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Direct to Consumer Brand Discovery

  Online Marketing Whitepaper

Online Marketing Whitepaper


The Imperfect World of Quantifying Website Traffic

Online Advertising Lingo

Necessities for Every Company with a Website

Paid Advertising

Leveraging the True Power of the Internet

Bootstrap Marketing Online


A Dated Introduction to Online Marketing*

*Note: This is the original version of a whitepaper that was authored in 2001 by iCondotta's founder and principal consultant, Stephan Aarstol. It's a useful primer, but dated - pre-Wikipedia (2001), pre-Google AdWords PPC (2002), way pre-YouTube (2005), you get the picture...

Email Marketing to Existing Customers

Everything in this section is equally applicable to email marketing with rented lists except that with rented lists you’re have to pay each time you use the list. Once your company has built an internal customer or prospect database, the primary marketing costs are time, not money. If you’re short on money but have plenty of time, this may be good news. Bootstrapping is alive and well in the world of email marketing.

Keep in mind that high-quality email marketing is somewhat of a rarity because it’s still a relatively new discipline. Everyone pretty much understands the general concept and that it has a lot of similarities to direct mail, but, for the most part, the execution leaves something to be desired. Here are six components to think about when crafting your own email marketing campaigns:

1. Internal list development – even if your company currently lacks the wherewithal to deploy a rock-solid email marketing campaign, it’s still a good idea to start aggressively building a demographically segmented email address database of your target market. It’s a simple goal. Don’t overcomplicate the implementation. If you have to, cast technical elegance aside. One simple, efficient, and effective means is to walk around at a relevant tradeshow and solicit business cards. With a little sweat and tears, you can have a starter list demographically segmented by general position (executive, manager, professional, salesperson, engineer, etc.), geographic location, gender, and company.

2. Don’t be afraid of trial and error – Because effective email marketing is largely misunderstood, half of the payoff result of an email marketing campaign is going to be lessons learned. Therefore, it’s wise to take a scientific approach to every email campaign. Test something here, tweak something there, and keep track of the results. Each experiment should help to increase the effectiveness of the next campaign. Hesitating to try until you absolutely know what you’re doing will only result in your company getting further and further behind the capabilities of your competition.

3. Have a relevant landing page – Most email marketing campaigns include a call to action that asks the recipient to click-thru to a web page for one reason or another. A surprisingly large number of campaigns have a compelling offer that, when clicked upon, takes the recipient to the company’s website homepage. Unless the desired action is to just get someone to visit a website, you’re wasting both the users and the advertisers time here. Create a landing page that is relevant to the call to action in the email.

4. If you can track it, you probably should – When sending an HTML email you can identify how many emails were actually opened by including a graphic file from a uniquely identifiable location. The number of requests for that graphic is the number of emails that were actually opened. Anyone who didn’t open the email won’t generate a request. Additionally, any link in an email can easily be hyperlinked to a unique URL created specifically for tracking responses associated with a particular email. Of course, this is very simplistic tracking for the do it yourself email campaign. There are numerous email marketing service providers that bundle link tracking, and other statistical measurement tools into their services.

5. The subject line of an email is of paramount importance – It’s safe to assume that your email will be one of an increasingly overwhelming number of emails your recipient receives during a given day, so you’re first hurdle is to just get them to open it. This may seem absurdly obvious, but just think about how many poorly designed commercial emails you erase everyday without opening. Then think about the last potentially catastrophic virus infested email that you willingly opened. Consider why? Your e-mail’s subject must:

  • Be brief
  • Be relevant
  • Be to the point
  • Convey a benefit, not explain a feature
  • Incorporate a teaser to open the associated email

6. Leverage the signature – From marketing prospective, the closing line, “Sincerely, XYZ Sales Team,” isn’t particularly useful. It’s impersonal, it doesn’t give contact info, it doesn’t convey a benefit, and it doesn’t contain a call to action. It doesn’t do much of anything. It’s worthwhile to take full advantage of the signature on every email, especially on a direct email marketing piece. Four critical components to include are:

  • Make it personal – use a real person’s name so the recipient knows whom to contact with any questions.
  • Include appropriate contact info – Include an internationally recognizable phone number and an email address at a minimum. Consider using an email alias with an auto-responder to give immediate recognition of any inquiries.
  • Convey a benefit – Reiterate to the recipient why they should care in a concise tag line.
  • Include a call to action AND a link - Nothing new here for direct marketers, except that getting a direct response is a great deal easier with email.

Here’s an example:
Best regards,

Stephan Aarstol
Phone: +1 (866) 622-4477
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Authored in 2001 by Stephan Aarstol
while Director of Business Development