SunExpert Uses Opt-In E-Mail Marketing to Boost Circulation

E-Mail Campaigns: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Every day in the United States new magazines are launched while others fold. In order to survive, any magazine must continually find and attract new readers. Discovering new readers is especially difficult for magazines with a narrow focus such as SunExpert, a computer magazine devoted to the high-end client/server market.

Since the magazine’s inception 10 years ago, its publisher, Computer Publishing Group, has built the circulation to 102,000 through traditional direct mail campaigns. Circulation director Debby Moore wanted to find an alternative strategy to costly direct mail marketing. Preferably, a marketing strategy that would reduce costs for Computer Publishing Group and target the narrow audience that SunExpert was directed toward.

Moore found that alternative with NetCreations and opt-in e-mail marketing, which presented an opportunity to save money by avoiding the hefty costs associated with direct mail campaigns, such as postage and printing. In addition, opt-in e-mail marketing provided Moore an efficient means to target IT professionals.

Moore’s first mailing was to a list of 10,000 members who had expressed an interest in servers and workstations. NetCreations pre-screens all mailings for their relevance to the lists being targeted. The lists cost 20 to 25 cents per name ($200 to $250 CPM), including list rental fee, e-mail distribution, and merge/purge.

According to Moore, her initial mailing generated a response rate of approximately 10 percent. This was considerably higher than the 2 to 3 percent response rate she had continually experienced with direct mail promotions. “For us, marketing online is fantastic and cost-effective,” she says. “The money we save on printing and postage alone make this type of marketing campaign clearly advantageous.”

It has been a constant struggle for Moore to locate people who are interested in receiving a magazine with such a narrow focus. E-mail marketing’s ability concentrate on a specific audience with a targeted offer is a big advantage for SunExpert.

“When we sent out e-mailings ourselves, we would often receive complaints from people who had received the information, saying that the material was of no interest or use to them whatsoever,” Moore recalls. “The NetCreations lists, however, have proven so far to be truly opt-in, and this is what I think has given us and will continue to give us a real advantage. They seem to be able to do a better job of locating the right people for our magazine.”

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