Working with a Web Marketing E-mail List Rental House

When you rent a list of e-mail addresses for your web marketing campaign, it truly is rent. You don’t receive the names. Instead, you deliver your HTML and text e-mail newsletters to the rental house.

The rental house confirms that your newsletter meets its requirements, adds code to links to track open rates and CTR, and sends out a trial blast to you and several other people (known as seed names). You select the date and time for the actual e-mail blast.

When you request a particular audience, the mailing house sends you a data card (a page describing the detailed demographics, source, and available sorting criteria) for every possible list that meets your needs. Data cards can be a little hard to interpret, so ask plenty of questions.

In addition to a minimum number of names and the cost per name, you might be charged for every subselection or sort you request (for example, by zip code, gender, age, or time since last purchase). Some companies also charge a transmission fee or a setup fee (or both). All charges and minimums vary by broker and by list. Negotiate. When you’re ready, the company sends you an insertion order (a form used to place an advertisement) to sign.

The e-mail house asks you not only for your seed names but also for everyone who has been permanently removed from your list — to eliminate those names from their lists. To avoid any possible duplication, you can also send names with matching profiles to remove from the list you're renting.

Why pay to send the same newsletter to someone who has already received it? Generally, rental houses mail to more than the number in your contract to allow for undeliverable addresses. If the number that’s sent ends up below the number on your contract, reputable dealers send a “make good” mailing on request.

One objective is to convert rental names to your subscribers, so at the top of the newsletter you’re sending to rental names, incorporate a linkable invitation to join your list. Make other text changes to accommodate the possibility that these recipients, unlike your own carefully gathered names, have never heard of your company, product, or service.

Allow a week or more to establish an account before sending your first blast with a particular broker. This strategy gives you time to work out any kinks in your newsletter, formatting, links, or list. After the blast, track your open rate, CTR, and other criteria. Compare them to the results of your own list. Remember that people usually need to see your brand seven times to remember you!

Third-party template newsletters can't be sent to rental houses, because their newsletter code isn’t self-standing. You (or your developer) must create new HTML and text versions, or else you have to pay the mailing house to create them for you.

A newsletter program can either serve as an independent marketing vehicle or carry another marketing effort on its back. For example, by segmenting its list into 14 strategic submarkets, Boston Duck Tours can target special offers in its newsletters to different audiences.

Boston Duck Tours uses its newsletters to offer special discounts to various segments of its mailin
Credit: Courtesy of BostonDuckTours.com
Boston Duck Tours uses its newsletters to offer special discounts to various segments of its mailing list.
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