Optin email options for customer acquisition

For acquiring new visitors and customers to a site, there are three main options for email marketing. From the point of view of the recipient, these are:

1 Cold e-mail campaign. In this case, the recipient receives an opt-in e-mail from an organisation that has rented an e-mail list from a consumer e-mail list provider such as Experian (www.experian.com), Claritas (www.claritas.com) or IPT Limited (www.myoffers.co.uk) or a business e-mail list provider such as Mardev (www.mardev.com), Corpdata (www.corpdata.com) or trade publishers and event providers such as VNU. Although they have agreed to receive offers by e-mail, the e-mail is effectively cold. For example, a credit card provider could send a cold e-mail to a list member who is not currently their member. It is important to use some form of 'statement of origination', otherwise the message may be considered spam. Cold e-mails tend to have higher CPAs than other forms of online marketing, but different lists should still be evaluated.

2 Co-branded e-mail. Here, the recipient receives an e-mail with an offer from a company they have a reasonably strong affinity with. For example, the same credit card company could partner with a mobile service provider such as Vodafone and send out the offer to their customer (who has opted in to receive e-mails from third parties). Although this can be considered a form of cold e-mail, it is warmer since there is a stronger relationship with one of the brands and the subject line and creative will refer to both brands. Co-branded e-mails tend to be more responsive than cold emails to rented lists since the relationship exists and fewer offers tend to be given.

3 Third-party e-newsletter. In this visitor acquisition option, a company publicises itself in a third-party e-newsletter. This could be in the form of an ad, sponsorship or PR (editorial) which links through to a destination site. These placements may be set up as part of an interactive advertising ad buy since many e-newsletters also have permanent versions on the web site. Since e-newsletter recipients tend to engage with them by scanning the headlines or reading them if they have time, e-newsletter placements can be relatively cost-effective.

Viral marketing, which is discussed in the next main section, also uses e-mail as the mechanism for transferring messages.

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