Posts Tagged ‘list marketing’

2008 List Industry Trends and Observations

Monday, December 29th, 2008

It’s the economy that’s driving it all – resulting in demand for efficiency, international collaboration, and strict guidelines for media investments.

Migration to Integrated Online E-Commerce Solutions

An increasing number of direct marketing services providers are leveraging economies of scale via e-commerce solutions. Online application services providers (ASPs) are enabling direct marketers to share the same language and non-proprietary data, while eliminating redundant tasks related to data entry and conversion. Managed hosting solutions also provide enhanced security for proprietary information and disaster recovery services at a much lower cost. This trend will continue for as long as the demand for efficiency exceeds the resistance to change.

Global E-Mail List Demand

Google and the other major search engines are sending e-mail list buyers around the globe. Not all of them pan out to be the best prospects for U.S. based list and data providers. However, many of them are looking to replicate some of the best practices that have worked so well here at home.

International representatives, like Maurice Williams—Chief Marketing Officer of Singapore Post, were actively engaged at DMA 2008 this fall. I was very impressed by contributions Maurice made during a focus group we attended together. We’re seeing some new interest from international list managers looking to market their files (e-mail and postal) on U.S. based search portals.

List Marketing By the Numbers

We’re more likely to see space advertisements with dedicated 800 numbers and contextually targeted advertising solutions with real time results, than mass media efforts during halftime this winter. Discretionary dollars are being redefined, and marketing directors are getting wiser. If the results of the program aren’t measurable, then it’s a tough sell nowadays.

Follow our marketing blog for more information regarding list industry trends, or visit the marketing glossary for hard to find definitions for list industry terms.

List Management Webinars Available on SlideShare

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

List managers may be taking a hit from major mailer attrition right now, but the future of direct marketing still looks bright. Online channels are exploding to form a paperless playing field for direct marketers, and an increasing number of list managers are joining the game.

In addition to providing free tools to help list marketers with the online promotion of their data cards, NextMark also hosts free webinars for our clients to learn more about measureable list marketing opportunities. The following list marketing webinars were attended by more than 100 managers in 2008:

Many attendees have asked for copies of these presentations, so we posted copies on Slideshare to make them easily accessible. Many of the terms referenced in these presentations are defined in the marketing glossary.

 View cdemartine's profile on slideshare

TGIF Advertising – Dip Into The Down Time

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

I'm so glad it's Friday! Is that just because you are ready to crash from a long week of problem solving and managing expectations? Or is Friday the only business day when you are able to carve out some time to do what you do best? After speaking with a few list brokers, I believe we've got something in common here.

"There is no better day than Friday when it comes to doing list research," according to Donna Belardi, President of Belardi/Ostroy. "I've been making new test recommendations for 20 years, and the best ones are created on the days with the least interruptions."

Rather than rely soley on insights from industry veterans, take a look at some recent results from the NextMark CTA program. Weekday_impressionsAs indicated in the following graph, there is little variation between business days in regards to the number of impressions. The coefficient of variation for impressions is only 10 percent. What does that mean? Simply stated, about 90 percent of the search activity is consistent throughout the week.

Therefore, it makes more sense to look at the number of firms who are advertising on a given weekday and target your audience when your message will stand out the best.

If you're wondering about click-through rates, then take a look at the next graph.Weekday_pageviews The number of data card pageviews, for the same list management advertising campaign, reflects a similar pattern. The coefficient of variation is a little higher at 12 percent, but that is insufficient to disprove the hypothesis that Friday's are not so bad after all. So what's the take-away in all of this? How should this affect my advertising decisions when the reality is that Monday through Friday are 'almost' (10 – 12 percent) equal in regards to reaching my target audience of list brokers?

Again, all you need to do is look at the when your competitors are advertising and promote your list titles on the days of the week when your message will stand out the best.

For some reason, list managers seem to prefer Wednesday for search engine marketing, at least with NextMark. Surprisingly, only a few have decided to avoid the traffic and stand out in the crowd. Weekday_competitionWhy would this be happening? Although we've consistently shared this message with list managers, we just recently ran the numbers to back it up. We wanted to wait until we had a valid test sample to do that properly. Now that we've quantified a few of our assumptions, it's time to spread the word.

List research is happening Monday through Friday with little variation, so spend your list marketing ad dollars wisely and take advantage of the open opportunities while they last. Based on this simple study, you might want test your next campaign on a Friday. I'm so confident that this will work for you that I'll guarantee it. If you sign up for NextMark's Contextually Targeted Advertising Program and do not get at least 1,000 top ranked impressions on at least one given Friday (holidays excluded), then I will personally send you a $100 gift card to T.G.I. Fridays. Either way, you'll be able to 'Dip Into The Down Time'.

Webinar – Increase List Rental Income With SEM

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

I'm neither a list manager nor list owner, but I have witnessed numerious conversations between them in regards to meeting list rental revenue projections. Something was always missing from those conversations, but I didn't know what it was at the time. List managers were well prepared to discuss performance benchmarks such as new test orders, test to continuation ratio, average order size, cost per thousand (CPM), exchange conversions, winbacks, and more. These saavy list managers also had diversified marketing plans, creative advertisements, and schedules that were consistently followed. So what was missing?Webinar_picture_5

I decided to host a webinar to answer that question. The title of the webinar was "Search Engine Marketing For Lists And Leads", and the content of the webinar was focused on the effectiveness of promoting list titles on the World Wide Web. This topic speaks to the heart of list managers and list owners who are looking for innovative ways to drive list sales, and it answers the question about what is missing from traditional models for projecting list rental income.

Number of impressions, click-through rate (CTR), data card page views, and cost per click (CPC) are just a few of the measures that are being used by online advertisers of mailing lists. Projection models are no longer limited to historical results, but also include online performance drivers and conversion rates. Furthermore, list managers are now paying more attention to key words and phrases contained in the data card.

"This makes me realize how updating and the words on the data card really matter", noted Kay Cassidy, Complete Mailing Lists.

The number of online leads, distributed by NextMark's Leads Program to list brokers and list managers, is doubling every year, with over 2,100 in January 2008 alone. This is all coming from the online list searches in the public domain — even more evidence that search engine marketing is essential to increasing list rental income.

Visit our marketing glossary for more information about search engine marketing and other industry information.

Search Engine Marketing For Lists II

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

Now that I've spoken to a few of the list managers out there in the marketplace, the question is "How?"

Image003 I know there are several search engine optimization (SEO) consultants out there that charge big bucks just to give advice on key words, and just as many others who are actually qualified to deliver a comprehensive strategy. Here are a few tips for getting started:

·    Educate yourself. Invest the time to read a beginner’s text on search engine optimization. It will not only boost your confidence, but also help you to recognize a qualified consultant.

·         Run searches. One of the easiest ways to see what’s working is to run a few searches. Search on list titles, key words, clients and competitors to get a feel for who’s on top and doing things right.

·         Take a look at your own website to see which pages are indexed. You can do this in Google and most other search programs by typing in the following text in the search engine results page (SERP): site:your website URL. Here’s an example for the United States Postal Service:

·         Talk to your hosting service or marketing technology services provider about how to improve your list title page ranking. Here are a few basic principles to guide your conversation:

o   Search algorithms are not only extremely complex, but also a carefully guarded secret. Don’t get caught up in trying to figure them out, but spend your time implementing strategies that have historically been successful for others.

o   Getting you web pages noticed involves both managing the page content (on-page) and placing links (off-page) on other web sites.

o   The content on your web pages will be indexed in search engine databases by key words and phrases. Search engines do not scan the web for content – that is the job of ‘crawlers’ or ‘robots’. The search engines are actually retrieving results from a database of indexed keywords, locations and formats.

o   Keywords are indexed in the search databases by the document ID for the URL where they are found, the actual position in that document, and the type of position in the document (heading, title, body, link, etc.).

o   The links to your web pages are not ‘created equal’. The page-ranking implications of an off-page link are not only based on the referring site’s popularity, but also on the number of external links on that site. This is an important point that is often missed by the less experienced SEM professionals. A link that is placed on a popular site may actually be less effective than a link that is placed on a less popular, more targeted site that has fewer links.

o   Other documents that are posted on your site may also add value to your page ranking.  Search engines will convert Microsoft Word documents and Adobe Acrobat (PDF) documents to HTML in order to index the information contained within them. Furthermore, the font sizes, styles, and other attributes may also be captured and used further down the road in the user-search algorithms.

o   Note: if you hear the word ‘vector’ mentioned in the conversation, don’t run for cover. All you need to know is that a ‘vector space model’ can be used mathematically represent a web page. This makes it easier for search engines to match user-defined search terms to the most relevant web pages. It’s much more complicated than that, but I promised to keep it simple.

·         Look into some of the advertising programs available through marketing technology services providers such as contextually targeted advertising and preferred provider programs. These targeted programs are similar to paid search, but available exclusively within direct marketing list search applications.

·         Finally, be patient. It takes some time for your changes to be indexed by the search engines, so you may not see results for weeks or months.

Don’t be discouraged if you begin to feel like you’re chasing a moving target as you learn more about search engine marketing. The field of search engine optimization continues to evolve as companies like Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft implement new personalized, localized, and contextualized search methods – but this should only improve the user experience and increase the relevance of search results. If you’ve done the SEM job right as a list manager or list owner, then these users (or mailers) will be waiting at your online doorstep to place their list order. So be encouraged about the future of mailing lists… but don’t ignore the role that search engines play in directing existing customers and future prospects to you and – that’s right – your competitors.

Search Engine LIST Marketing – Where Is It?

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

Be encouraged! The mailing lists industry is not dying; it’s evolving – into a dynamic, data-based infrastructure of targeted direct marketing opportunities –and the World Wide Web is bringing it all together. You might be asking, “Shouldn’t this article be listed in the Search Marketing column?” Not really, this is a message for list managers, list owners, and database compilers who simply want to leverage their assets and increase revenue. This is not another promotional effort to redirect marketing dollars to paid search campaigns, and it is not another empty promise. Furthermore, I promise to keep it simple!

The birth of the World Wide Web, circa 1990 coincides with the learning age for the next generation of direct marketers. These search-minded entrepreneurs and business professionals are ‘googling’ their way to the top, and are less inclined to depend on traditional methods for learning about their respective markets. Furthermore, those who are looking for innovative customer acquisition strategies are turning to the Web. “OK, but how does this tie back to my efforts to generate list rental revenue for my list owner?”

Image003_3 The same basic search engine marketing principles apply. For starters, take a visit to Google and run a quick search on the mailing list you are trying to promote: i.e. "Advo mailing". You might be surprised by what you see. If you’re doing a good job with search engine optimization, then the mailing list promotional link could actually appear above the list owner’s corporate site – and all this happens without paying a cent for paid search.

For list managers and list brokers, you also want to keep an eye on your competitors’ rankings. Surprisingly, you may find out that you’re not too late in getting on top of the organic search listings. Take a look at the search results for “list manager” and “list broker”. What do you see? How far down the list did you need to scroll to find your company’s name? Are any of your key competitors on top? If you’re looking for the big names, then you may need to go deep; so seize the opportunity and embrace search engine marketing for your list business. It takes time for your web pages to get indexed, so the sooner you get started – the better.

Check out the direct marketing glossary to learn the lingo for search engine optimization and list marketing.