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The Best of the Banter: Email marketing strategies
by Donna Stryk, Moderator of the Online Ads Discussion List

Email marketing allows advertisers to target very specific audiences with messages that are more personal than a simple banner ad. For agencies, the question of outsourcing versus conducting these campaigns in-house is a big one. Stacy Williams wrote in on December 22, 1999 and said that her clients with lists of 6,000 to 30,000 names are simply too small for most email marketing vendors to deal with. She looked at software, which would enable the agency to conduct the campaign, but she would rather outsource and was looking for advice from the list.

Adrian Cooper emphasized the importance of verifying that your opt-in list is valid. He said that email marketing companies are sometimes "more concerned with acquiring lists of email addresses rather than confirming the origin of the lists." Some of the companies fail to confirm where the list originated and what information the members originally agreed to receive.

Bruce Koren also said that building your own list is the way to go. "I believe buying the initial lists and cultivating relationships with those who respond is the most efficient way to do this," Bruce said. As far as an appropriate size for the list, he did say that a good test campaign should have at least 30,000 names. This allows the advertiser to test two separate marketing messages against two separate lists. That gives you a "winning test cell" of 7,500 names, which is still statistically valid.

As for advice on who can help, Bob Fertik was the first to step forward. He said, "if your clients' lists are opt-in lists whose subscribers have agreed to accept stand alone ads, you can house them with" This option allows the advertisers to verify the list themselves, while having the outside resource manage it. Bob even suggested working in a reseller arrangement to try and receive commissions on the ad revenues. He said, "if you succeed, I'd love to hear about it." I think we all would, Bob!

Some other services were recommended as well. John Piccirillo mentioned,, and and David McKnight said that he "especially liked working with Williams & Helde in Seattle."

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