I was on a conference call with our Client Advisory Board (CAB) earlier this week when the topic turned to email append. One of our newer board members had recently completed an email append project with FreshAddress and asked for suggestions to maximize performance and grow the relationship with these customers. I was about to provide the bullet points that we typically talk about when we advise clients on integrating the results of an email append, when several of the other client board members chimed in with helpful responses –
It was a great back and forth, and as Product Manager, it made me proud that we have some passionate advocates who see great value in appending and know how to do it right!
How do you do it right? Let me share some of the insights from our conversation here:
Pick a reputable vendor
One of the CAB members explained that previous experiences with a different email email vendor had been very bad – and it’s true. There are many ways that an email append can go wrong. One prime example is contamination of your database. If the vendor doesn’t follow best practices (strict matching algorithms, strong email validation, opt-in permission messaging), you could easily introduce mismatched emails, bouncing addresses, and even spamtraps into your list. I was heartened to hear this board member explain that in choosing FreshAddress – picking a reputable vendor – clients were already ahead of the game.
(Side note: See our advice for picking an email append vendor, here.)
Customers whose records have been appended with email addresses need to be warmed up slowly on the engagement side. Welcome them to your email program, explain that based on your past relationship together you’re going to be providing them with valuable content via email, and perhaps most important: Make it easy for them to unsubscribe. In these early touches to your larger list, it’s important that you respect recipients’ wishes to take it slow in your digital relationship. In your first emails to this group, make sure the unsubscribe link is in multiple locations and easily read so that recipients choose this route rather than clicking on an ISP’s abuse button.
You’ve likely calculated the value of an email address to you. You might also have gone a step further to calculate the value of an address based on its source. Take these benchmarks and apply them to the addresses you’ve appended.
CAB members shared with the group that this is a study in balance. On one end of the spectrum is a subscriber who gets in their car, drives to your office, and hands you their email address on a slip of paper – you have to imagine that this mythical subscriber is worth their weight in gold! But how many of these super-subscribers exist? An email append gives you a greater volume, but leaves open the question of how engaged these new recipients will be. In some cases, we have seen more engagement from appended customers vs. the client’s house file — perhaps due to list fatigue. But experiences vary. Tracking performance over time — and delivering the right content to build toward good performance — can help you determine whether a future append is of value and justify it to the broader organization.
What about you? What are some steps you’ve taken to ensure that email append works well for your organization?