Archive for February, 2011
To clarify the three types of digital opt-in procedures when communicating with recipients and prospects the following is a layman’s term guide which should cover off any confusion around this area. Starting with the all essential signing up of new recipients to receive future digital marketing communications there are two well known procedures known as SINGLE opt-in or DOUBLE opt-in. Another form of opt-in which I will cover in this article is the SOFT opt-in.
SINGLE opt-in relates to a prospect indicating that they would like to receive future digital marketing messages from your brand or organisation via your supplied channels. They are then added to the relevant data file or segment for future broadcasts. Best practice procedure is to send them a welcome email or confirmation message to indicate their inclusion and offer them an opportunity to adjust their preferences and indicate what their key interests are. You should use this opportunity to cross sell, up sell and drive the user to your website for a possible first purchase. The use of a welcome discount or special offer is very common in these types of messages.
DOUBLE opt-in involves following-up the previous step to authenticate the user’s details. This is done by sending the new subscriber a further communication preferably in real-time with a confirmation link. They will then need to click this link before their opt-in is accepted and their email address is added to your data file or segment. This is an essential step to completing their registration as this eliminates the risk of fraudulent and 3rd party registrations. The DOUBLE opt-in process is often noted as a best practice however; it is not at all a legal requirement. To outline a further benefit of this, when a user is notified that they will need to respond to your confirmation email it should prompt them to retrieve your email. If it has been directed to their junk folder by their spam filter or settings you could benefit your future inbox delivery based on this engagement.
SOFT opt-in is a muddy waters topic for most digital marketers but can apply in some circumstances as an exception to the rule in digital marketing. This type of opt-in has usually been collected during sale negotiations or at the time of purchasing of goods or services. These messages should only contain the marketing of similar or related products and can only be sent on the basis that you have given the recipient opportunities to object to receiving future marketing communications when their details were harvested. You should also include the opportunity to unsubscribe (opt-out) on every future message and should only continue to send to the recipients if they do not opt-out. The opt-out should be as easy and direct as possible and should allow the option to STOP or UNSUBSCRIBE from any future marketing communications.
The term opt-out refers to several methods by which individuals can avoid receiving unsolicited product or service information. This ability is usually associated with direct marketing campaigns such as telemarketing, e-mail marketing, or direct mail.
UNSUBSCRIBE/opt-out law states that you are obligated to allow recipients of your communications to opt-out or unsubscribe at any given time that they may wish to do so. Regardless of which digital marketing channel you are using it is highly recommended that that you comply with any opt-out requests as soon as possible. This begs the question, why market to an audience that are not interested or engaged with your offering?
You may send a confirmation message to confirm the completion of their unsubscription from future marketing messages broadcasted by your your brand or organisation.
If you have anything you would like me to add to this or would like any additional information with regards to this please comment or send me an email on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although affiliate marketing is a high volume area which should not be avoided by marketers I have my own personal reservations with regards to affiliate companies and programmes and the possible cannibalisation of your existing loyal consumers. In the past I dealt with a reputable company of 25+ years which back in the early 90’s successfully evolved their business from a catalogue and postal order based selling strategy to a cross-channel sales strategy which included various new and exciting (at the time ) digital marketing disciplines. Currently, in the TwenTeens (My take on this decade’s abbreviation) the company sells products to a diverse range of young and old consumers. They rely on regular purchasing as a result of their weekly email broadcasts, monthly snail mail catalogues and PPC marketing campaigns.
2007 and business was great; we had managed to drive their email and pay per click ROI’s to an all time high and very much enjoyed watching the revenue tracker tick over month on month. As all was peachy in the Email, PPC and SEO marketing of their brand the most intriguing revenue channel to explore at the time was affiliate marketing.
It’s simple! They bring you ‘X’ amount of clicks which gets ‘X’ conversions and you pay them a small percentage accordingly. All involved parties make a return on their initial investment. Great, what could be better?
Although it started off small, over a few months we saw a gradual but significant ramp up of affiliate traffic and conversions which seemed very promising and rewarding at the time. What we also realised a few months later was that on the flip-side there was a gradual decrease in Paid and Natural search conversions.
Let me explain. You have a database of regular purchasers, each month they search on Google (as you do) to find your brands website. The first paid and natural search results will (most likely) display your brand. You then decide to take on affiliate companies to promote your brand and the results start looking different. Now the first paid or natural search results may be the affiliate company offering your product at a slightly reduced rate and you find yourself competing to get the top spot.
Based on this, what your brand suffers from is an existing long time customer who has always been more than happy to pay the full price for your products now finding the same goods at a lower price or with an incentive to go through the affiliate site which you then pay commission to.
In many instances the affiliate companies will have more in their budget to punt your brand on Google than you are willing to part with. After further investigation and cross referencing who the buyers were we terminated all affiliate activity and took back full control of the brand.
In conclusion, companies should carefully research who they affiliate themselves with. My advice is to keep clear of the larger players and cash back type companies.
Let me know if you have found similar instances where crossing channels has caused more damage than success.