Feb 17, 2010

Third party emails: Extra revenue, great risks.

At some point, the idea always ends up on the VP of marketing's desk:
Earn extra money from the DataBase by sending third party campaigns. The idea will always seem sweet: rent the database for a nice CPM or find the latest generous affiliation campaign, it's quite simple indeed and grants a quick revenue to the Database owner.

The real trouble is companies usually under-estimate the risk for their database and their deliverability.

Having now worked for quite some time for an ESP, I know for sure it's far harder to maintain a good deliverability or database quality for agencies, whereas it's quite simple to achieve very good results with companies complying to all known best practices and broadcasting in house campaigns.

What are the reasons for such difference?
First of course is the Database recruitment process: while loyalty databases are composed mainly of clients and brand opt in profiles, the agency databases are often made up from a gathering of several databases with obscure optin rules.

Then, the type of campaigns : When one subscribes to a Newsletter, he expects to receive announcements from that company and (quite probably) looks forward receiving the emails. On the other hand when your email ends, a way or an other inside a Megabase, you will then start receiving sometimes irrelevant from probably unknown or at least unexpected companies.

When sending third party email campaigns the risk is that you might fall in massive troubles on both points.
People are subscribed inside your database to receive your own offers and not something else.

The only solution to avoid immediate damage to your email strategy is to do things properly.
For instance, if you send email campaigns for brand or products miles apart from your own products, knowing that people subscribed because they were interested in what you sell, they will probably not be very responsive and very likely to complain or unsubscribe.

After a few third party email campaigns, if you are not as cautious as possible it's quite likely that the number of unusbscribers and complainers will increase quickly and will first make you lose potentially valuable subscribers but will also soon make it quite impossible to perform as well as before with your email marketing campaigns, even your own.

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