping marketing departments become less siloed, and it’s casting light on the demand for a more effective paid media tactic built for customer acquisition. Email lead generation, a major imperative, is a gaping hole in these platforms, only partially filled with a panoply of email signup forms. Bringing traditional ads under the omnichannel tent will not solve this problem. That is why omnichannel providers are increasingly partnering with so called “opt-in advertising” specialists—ad exchanges powering specialized ad units that collect consumer opt-ins and data, paired with integrated data transfer automation.

The Evolution of Customer Acquisition
When advertising enables consumers to invite companies into their inboxes, we are faced with a powerful new type of customer acquisition. Opt-in advertising solutions began to emerge several years ago, but they have recently evolved. The best opt-in advertising providers now bridge ad tech and marketing tech, using all of the programmatic tools of the modern ad exchange, plus data transmission and ROI optimization technology, to automate the email marketer’s Holy Grail: delivery of targeted, affordable, highly engaged email subscribers at scale.

Successful opt-in advertising platforms offer simple campaign management tools and use flexible back-end algorithms that leverage data to deliver great results. These email acquisition platforms have the ability to find the right person wherever she is and create a robust email audience. Taking advantage of marketing automation machinery, today’s marketers are more and more likely to engage and monetize those voluntarily loyal opt-in audiences.

For the lifetime of digital marketing, email has demonstrated its superior ability to drive measurable results. It is time for the industry to turn its attention and dollars toward leveraging the best of ad tech for tailored email subscriber acquisition tools that build proprietary email audiences at a scale commensurate with email’s outsized ROI.


Target Marketing

Craig is the President and Chief Operating Officer of New York-based Opt-Intelligence, an online ad exchange dedicated to the user opt-in experience.